I’ve written on Commerce Drive once before. The article was just my thoughts on how much wasted space we have up there and what we could do to make it better. It was also written in my early days when I was a much, much worse writer (debatably.)
Every month there is a packet that comes out called the “Site Plan and Traffic Advisory Committee.” This usually makes its way on to the city website way before planning commission or city council packets and gives us the best idea of what’s coming to Mankato in the coming months. I like to distill that info into a quick little article so you don’t have to download the 100+page packet. I don’t do it every month, and I usually skip stuff I think is irrelevant.
So, here we go.
First on the docket is “Miller Creek 1st Addition.” If you’re wondering, “Hey, is this more bullshit suburban sprawl built on greenfield way on the edge of town?” the answer would be a resounding “yes.” Our appetite for paving over cornfields seems to be insatiable as we build more and more vinyl housing that’s likely to fall apart within half a century.
Here’s the site plan and where it’s going:
The old Meyer and Sons building at the corner of Mulberry and Broad St. is getting a new tenant and a facelift. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the original prefab concrete walls or the new “sci-fi” metal siding is worse. Zero brick, zero limestone, tons of that generic square architecture we’ve come to know and love. I guess I’m glad that it’s not vacant… I guess.
A new tenant will be filling the long-vacant space in the Block 518 building. Nolabelle Kitchen + Bar will the latest addition to the downtown restaurant scene. This doesn’t appear to be a franchise or chain and according to the packet they “…will be open seven days a week, Monday – Sunday, 8am – 10pm, catering to early birds with breakfast and brunch, and serving super-fresh salads, soups, sandwiches and hearty, but healthy, entrees for lunch and dinner.”
If you want to see their tentative menu click here. I wish them the best in their endeavor, opening a restaurant is incredibly risky, I hope they do well.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School will be adding a large addition to their school and narthex. Namely for the purposes of defining their main entrance, adding security and increasing their narthex size. Churches are integral parts of a neighborhood so I’m happy to see they’re doing well.
APX Construction and Evanson Concrete will be building a new building next to the old Verizon call center. No real problem with this as its straight industrial and basically just a box in an industrial area with utilities already existing.
Finally, Echo Food Shelf is doubling down on their ridiculously stupid idea that more parking will somehow feed more people. In what will eventually be prime land downtown, their proposing to knock over a perfectly good building (built in 1896 and was housing a chiropractor) to make sure that people have an easier time to park. I’ve written about this before in another article.
Go ahead, leave your hate, I don’t care. Echo food shelf is wrong and you won’t convince me otherwise. Taking out historic structures, that pay taxes and house businesses, to put in parking for a nonprofit is the antithesis of what we should be doing in our downtown district.
I’m glad to see you’re wisely spending $300k on a parking lot instead of using it for, ya know, food.
Every winter I’m plagued with the same argument on Facebook: “Those snowbanks pile up on the curbs and then that makes the street narrower and more dangerous!” I’m sure you’ve heard a similar argument at some point or even had that idea yourself, however, the fact is that it’s not true. “Fake News” if you will.
Mankato has foolishly adopted many blanket “no parking” ordinances that cater to this misconception. Along 6th street, there’s no parking on the east side of the street from November 1 to April 1, even if there’s no snow on the ground (because you know we can’t predict the weather).
Usually, I’m not one to complain about parking, but I have a friend that I frequent on sixth street and I’m always annoyed when I can’t park there because of this misguided ordinance. Its particularly annoying because most people rely on off-street parking in that neighborhood and the city is artificially restricting a public asset for no reason.
The problem with “muh snowbank” argument is that we’ve wrongly defined what “dangerous” is. Smaller streets are not more dangerous, they are more inconvenient. It’s important to note the difference because our lazy asses think they are the same when it comes to cars.
If you’re driving down a street with snow banks and cars parked on both sides, you slow down, you have no option. You can’t go fast because you know that you have less time to react to obstacles, be they cars, cats, or cyclists (say that with a hard “c” so you get the alliteration.)
