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Issue Position: Preserving Open Space, Ponds and Woodlands

Issue Position

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Atkins: Dedicated to Preserving Local Woodlands and Wetlands
The woods and hills and open space of our area set it apart from many others in the metropolitan area.

While some seek development for development's sake, Joe Atkins has always believed it equally important to balance quality development with preservation of our unique open space and woodlands for future generations.

To that end, Joe worked as Mayor of Inver Grove Heights to permanently preserve hundreds of acres of valuable woodlands and prairie. For instance, he and the IGH City Council worked with developers of the Marianna Ranch housing development to permanently dedicate 75 acres of untouched woodlands for public enjoyment as open space, a contribution now worth more than $2 million.

Mayor Atkins also resisted attempts to sell or develop the Harmon Park Preserve (behind Salem Hills Elementary School) and portions of South Valley and North Valley Parks.

More recently, Atkins has worked with various private individuals, companies and public groups to preserve pristine areas along the Mississippi River in southern IGH. "To date, by working together, 190 acres valued at about $2 million has been preserved, with more to come," Atkins remarked. The total cost to the citizens of Inver Grove for these efforts - a mere $30,000. "These are the most beautiful views of the Mississippi River anywhere in the country, bar none," says Atkins, "And they happen to be in our own backyard."

Additional funding for further purchases is being recommended in Gov. Pawlenty's bonding proposal. Atkins also continues to work with private foundations and individuals as well as other local organizations and Dakota County officials to preserve more woodlands and wetlands, not only along the Mississippi but in various other parts of our area as well.

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