Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway
formerly Friends of Patrick Eagan Park
Background & Recent Events
- 1969 -- In a park plan for the town of Eagan, use for the park is defined as being "skiing, picnicing, hiking and other year-round activities." A portion of the proposed park is located on the site of the former John McCarthy homestead.
[History of Patrick Eagan, the Settler]
- 1971 -- In a booklet distributed to all Eagan households in advance of a vote on park bonds, a similar intended use for the park is reiterated. The park bonding referendum passes to acquire approximately 75 acres of private parcels, including 20 acres from the north side of Caponi Art Park, for the purpose of officially creating the park.
- 1978 -- The City of Eagan applied for, and received, a grant from the Federal Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) program to help purchase 35 acres for the park.
- 1980s -- Patrick Eagan Park now consists of 110 acres total land, land which has never been farmed.
- 1990s -- House at the Lexington entrance to the park is converted to use as the Eagan Art House for art and music-related programs.
- 2001 -- Eagan's Mayor proposes a "Golf Course Exploratory Committee" to study the feasibility of constructing a championship golf course on Patrick Eagan Park and neighboring Patrick McCarthy's Farm (as well as the contiguous Barbara Curry Park and Anderson property), since this may be the "last large parcel of land on which to do so."
- 2001 -- Patrick Eagan Park Preservation Committee (PEPPC) formed to protect the park in its entirety, and eventually to promote a nature center in the park;
- 2001 -- Save Patrick Eagan Park established to preserve the park in its present state, and eventually to promote the Eagan Core Greenway initiative;
- 2001-2002 -- The controversy stirs much public input to the Exploratory Committee, to the City Council, and to the local Press.
- January 2002 -- Sierra Club North Star Chapter adds Patrick Eagan Park to its list of Minnesota's Top Ten Endangered Green Spaces.
- February 2002 -- The Golf Course Exploratory Committee concludes that building an upscale golf course of the McCarthy land and Patrick Eagan Park would not be "financially viable."
- March 2002 -- The Save Patrick Eagan Park group becomes "Friends of Patrick Eagan Park" and lobbies the City Council to:
- conduct an Open Space survey of the residents of Eagan;
- put a first option to buy on Patrick McCarthy's farmland;
- endorse the Eagan Core Greenway initiative.
- April 2002 -- Friends of Patrick Eagan Park submits an application to the Minnesota DNR's Metro Greenways Program for funding assistance to preserve the Anderson parcel, located beside the east entrance to Patrick Eagan Park.
- September 2002 -- The McKnight Foundation initiates its "Embrace Open Space" campaign, a year-long education and advocacy program for local green space. The campaign designates the Eagan Core Greenway as one of the Twin Cities "Top Ten Treasures."
- October 2002 -- The Sierra Club, North Star Chapter, begins its 7th Annual "Tour de Sprawl" ride at Patrick Eagan Park. Speakers include Eagan City Council Member Peggy Carlson, Dakota County Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler, National Sierra Club President Jennifer Ferenstein, Friends of Patrick Eagan Park Representative Jack Conrad, and Minnesota DNR MetroGreenways Program Coordinator Al Singer.
- October 2002 -- Minnesota DNR MetroGreenways Program announces an $8,000 grant to Eagan, to be matched by the City, for the purpose of studying and developing the Eagan Core Greenway initiative.
- November 2002 -- The City of Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission supports a resolution sponsored by Friends of Patrick Eagan Park. The resolution recommends that the City Council support a motion to acknowledge the importance of the Eagan Core Greenway . The resolution passes by a vote of 8 to 1.
- December 2002 -- The Eagan City Council endorses a resolution sponsored by Friends of Patrick Eagan Park put forward by the City's Advisory Parks Commission. The resolution recognizes the Eagan Core Greenway and its significance to the community and to the environment. The resolution passes by a vote of 5 to 0.
- January 2003 -- Friends of Patrick Eagan Park members make a presention before the DNR's Metro Greenways Program staff on the merits of their application for funding for the acquisition of roughly 10 acres of land beside the east entrance to Patrick Eagan Park.
- February 2003 -- The Work Group of the Minnesota DNR Metro Greenways Program proposes a $100,000 award to Friends of Patrick Eagan Park to be applied to the Anderson parcel (contingent upon FOPEP's ability to secure additional partners);
Friends of Patrick Eagan Park encourages Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission to support a plan to work with partners at the State, County, and Private levels to protect the Anderson property. The measure passes by a 10 to 0 margin. See [Parks Commission February Resolution]
- March 2003 -- The Advisory Committee of the Minnesota DNR Metro Greenways Program endorses the $100,000 award to Friends of Patrick Eagan Park for the Anderson parcel;
Friends of Patrick Eagan Park advocates City Council passage of the Parks Commission's recommendation to work with partners for the preservation of the Anderson parcel. The proposal passes by a 5 to 0 margin. See [City Council March Resolution]
- April 2003 -- The Eagan City Council and the City's Advisory Parks Commission focus on Tony Caponi's Art Park and discuss a road map for the long term preservation of the unique park. See [Story].
