Before I left on vacation, I sat for a pair of interviews with Minnesota Public Radio on a series they are doing involving growth in Baldwin Township, a exurban township north of Minneapolis/St. Paul. It is part of their Ground Level series, a new partnership with the Bush Foundation "to test whether our [MPR's] journalism could enhance the level of civic engagement as a community tries to address things that concern its residents."
The first of what I anticipate to be many posts, articles and features that include material from the interviews asked the question: Will Baldwin grow again?
While the county zoning official overseeing Baldwin Township offered his thoughts (yes, of course it will grow, although it should have started by now), I was a little more skeptical. Here is how I was quoted:
"If you talk to the Realtors and developers and standard bureaucratic planning organizations, they'll say we're in a lull. After the lull, we will be magically transformed into 1995. We'll see roads with cul-de-sacs and tract housing going up. That's insane," said Charles Marohn, president of the Community Growth Institute in Brainerd. "It ignores what has caused this downturn. It ignores the financial situation the country is in."
They included a great graph of new home construction in the township that perhaps suggests that the new-normal is not so "new".
The entire post is pretty short, so give it a read and offer your thoughts if you care to. MPR is trying to create a public forum for discussion and I am sure would welcome the perspective of Strong Town advocates.