Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guest Post | Chuck Liddy

There is more attention now being focused on the Fort Snelling Upper Post (July/August Architecture Minnesota, pages 42-47) area than at any time in the past 30 years. Since 2007, both the National Park Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation have awarded grants—NPS to help mothball the structures and NTHP to define new development locations—and the State Legislature has also provided rehabilitation funds. There also finally is dialogue and coordination taking place between the DNR, Hennepin County, NPS, MHS, and other area stakeholders; and the County is currently soliciting proposals for LRT Station Area Master Planning services for the entire Ft. Snelling area east of the LRT line, south of the Mississippi River, west of the Minnesota River, and north of the airport. The Master Plan will further identify where and what type of new development in the area may be appropriate and at what density. For example, more intensive new commercial and residential development closer to the LRT line and outside of the historic district may help economically with less intensive and more appropriate new development and building reuse within the landmark area.

The existing buildings at the Upper Post currently cover approximately 10 percent of the land outside of the golf course and ball fields, and although nearly 35 acres of land where new buildings could be built on the Upper Post have been identified by the NTHP funded study, they are concentrated in the southwest corner of the site on the current golf course and in the southeast corner behind the barracks buildings. Building reuses should be carefully considered to fit the building, not the other way around. New development coverage should be similar to the existing, 10%, and heights should generally be limited to those of the existing buildings on the Upper Post so that new development doesn’t dwarf the historic buildings and open space.

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