Arden Hills, MN—Arden Manor’s 285 families have stayed in their homes while highway expansion projects and proposed sports stadiums have come and gone over the last 8 years, because of powerful leaders and strong allies.
Highway Expansion Projects—In July 2007, the city of Arden Hills unveiled an expansion plan for Highway 10 and County Road 96, as a precursor to redevelopment of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP). Just across the street, it threatened to displace more than 100 people in Arden Manor. It sparked a rebellion among citizens of this north metro suburb. At stake were close to 50 families living in this park, if the two major arterial roads in the heart of the city were realigned.
Homeowners living near the roads, nearby church congregations, and residents defeated several concept plan that would have required the loss of 15, 30, or even 50 homes before a plan was put forward to only take two homes. In fact, the plan also provided a lighted intersection at the park’s entrance and sound barriers for the park facing Highway 10 and County Road 96.
Vikings Stadium—In May 2011, Ramsey County announced an agreement with the Vikings for a new stadium, subject to approval by the Minnesota Legislature, on the TCAAP site. The agreement called for an $884 million stadium and $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking, and environmental costs.
Residents feared the proposed stadium would set off a wave of commercial development in this primarily residential area that would drive up property values and force them out. In March 2012, Gov. Dayton announced an agreement for a new stadium to be built on the site of the Metrodome. In May 2012, the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for a new Vikings stadium on that site.
Rice Creek Commons—After the bid for the Vikings failed, Ramsey County purchased a 427-acre parcel of the TCAAP property. The plan for the parcel is mixed-use development with residential, commercial, office, and retail. It will be redeveloped in conjunction with the City of Arden Hills through a joint powers agreement. In August 2014, the development was named Rice Creek Commons.
Deferred Problems—As residents watch plans for the Rice Creek Commons unfold, they are dealing with problems within their community that did not see action because of the uncertainty of the park’s future. Residents are working with the park to deal with poor storm water drainage, overgrown tree limbs, and a variety of others issues. But, with powerful leaders and strong allies, they are confident of victory.