What are you at a greater risk for? Maybe scratching your paint, knocking a mirror or not carelessly flying down the road. Those things are not dangerous, annoying, sure, but not dangerous.
Even if someone were to step out in front of your car and you did hit them, the chances that you will kill them is far, far less likely. I’ve posted this image before on here and I’ll reference it again. The slower the car is going, the more likely the person you hit is to survive.
The same complaint goes for intersections. “That snow piles up and then I can’t see around the corner! It’s dangerous!!” What happens when you can’t see around a corner? You slowly ease your way into the intersection, paying close attention to see if cars are coming from either direction.
I experienced this just the other day on the way up Mulberry street. I came to the below intersection and all the cars parked on the west side of the street plus the snow made it pretty hard to see around that corner. I crept out into the intersection making sure cars had ample time to see me and brake. Guess what? I didn’t die, neither did anyone else and it would have been pretty impossible for me to die because everyone was going slow.
We’ve been fed this lie that it is narrow space that is dangerous. People constantly get up at city council meetings asking for the ordinances to be passed or rules to be made about parking and snow and this and that. The fact is that we should leave it all alone, or communicate the removal of snow and/or the temporary reduction in parking that comes along with it. In Lower North, where I live, the city did this. They came by, told us to move our cars and then they came and plowed the boulevards. It was simple, effective and non-disruptive. Likewise, it didn’t require a 5 MONTH PARKING BAN.
Interestingly enough, snow is a really good way of showing that we don’t need extra space on our roads. Sneckdowns are a natural way of showing where cars don’t drive and how we could actually eliminate the for cars and use it for people or traffic calming measures.
However, the real underlying problem here is that American urban planning and city government reward meddling. We love to enact and tweak rules for our cities, every city manager and council think they are “helping” every time they come up with some convoluted ordinance instead of letting cities grow organically. Whether it’s over zoning, parking regulation or side setbacks, city councils love to make rules (see the stupid 21+ smoking ban that thankfully died) because it looks like they are doing something, when in the long run, things usually just sort themselves out.
So next time that grumpy neighbor is telling you how someone “going to die” because of some snow on the boulevard, tell him that it actually makes the street safer and they should read this article.
We’ve all heard that the current administration is hoping to pump $1 Trillion dollars into infrastructure spending in the coming years. This type of rhetoric has been slung by almost every President since I’ve been alive and probably more. “We need to fix our roads and bridges!” often evoking the painful memories of the 35W bridge collapse in Minnesota. Who could be so heartless as to not want to fix a bridge?
These proposals are often innocuous, or at least so vanilla that they are palatable to members of any political affiliation (except members of the Strong Towns party). They often claim to have bipartisan support or at least aim to.
The problem with these bills is that they are high-level. Drafted almost like there is some kind of infrastructure vending machine that we can throw money into and expect great results. The reality, however, is obviously far tougher.
This is becoming evident in the tiny town of Waldorf, MN. They have asked the state legislature for $2m (a paltry amount) to fix their near defunct sewer and water system. The residents and local officials have already figured out a way to raise $10m to cover the rest of the expenses, the amount they are requesting from the state is the gap. A city of 250ish people, Waldorf’s bill would settle up at around $40k per person (not including the tip.)
However, this begs the awkward question… Why should we pay for this?
On the outside, it’s pretty clear that Waldorf does very little for the state as a whole and that even fixing its infrastructure is probably not going to save it from its inevitable death. It’s not on a railway, it’s not on a river, and it’s not on a major highway, this would be giving a new liver to stage 5 cancer patient.
It’s somewhat in the American ethos to “settle the land” and I think some of that “manifest destiny” ideology has held on for a long time, but a loss is a loss any way you cut the cake. While what they are asking for is small, it simply serves no purpose and benefits a stark minority. This is not taking into account the LGA that the city probably already receives or the subsidies for the highway that appears to serve them alone.
