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Legislators Vow to Seek Springbrook Nature Center Funding Again

Fridley-owned park wants state funding for improvements.

A planned expansion of facilities at in Fridley did not make it into the $775 million list of building projects that Gov. Mark Dayton proposed Tuesday ().

Springbrook a city-owned preserve in Fridley's northwest corner that abuts big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart but manages to provide habitat for wildlife and an oasis for nature-seekers.

For four years, for a $3 million project to improve the center's facilities for visiting groups.

"We are working on this and have support to get a bill in the legislature," said Siah St. Clair, nature center director.

'Considered a Local Issue'
One of those supporters, state Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-50A), said she would try to add Springbrook to the state's to-do list:

"I am disappointed that Springbrook Nature Center was not included in the Governor's bonding bill recommendations and will try to get it included in the bonding bill through legislative action. It is ready to begin construction and so would create jobs, which is one of the main reasons we are doing the bonding proposals. Ultimately, this natural jewel in our urban midst deserves and needs this infrastructure help."

State Sen. Barb Goodwin (DFL-50) identified two hurdles: a slim list of projects from the governor, and a perception that Springbrook is a local concern:

"I'm going to work to try to get it included. But I can't count on it.  We've also worked on getting some Legacy funds. I have lobbied the Governor's office for inclusion in the bonding bill, but it's still considered a local issue rather an issue of regional significance. So very many projects didn't make it that are even more of a priority.  Overall, this is a very conservative bonding bill since most are around one billion in size."

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