Friends of Patrick Eagan Park partners with the Sierra Club (North Star Chapter) in conjunction with the McKnight Foundation for a local "Embrace Open Space" Campaign and distributes within the community 500 lawn signs that say "We can do better--We can embrace open space!"
- May 2003 -- Friends of Patrick Eagan Park again partners with the Sierra Club (North Star Chapter) in sponsoring a Workshop on Open Space Advocacy. The workshop is followed by a hike through Patrick Eagan Park to Caponi Art Park and Learning Center. Over three dozen citizens attend the activities.
- June 2003 -- The City of Eagan Advisory Parks Commission forms several subcommittees to develop a proposal to preserve (via partial acquisition) the Caponi Art Park and Learning Center.
The Minnesota DNR's Natural and Scenic Area Program earmarks $350,000 for Eagan's Anderson project.
- July 2003 -- Friends of Patrick Eagan Park submits an entry and a participates in Eagan's 4th of July Parade.
- August 2003 -- Friends of Patrick Eagan Park hosts a Nature Photography Workshop in Patrick Eagan Park.
- September 2003 -- Eagan City Council passes resolution endorsing the Caponi Art Park application to the Minnesota DNR's Metro Greenways Grant Program.
Local farmer, Patrick McCarthy, donates the development rights (via a conservation easement) to 34 acres of his land to the Dakota County Farmland and Natural Areas Program. The land, situated on the northern most portion of the Eagan Core Greenway and representing a quarter of the McCarthy Farm, will now be permanently preserved for the citizens of Eagan. See [Story].
- October 2003 -- The City of Eagan holds a public meeting to discuss a proposal from City Water Resources Coordinator, Eric MacBeth, to build an alum holding tank on the northeast 3 acres of the McCarthy Farm in order to treat phosphates entering Fish Lake and Black Hawk Lake from Hurley Lake (on the McCarthy Farm). Local residents and Mr. McCarthy himself express serious concerns about the proposal. See [Report].
Friends of Patrick Eagan Park sponsors its third annual "Fall Foliage Frolic", and announces its name change to "Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway".
- December 2003 -- Eagan's City Council holds a workshop to further discuss the from City Water Resources Coordinator, Eric MacBeth, to build an alum holding tank on the northeast 3 acres of the McCarthy Farm in order to treat phosphates entering Fish Lake and Black Hawk Lake from Hurley Lake (on the McCarthy Farm). Local residents, including Mr. McCarthy again express their reservations about the plan. Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway advocates the exploration of less costly, less heavily engineered, and less environmentally intrusive approaches to phosphate treatment. See [Report].
- January 2004 -- The Dakota County Farmland & Natural Areas Project Director, Al Singer, announces the finalists in the first funding cycle for the Natural Areas portion of the program. Of the top seven finalists, three represent Eagan Core Greenway properties. These parcels and the recommended awards include:
| Property || Details || Recommended Award
| Anderson Parcel || Final Funding Piece || $270,000
| Caponi Art Park || Southern Portion || $850,000
| McCarthy Farm || Northeast Quadrant || $650,000
| Combined Properties || Three E.C.G. Properties || $1,770,000
- February 2004 -- The Dakota County Board of Commissioners votes to finalize the funding recommendations made by the Director of the Dakota County Farmland & Natural Areas Project (See Jan. 2004 above).
Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission and Advisory Planning Commission votes to recommend that the proposed Miller development on the Remo Caponi property, just east of Caponi Art Park, be approved by City Council, while City Council decides to postpone its decision until more safety concerns over access can be addressed.
- March & April 2004 -- The City of Eagan and the Trust for Public Land continue to negotiate the transfer of the 9 acre Anderson property from TPL to the City (to be annexed to Patrick Eagan Park). See several articles under "Recent News."
- May 2004 -- The City of Eagan and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) finally agree on the Sale conditions for the Anderson parcel as TPL pays the $4,500 trunk fees on the two acres the Anderson's will live on. The other 9 acres will be added to Patrick Eagan Park.
- June 2004 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway begins its next Community Outreach Campaign to educate local residents and invite support for the Eagan Core Greenway's Caponi Art Park.
- July 2004 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway participates in Eagan's 4th of July Parade.
The City of Eagan, along with its greenspace partners, celebrate the acquisition of the Anderson Parcel and its addition to Patrick Eagan Park. Partners include:
- August 2004 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway holds yearly membership meeting/picnic at Caponi Art Park before Shakespeare in the Park performance.
- September 2004 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway completes Community Outreach Campaign in conjunction with the Caponi Art Park, and presents a check for $3,000 to the Art Park Board, earmarked for the Caponi Art Park Acquisition Fund. See Friends' Community Outreach Campaign and Friends' Press Release.
- October 2004 -- Wennsman Homes sues the City of Eagan following the City Council's refusal to change the City's Comp Plan (from open space to housing) for the Carriage Hills Golf Course.