Waldorf is a canary in the coal mine for many Minnesota communities, it’s the victim of the urbanization and suburbanization along with the death of family farms. I actually feel quite bad, I think that small towns just like Waldorf add to the rich tapestry of rural culture that we have in Minnesota, but feelings don’t repair necessary infrastructure.
If we are not going to fix their infrastructure, the question now is does the state resettle them? Does the state owe them, as citizens, money to move somewhere else? No matter your view on what should happen, I think that the Waldorf situation and others like it will raise serious ethical questions in the years to come.
Thanks to Lakes n Woods for the feature image
Earlier this year, I discovered that the Echo food shelf is attempting to make their services “more available” to those in need. According to the Mankato Free Press, Echo plans on buying the two neighboring lots, both which have perfectly good structures dating back to the late 1800s, and tear them down to allow for more parking and easier delivery access—all for the low, low cost of $350,000.
While I believe their intentions are good, I think it’s sad that they believe this will help their mission (especially for such an exorbitant cost). This will do nothing to help the food shelf and will only tear down more of our city’s history.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking the food shelf or anything that they do. They provide a vital service for the community. But to spend such an absurd amount on parking lots, something that has no proven record of doing anything for any business or nonprofit organization, is a depressing commentary on how pervasive car culture has become in the US. The belief that more parking somehow equates to better access to food is sad.
The reason I’m writing this article is to ask Echo to think twice. Downtown Mankato was devastated by Urban Renewal in the middle part of the century. We have so very little of our original downtown left that it would be almost criminal to tear down any more of it. The buildings that are slated for removal have their roots in the late part of the 1800s. While maybe not architecturally significant, it’s a shame to think that they would be needlessly destroyed. Removing these buildings to make parking lots is anti-community, which is antithetical to the mission of a food shelf.
The irony of this situation is that transportation for the average American (i.e. cars and driving) is more expensive than food costs. In a roundabout way, Echo’s plan, by inducing people to drive, will actually cost an average family more than if they were encouraged to take the bus, walk or ride a bike.
Likewise, if the average food costs for a year is, give or take about, $7,000, the amount of money they would spend building a new parking lot and tearing down these old buildings down, would equate to about 50 families having food for an entire year. Likewise, if you were to cover half a year’s worth of groceries, you would go up to 100 families and so on and so forth.
Many of you probably disagree with me, citing that more parking indicates current success and allows for future growth. While this argument may seem obvious, there’s actually no evidence to show that parking equates to success. In fact, there are a host of problems when you add parking, the least of which, increased rents.
I’m no stranger to roasting people on my blog for stupid decisions—I’ve done it to school boards, developers and the government. However, for this article, I wanted to take a lighter touch and simply ask Echo to look at the broader implications of its plans. We need to look back and see how much we’ve torn down… and how little we’ve built back in its place. Everytime we destroy an old mixed-used building, we’re taking away the space for a new shop, a new office or, I don’t know, a chiropractor.
If you want, I’ll walk you through downtown and show you what used to be there. I’ll show you why our downtown has only two nice blocks. I’ll show you why this decision is the wrong one, why it won’t solve any problems you think you have, and why it hurts our city in the long run.
I’m happy to talk. Feel free to reach out. I’m sure we can come to see eye-to-eye and preserve what little downtown we have left.
I work in the movie “Office Space.” If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s basically the existential crisis of one man realizes that he’s another cog in a corporatist Rube Goldberg machine. He comes to work, laments the mundanity of his job, goes home. A nihilistic, albeit, realistic, interpretation of “Ground Hogs Day” if you will.
I find myself questioning my existence, day in, day out. Why am I here? What I’m supposed to do? How I can leave an impact in the world?
In my semi-descent into madness, I’ve found myself researching, browsing or simply putzing about every subject imaginable. Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about our new president, his rise to power and the populous movements that have been sweeping a lot of countries.
People are desperate to cling to something. They realize that their time on this earth is short and they want to pass on something worth defending—something that wouldn’t be a far cry from the childhood they had growing up.
