Since the program was started, just over 5 years ago, Conservation Minnesota’s team of regional managers have dramatically increased the organization’s ability to work at the local level to protect the Minnesota we love. By learning about the needs of each community and creating partnerships with local groups, they can quickly identify important opportunities to make a difference.
That’s what happened last fall in Brooklyn Park when the City Council approved a Natural Resources Protection and Park Improvement Bond Referendum for the November ballot. A local citizens group and The Trust for Public Lands had been working on the issue as a way to increase local funding for parks and open spaces and made a connection with our West Metro Regional Manager, John Anderson.
John saw a way for Conservation Minnesota to help provide a robust educational campaign to ensure Brooklyn Park residents were aware of the ballot measure and the benefits the referendum would provide. The referendum would reinvest in neighborhood and community parks, improve the city’s trail system, improve the Community Activity and Senior Centers, and protect natural resources in the community.
In the weeks before the election, Conservation Minnesota’s outreach efforts reached over 15,000 residents, making sure they had important information about the ballot measure. On Election Day a resounding 63% of residents who voted, did so in support, approving critical investments in the community’s quality of life.
We plan to work with the Trust for Public Land and other communities in the future to make similar investments in local parks and natural resources. It is clear that Minnesotans support making sure we have healthy and prosperous communities across our state.