Open Letter in Support of the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan

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An Open Letter to The Highland District Council, Ward 3 Council Member Christ Tolbert and the St. Paul City Council:

Sustain Ward 3 is a local group of concerned St. Paul citizens who support the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan as proposed by the City of St. Paul.  The current plan provides a path for our neighborhoods that is environmentally, community, and fiscally sustainable. These three pillars are essential not just to the Ford site but to other future developments in Ward 3 and greater St. Paul.

Fiscal Sustainability

The current Ford Site plan sets the groundwork to generate additional tax revenue for the neighborhood and city while providing additional amenities for everyone to enjoy. The plan does so in a manner that doesn’t burden the rest of the city with funding inefficient development or future generations with the costs associated with unsustainable neighborhoods or inadequate zoning. Furthermore, a site that provides amenities and a mix of businesses, housing and transportation options helps minimize transportation distances and costs for the people living within the ward. Housing options on the site will provide additional stock to a desirable neighborhood and reduce the increasing number of cost burdened households in Ward 3.

Community Sustainability

The mixed use nature of the plan allows for jobs, housing, and open space so that people can live, work, play and gather in one area. Open space where people can gather, relax and recreate is much needed in a quadrant of the neighborhood that currently lacks non-linear park space. The plan provides housing options that allow current residents of the neighborhood to age in place, new residents to join our communities, and people from outside the city to move closer to regional job centers. The Twin Cities and City of St. Paul are growing.  The Ford site is an excellent opportunity to allow for and welcome that growth in an inclusive manner.

Environmental Sustainability

The City of St. Paul’s plan lays the groundwork for a site that will improve the overall environment of this critical location. First, cleaning up the site to a point that can be developed for use is extremely important. Ford’s effort to clean up a century of industrial use to a point where the land can be sold and developed is the first step toward environmental  sustainability. Bringing Hidden Falls Creek to the surface allows storm runoff from the site to be better managed and slowly released downstream. The stormwater management section of the plan implements best practices like filtering sediment and other contaminants from stormwater runoff and cooling down runoff temperatures. This protects the Mississippi River during summer rain events.

The plan encourages roof designs like solar, green roofs, and light colored roofing materials to reduce energy usage and negative environmental impacts for buildings on the site. The potential to develop a district energy system for the site allows for exciting future projects like community solar and further development of the existing steam plant in area C adjacent to the river. The added density reduces the amount of resources needed to build and sustain the site and frees up more space for public use and green space.

The City of St. Paul Ford Site Plan clearly aligns with the goals of Sustain Ward 3 and we look forward to its adoption. This plan lays out a groundwork based on years of community input and studies. We urge you to vote in favor of the plan when the time comes and we look forward to providing our support to this sustainable addition to our city.

Thank you,
Sustain Ward 3


Add your name to the growing list of people supporting the plan by Signing the Petition to Support St. Paul ford Site: A 21st Century Community