What is worth defending? Or maybe we should ask what do we build to defend things? Nowadays, it’s firewalls and RFID locks, but once we built permanent structures to defend our places, like castles, fortresses and keeps.
On my journey through the internet, I stumbled across this picture:
This is Najac, France. It’s a town that never crested 3,000 souls at any point in the last two centuries. I found the picture on a subreddit called r/beamazed. It’s one of the highest upvoted posts of all time and I thought that was interesting. EDIT: Apparently its since been removed due to copyright, so the above picture is actually something close.
If you pop out to google maps this is the aerial view of Najac:
Except that’s not France, that’s Wisconsin, just East of La Crosse (French in name alone) in the Driftless Area. Here’s the actual aerial view:
Pretty crazy that we have arguably the same topography and same geographic beauty as Europe, yet we build such boring shit.
If you had a transplantation machine, you could easily move Najac right to Wisconsin (or Minnesota) and it would feel right at home. It would, undoubtedly, be the hottest tourist attraction in the tri-state area. Najac, Wisconsin, would literally make millions of dollars annually.
We don’t build places like Najac, though. We double down on row houses out by our new school.
This, I think, plays into the populist message we’re seeing in America. It isn’t, in my opinion, based on racism or idiocy or isolationism; it’s based on emptiness. People today feel so disconnected, so adrift in a sea of global information, that they are longing to attach to something. They want to feel like Americans—an elusive, but critical, part of their identity.
I think our built environment can help do this. They can help root people instead of isolate them. They can make neighbors out of enemies and help people find the common ground. They can be places worth defending. If you wanted to feel connected, truly in-tune, with your city and the history that built it, you would start with buildings. You would start with the things your ancestors left for you to take care of and left you to build on top of.
In Jane Jacobs “A Wealth of Nations,” she writes about visiting the familial Hamlet of Higgins, North Carolina. This was the height of the great depression and, to her surprise, even a rural village tucked away in the remoteness of Appalachia was impacted, but not for the reasons you might think. She recalls how the founders of the hamlet and their families held a variety of skills:
“spinning and weaving, loom construction, cabinetmaking, corn milling, house and water-mill construction, dairying, poultry and hog raising, gardening, whiskey distilling, hound breeding, molasses making from sorghum cane, basket weaving, biscuit baking, music making with violins …”
But these skills were not being put to use. An excerpt from this Atlantic article, summarizes what she found:
“Candles were a vanishing luxury. After the few remaining cows died, there would be no more milk or butter. One woman still remembered how to weave baskets, but she was close to death. When Robison suggested building the church with large stones from the creek, the community elders rebuked her. Over generations the townspeople had not only forgotten how to build with stone. They had lost the knowledge that such a thing was possible.”
This remote village no longer had the ability to sustain itself. The loss of wisdom, ostensibly, the loss of the skills that had given them an identity, had doomed this tiny town.
It’s skills like this, places built by hand, that feed people their identity. No one really wants to defend their slapped-together rambler built by GOODBUILDZ, LLC. They want to secure a shelter for their family and their “irreplaceable” possessions. However, places that craft identity are places like Najac, places that people rally to save, places that make you feel connected to something deeper. Places like we destroyed in the middle of the century.
I changed the title for this article maybe three or four times. I knew the general idea of it, but I didn’t know what I wanted to call it. So, I went to Google. I typed in “not worth defending” and as fate would have it, the third image that popped up was this:
Jim Kunstler is probably one of my favorite people on the planet. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to him a few times and getting kinda drunk in his hotel room at CNU 22 in Buffalo, NY.
We have so many despondent people in the work force that would kill for someone to employ them to build Najac. People who would love to build a place that has meaning, that has character, that has something. In fact, in France, right now, there is a group of people working on restoring a medieval castle in the exact same fashion it would have been built hundreds of years ago. You can check them out here. It is purely a labor of love, no money, no fame, they just know its important to do. Here’s a picture I pulled off their Facebook page.
