Should the City or Mendota Homes clean up the undeveloped parts of The Crossing?

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The Riverfront Development site was an eyesore for 15 or more years as the photos of the old Kump lumber yard above attest.

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Now it’s looking waaaaaay better as the first condo building and the first office/retail building at The Crossing are finished and have gotten landscaping around them.

But the rest of the development is looking pretty scruffy, now two months since the first owners moved in. See this slideshow of photos I took last week.

Weeds, construction debris and equipment, a big blue dumpster, and large tracts of bare dirt that make for lots of dust when the wind blows mar the rest of the development. It seems like it wouldn’t take much to clean things up, put down some black dirt and seed it with cheap prairie grass. Should Mendota Homes do it? Should the City of Northfield help? (There’s a lot of TIF money in this project.) Should the City encourage MH to do it?

Bruce Morlan’s got a related blog post on this issue.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    I think that the City should pressure MH to clean up the site and if they don’t, then the City should do it and bill them.

    It doesn’t seem all that different than when a property owner fails to shovel the sidewalks or mow the boulevard adjacent to their property. The City eventually will do it and tack it onto their utility bill.

    June 18, 2007
  2. Philip Spensley said:

    I agree, Griff…whoever owns it is responsible for it…and if they don’t do it, the City has the responsibility to see that it is done, and bill the owners.

    The same way I feel about companies that pollute land and watersheds then move on without assuming responsibility for cleaning it up. One of the many valuable tenets of the Scouting movement is to leave your campground cleaner than how you found it. We wouldn’t have issues of global warming and environmental degredation if everyone took that to heart.

    June 18, 2007
  3. John S. Thomas said:

    I would have to agree.

    Most of the areas are already defined with concrete barriers. They should go ahead, and at least square away the front line and make it look presentable.

    I am sure that they cannot do anything with the pieces that MNDOT still “owns”, but they can at least clean up the rest of it.

    It is surprising. It is as if Mendota Homes no longer has a presence around the site at all.

    June 18, 2007
  4. John S. Thomas said:

    Also, isn’t the area between the sidewalk and HWY 3 the responsibility of MNDOT, and not the property owner?

    MNDOT did a “really good job” of installing those trees, without any additional landscaping. They probably have not been watered since installation, and may fail.

    That whole strip should have been done much better by the landscape contractor.

    June 18, 2007
  5. Jane McWilliams said:

    I’m so naive that I assumed the developer would tidy up and landscape the area to attract folks to buy into the condo project. I wonder how the people who already have moved in feel about their neighborhood. That area looks amost as bad as some of the offending property in college neighborhoods.

    June 18, 2007
  6. Larry DeBoer said:

    Griff, Give Mendota Homes a break. They are right in the middle of a long term building project that has already created rave reviews and is enhancing our goals of giving people a choice of housing in our downtown. While the second condo tower with its attendant commercial areas isn’t up yet the construction machinery will be moving in soon and will be driving all over the surrounding grounds. Who ever puts in the lawn until the house is finished? A large development just takes longer than a single house.

    June 19, 2007
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    Larry, I’m not asking for sod to be laid… just a little black dirt with some cheapo grass seed since it might be a year or more before the other buildings are constructed.

    I can’t imagine it would take more than an hour of two to clean up the construction debris, either.

    Both would seem a small price to pay that might just help them sell more units and make their current condos owners happier.

    FYI, I’ve heard a rumor (substantiated) that others have been pressuring the City to pressure MH to clean things up… and that MH head honcho John Mathern will be in town today to talk about it.

    June 20, 2007
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    The blue dumpster was removed this week and according to a resident, the weeds were sprayed yesterday morning.


    June 27, 2007

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