- November 2004 -- Large citizens' group rallies to preserve the Christensen ravine in northwestern Eagan.
- December 2004 -- The Trust for Public Land signs a purchase agreement with the Caponis to commence the eventual transfer of Caponi Art Park to the City of Eagan.
- January 2005 -- The Trust for Public Land exercises its option to pursue the purchase of the Caponi Art Park and Learning Center for the long-term benefit of the City of Eagan and its citizens.
- February 2005 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway collaborates with partner groups to initiate the Eagan Open Space Coalition (EOSC), a "coalition of coalitions," more than a half dozen local groups working to preserve the community's remaining open space, including Friends of Lebanon Hills, Carriage Hills Coalition, Friends of the Diamond T Property, Caponi Art Park, and others.
- March 2005 -- The Trust for Public Land closes with the Caponis to largely complete the transfer of Caponi Art Park to TPL, the City of Eagan and its citizens.
- April 2005 -- A Dakota County District Court judge rules against the City of Eagan and its decision not to change its Comprehensive Guide Plan for the Carriage Hills golf course. Without an appeal, the City will now be obliged to either amend the property's land-use designation or begin eminent domain proceedings.
- May 2005 -- The inaugural meeting of the Eagan Open Space Coalition (EOSC) is held in the Eagan Community Center, attended by representatives of seven Eagan-based open space preservation groups. The gathering consists of opening remarks by Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway co-chair, Jack Conrad, presentations by participating groups on their contributed "shared values," and a description of the resulting "mission" and "core values," by Mel Wong of the Carriage Hills Coalition. The following speakers represented each group.
- Caponi Art Park -- Cheryl Caponi
- Christensen Addition Neighborhood Coalition -- Heather Burns/Jerry Swanson
- Friends of the Diamond T Property -- Sharon Holbeck
- Friends of Lebanon Hills -- Mike Fedde
- Weston Hills and Pine Edge Neighborhood for Open Space -- Eric Vevea/Deanne Parks
- Carriage Hills Coalition -- Claudia Battaino
- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway -- David Brunet
- June 2005 -- Caponi Art Park Board, Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, and the Trust for Public Land host a "Recognition Night" for all who helped the recently completed park transition to succeed.
- July 2005 -- The City of Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission publicizes the results of the City's survey and resultant 15-year Parks Plan, entitled 20/20: A Vision for Parks, Recreation & Open Space.
- August 2005 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway announces to Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission and City Council the "Greenway Music Festival," a benefit for the Eagan Core Greenway, to take place next month.
- September 2005 -- On the 18th, Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway hosts the "Greenway Music Festival" with local folk and acoustic musicians, Dan Chouinard, Peter Ostroushko, Tim Eriksen, Prudence Johnson, Gary Rue and Hot!Dish.
- October 2005 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway announces the "Eagan Core Greenway Fund" as an outgrowth of September's Greenway Music Festival.
- November 2005 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway holds its Fall Board of Directors meeting.
Eagan City Council agrees to a settlement with Wensmann Homes over the Carriage Hills Golf Course , thus dismissing its appeal of the Dakota County Court Summary Judgment against the City.
- December 2005 -- The Wensmann proposal for Carriage Hills Golf Course goes before Eagan's Advisory Planning Commission on the 27th. By a vote of 4-3, the Commission endorses the development proposal.
- January 2006 -- Emboldened by a recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in favor of Mendota Heights (City vs golf course developer), the Eagan City Council votes to reverse their earlier decision and to sustain their appeal of the Dakota County judge's ruling against the City in the Wensmann Homes development proposal for Carriage Hills.
- February 2006 -- A three-judge panel at the Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from the Rahns and the City of Eagan regarding the Rahn/Wensmann law suit against Eagan over Carriage Hills Golf Course. The panel will issue a decision within the next 90 days.
- March 2006 -- Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway begins planning for their second annual Greenway Music Festival. David Brunet will again serve as co-chair, and Dan Chouinard will again help recruit prominent area musicians.
- April 2006 -- Friends organizes an Earth Day Cleanup Project for Patrick Eagan Park.
A three-judge panel at the Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from Tollefson Developments and Patrick McCarthy regarding the Tollefson lawsuit against the McCarthy Estate regarding 60 acres of the historic McCarthy Farm. The panel will issue a decision within the next 90 days.
- May 2006 -- Friends helps plant 30 trees at Caponi Art Park for Arbor Day.
- September 2006 -- Friends hosts the Second Annual Greenway Music Festival originally planned for Caponi Art Park. It was eventually held at nearby Saints Martha & Mary Episcopal Church due to rain.
- October 2006 -- Friends hosts its 5th Annual Fall Foliage Frolic in Patrick Eagan Park.
Friends conducts an Open Space Survey of City Council and Mayoral candidates.
- February 2007 -- Friends holds its first 2007 Board Meeting and begins to plan for its Third Annual Greenway Music Festival.
- April 2007 -- Friends hosts its annual Earth Day Cleanup Project in Patrick Eagan Park.