With all the talk of North Korea and Russia and nuclear annihilation, we have to ask ourselves if we would actually rally around America. Would we want to defend what we’ve built or do we want to defend the soft, consumerist lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves? Do we really want to make Prairie Winds and its subsequent housing the thing we pass on to our children? Or did we build it to be convenient for the parent? Is it for the here and now? Is it for the Happy Motoring culture we’ve created for ourselves?
There’s an emptiness that’s descending on America, and if we don’t address it, we’ll soon find ourselves consumed by it. Building Najac wouldn’t be a panacea, but it’d be a step in the right direction, a part of a new identity, a place worth defending.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a prime piece of land sitting adjacent to the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. It’s been empty for quite some time now, awaiting the construction of Bridge Plaza—a mixed-use tower with space for office, retail, and living.
There have been signs up for the better part of 2 years now, talking about Bridge Plaza without any indication of construction actually starting. I don’t blame them. It’s hard to get an anchor tenant so you can move forward on a huge project like this and I wish Brennan construction all the best in completing their building.
In the meantime, I’d like to think about something else that could go there. I’m not saying that this is a better idea, just a different one.
I’ve written before about the devastation that Urban Renewal inflicted on Mankato and I think that this building site would be a great place to make amends. This is a huge downtown lot, and, instead of building one large tower, I propose we build small mixed-use buildings with the same architecture (or at least facade) as some of the buildings that were torn down in the middle of the 20th century.
I’m going to spare you the actual calculations of how many buildings could fit there and rather am going to go with the tried-and-true “Photoshop and Google Maps” method of site planning.
Old Town will be our scale. We’ll take one mixed-use building out of Old Town and plop it on the site (at scale) to see how it looks (without getting into the nitty-gritty of how buildings are actually built.)
(I’m using Dan Dinsmore’s building as a reference, Coffee Hag is about the same size)
Wow. By my estimate, there are 32 historic buildings in Old Town that people would consider interesting (Hag, Mom & Pop’s, Dork Den, etc.) and you can fit about 24 of them on this one plot of land. Even on the low end, that would create close to 20 new downtown housing units. The “inside” of the lot could be used for parking. The city financed a ramp for the Tailwind project, I think they could do the same for this.
More importantly though, this would be a pedestrian friendly, efficient use of space. The economic impact of this would percolate out into the rest of the downtown neighborhoods and hopefully bring in a little redevelopment for blighted properties.
Again, this isn’t to say that Bridge Plaza would be bad, this is simply a thought experiment.
I think that this project would play in well to the Old Town redevelopment and would bridge the gap between Downtown and Old Town. It would also allow for plenty of new space for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Likewise, you could maybe even get more community buy-in as the development would not need to be owned by one company or a few wealthy investors. Anyone that could finance a building could be given a shot at developing their own property so long as it fits with the rest of them. This would be a nice way to limit fragility and create a sense of ownership.
Who knows? Maybe this would even set the stage for developing on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.
Likewise it was just announced that the six acre public works site will go on the market this winter. This is a huge opportunity for downtown, but should we spend it on one or two big buildings? Or should it be a collection of small, mixed-use buildings like downtown already has? Those are the buildings that give a city its character, that give it life. We need towers, but we never really built back our stock of small buildings after Urban Renewal. Now is our opportunity.
Big towers are great for certain things, but they really suck at activating the street. Popular neighborhoods across the country are never near towering buildings, they’re always in small places designed for people. It’s more fun to walk along the street and gaze through the windows of shops than it is to stare into some corporate office space while being dwarfed by 15 stories of glass.
These are the types of development that we should be promoting, not boring “townhouses” built nowhere near the town.
Now, who’s with me? Should I start a GoFundMe? If Jordan can raise $2500 bucks because he sucks at biking (kidding, buddy), I feel like there’s no way we wouldn’t reach our goal.
Because I want more traffic for this site and because everybody seems to crap their pants when they find out something new is getting built, I decided that I would make a blog post about all the new stuff getting built in Mankato in the coming months.
