Springbrook Nature Center Bills Introduced at MN House, Senate

Legislation would fund $5 million project at Fridley park with state bonds.

Improvements at the City of Fridley's Springbrook Nature Center may not be at the top of the state agenda, but they're close.

The companion bills in the Minnesota House and Senate were among the first 100 to be introduced in the new session of the state Legislature, which began Jan. 8, 2013.

The Springbrook bill in Senate File 24, introduced Friday, and House File 65, introduced Monday.

Fridley's state senator, Barb Goodwin, and state representative, Connie Bernardy, are among the co-authors. The senate bill's next step is the Finance Committee, where Goodwin has a seat.

Here is the text of the two bills (identical at this point):

A bill for an act relating to capital investment; appropriating money for the Springbrook Nature Center; authorizing the sale and issuance of state bonds.


Subdivision 1. Appropriation. $5,000,000 is appropriated from the bond proceeds fund to the Metropolitan Council for a grant to the city of Fridley to predesign, design, construct, furnish, and equip the redevelopment and expansion of the Springbrook Nature Center. No nonstate match is required for this project.

Subd. 2. Bond sale. To provide the money appropriated in this section from the bond proceeds fund, the commissioner of management and budget shall sell and issue bonds of the state in an amount up to $5,000,000 in the manner, upon the terms, and with the effect prescribed by Minnesota Statutes, sections 16A.631 to 16A.675, and by the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, sections 4 to 7.

EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Rod Trocke January 15, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Five million, I thought this was a nature center not some golf club house. As we have $400,000 of Fridley Tax money going there this year how much more will this cost in our tax dollars to maintain?
Pam Reynolds January 16, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I think the city needs to back up and make sure it's citizens agree with the SPRING project the Foundation is pushing. In the past the city went to the voter's for approval of a "community center" concept and the voter's said NO. The Foundation has a death grip on a city park---owned by all the taxpayers. This park is not Springbrook Nature Center. The official name of the park is North Park the only thing that is Springbrook is the building. The 2004 vote to have a special tax levy in support of Springbrook was for maintenance and programming within the center, not the entire park. The SPRING program will develop the front five acres of the park and increase the size of the interpretive center to include conference rooms and small shops. In the last Citizen Survey conducted.it was determined that less than 1% of Fridley residents frequent Springbrook. Why should our state tax dollars be spent on a "quasi country club" for the Foundation and Fridley's elite. This process should begin with the Fridley voters! The Council, specifically the Mayor, will tell you,"Somebody is going to get the $$. It might as well be "us". The Foundation wants closed circuit cameras so you can experience the nature from inside the building while you have coffee or buy a book in the "visitor" center. I'll be emailing my reps today!
Pam Reynolds January 16, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Notice the article says "NO nonstate match is required for this project". The original plan, as proposed by the Foundation, required them to match $$. Slick legislation! Another pork project for Bernardy and Goodwin.
Lou Zmuda January 16, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Does Fridley really need the Taj Mahal of "nature" centers. First the million dollar bridge, now this...so how much will it cost to maintain? I'm still waiting for my Mom's home value to go up as the City Counsel claimed they would if the Northstar transit station were built. Seems we have more important things to deal with than a nature center.
Joanne Zmuda January 16, 2013 at 01:18 AM
With so many folks homeless, hungry and needing jobs, this is the best we can get from Bernardy and Goodwin? They should be ashamed of themselves. Why should tax payers back a $5,000,000 bonding bill for a "nature center" that is not a nature center by definition? Projects such as housing and funding repairs on our infrastructure, which would also provide jobs would be much more beneficial to our State. Is it what we need or what we want is a good slogan to keep in mind as our representative dream up ways to spend money we don't have. As I said before, Goodwin and Bernardy should be ashamed of themselves and they just lost my vote.
Rick Wolfe January 16, 2013 at 05:49 PM
For years and years I have challenged the city council and state reps and the focus news to actually research the foundations numbers that they throw at us every year. 220,000 visitors every years is a absolute lie. While on the city council, I did the foundations exact same study and came up with 209,000 people short of their number. Did you know. that if you sign in at the nature center as a visitor, you are counted as "6" visitors. I challenge our state reps and the focus news to really do your own research and stop listening to the foundations lies and staffs false numbers. For the last 10 years I drive by the center and have never seen more than "8" cars in the lot, even times 6 doesn't come to 220,000. Years ago for the easter egg event, the foundation and staff told all of us in the focus news that there was 3600 people who showed up for their event. It was a horrible day outside with sleat, cold and windy. There might have been 30 to 50 people there but the foundation and staff told the focus, 3600. Please stop the lies, the nature center is a great place without wasting more taxpayers dollars for the foundations private country club. Did you know, you can't ride a bike in the city owned nature center, you can't walk your dog, you can't cross country ski, you can't jog, all because you might scare the animals and yet the foundation wants to have an out door band shell a coffee shop a gift store and someday hold weddings.
markl771 January 17, 2013 at 09:31 AM
this is total crap feed the hungery and homeless here first.......
Connie Karls January 17, 2013 at 01:34 PM
While walking thru Springbrook nature center I ran into a giant snapping turtle on the path. I shared this story with some people in the southwest suburbs and they could hardly believe there were beautiful nature places Fridley. Thank you Fridley for preserving this area especially for families without lake homes or vacations.
Jeff Thompson January 17, 2013 at 03:47 PM
I do visit the Springbrook Nature Center now and then. I would of liked to see bikes being allowed, pets not so much. I was disappointed in the condition of the waterway walking bridge and thought hard on what it would take to invent such a feature. I also knew it would take an effort by the people to convince the community to see the vision that Springbrook holds to those cradled in the Metro area. Not all of us have the opportunity to explore the Greater Minnesota as many do and if this nature center brings the essence of that to those who who can take access to such a retreat then I am all for supporting such an initiative. It may not be everything everybody wants it to be but it is ours and we have something to offer to many. My Biology class toured Springbrook back in 1979 and the memories come back to me every time I walk the paved trails. If some of the “luxuries” seem extravagant then we need to look further into the details. A “Country Club” is a far cry from what is intended. A facility that can offer more to our children, schools, seniors, and enhance our community as a whole means more to me than seeing Springbrook Nature Center viewed upon as a reason for moneys not being spent elsewhere. the money we are talking about has already been designated for projects that fit this criteria. Having representatives in our court gives us a fighting chance to improve our community and ensure we have something to offer everyone.
Jeff Thompson January 17, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Great point!
Joanne Zmuda January 17, 2013 at 06:07 PM
For you "nonbelievers", Check out the definition of a nature center. Then find out the plans the Spring Foundation has for our "nature center". We already have a nature center/park by Innsbrok that isn't costing us $400,000 plus in tax dollars to maintain.Springbrook is turning into nothing but a legacy for the Spring Foundation founders at the great expense to the taxpayers of Fridley.


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