Pioneer Press Editorial
January 13, 2005

Applause, please, for the majority of Roseville City Council members who voted Tuesday to proceed with the Twin Lakes redevelopment plan for a blighted area of the city. On a vote of 3-2, the council advanced the first phase of the 280-acre project northeast of Country Road C and Cleveland Avenue. It's about time.

Opponents have had more than enough time over the past decade to try to talk Twin Lakes to death. Those still arguing for delay are really arguing that they don't care what makes sense for creating a vibrant area from this decrepit old pit of a dead industrial area.

Opponents of varying stripes either want nothing to change or have out-of-touch notions that it is possible to conjure up some quaint village that will be economically viable by dint of wishing it so. Modern suburban redevelopment is more complicated than that, and it is possible to find a reasonable balance. That balance includes some big-box retail, which is where shoppers go in the 'burbs. The Twin Lakes land-use plan, with more than a decade of deliberation behind it, represents that balanced approach.

The first phase of the proposed project calls for 30 acres of residential use, 10 acres of office space, 30 acres of restaurants and retail, and 10 acres of roads, ponds and other public areas. It begins reclamation of the sort that first- and second-ring suburbs need to undertake to thrive well into the 21st century. The passions run so hot because the land is valuable in surrounded cities -- like Roseville is -- with no room to annex new land. The future is in smart redevelopment.

Of course, the council's majority will have to persist. A vote of 3-2 foreshadows more contentious, long sessions for decision-makers, both in the council chambers and perhaps the courts, where opponents say they will demand another whole environmental study.

But on Tuesday, Roseville chose to look forward.

That's the right direction -- for the Twin Lakes area and for the city.

2005 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.