Every month I review various packets from both cities to see what is going to be built in Mankato. Usually only nerds check these packets but almost always everyone is interested in what’s being proposed.
I’ve decided to make this process easy for you. Scan the post, I’ll tell you what’s being and built and give you my thoughtful and incredibly biased commentary and each item.
I’m hoping to do this every month, so I hope you keep coming back!
Here we go…
I’ve been spending a few days in Des Moines, IA as a mini-vacation with my family. It’s a really interesting place as it has a lot of old school charm in places and a bunch of horrible suburbia in others. I actually see Des Moines as a bit of a model for what Mankato could be like, hopefully avoiding some of the mistakes they made along the way.
In 2008, the Des Moines river flooded really badly, jeopardizing a lot of downtown Des Moines with a few inches of over-nitrogenized water. I’ll commend them, however, from not backing off from their river, not neglecting it but trying to find a balance between flood protection and placemaking. In my opinion, they are doing a pretty good job.
We’ve talked a lot recently about retaining young people in Mankato and I think that the Riverfront plays a crucial if not critical role in achieving this. My generation seems to value sense of place more than our parents. Maybe its because a lot of us grew up in boring, cookie cutter suburbia. We want to be proud of a built environment and our surrounding natural features. We love the Red Jacket Trail, Riverfront Amphitheater and Sibley Park. These are amenities to be proud of and our far larger anchors for young people sticking around compared to, I don’t know, a boring-ass sports complex for rich kids.
Let me propose an idea.Take all the money that might be spent on the Sports Complex (yes, ALL of it) and put it toward making our Riverfront awesome.
A quick Google search will return plenty of results of cities revitalizing their riverfronts and the ensuing success that came with it. These places used their money to create a place that is interesting for all citizens, a place they could take pride in.
Right now, our riverfront is an embarrassment. There’s no denying it. Our neglect of it is another crowning achievement of past administrators and city councilors. (It’s hung right on the wall next to the decimation of our downtown.)
The river is what gave life to this city, we owe it everything that we have today. To sit here and watch it slip by, a gray, lifeless extension of our sewer system, is an absolute shame. While I laud the artists that got the mural on there, it’s just lipstick on a pig. I guarantee that all those artists would rather have a river to interact with than the wall that now dons their artisanship. We deserve to have a river that is worth taking pride in. Maybe it could even be a central feature of “Kato X.”
In my mind, there is no argument that riverfront redevelopment would bring more people and more money to this city than a sports complex ever will. Why? Because it doesn’t need continually upkeep if it’s built right. We will be forced to replace the roof, plumbing, air conditioning etc… on a sports complex and it won’t be the generation that’s pushing for it that will pay for it, they will be dead or in a nursing home. My generation will be the one forced to upkeep the temple of the sporting cult.
I can already hear you nay-sayers yelling at the screen, telling me that the Army Corps of Engineers owns the wall and that we can’t touch it without their permission. Well, “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and the one thing lacking since that monstrosity was built has been the will to take it down and find a better use for our river. If we want it, we can make it happen. There are thousands of cities around the globe to look at for inspiration and logistics.
So, this is a public challenge to you, Greater Mankato Growth, and to you, The City of Mankato. Find a way to spend our sales tax extension on our river or, at the very least, a project that directly benefits all our citizens, instead of shoveling it out to the Sports Lobby.
Good luck. I’m sure you’ll leave me thoroughly unimpressed, but a guy can dream.
Thanks to Ben Lundsten for the cover photo.
I’ve been postulating a lot on the current administration and what it means for building better cities.But do you know what? I stopped thinking about it and you should too. You can’t help everyone and you will probably never change the course of the federal government. They, in my opinion, are too far gone.
Focus your effort back home, right here, Mankato. See something? Say something. Better yet: do something. Fix a pothole (technically illegal).Yarn bomb a tree. Rake an old lady’s leaves.
In my time of advocacy, I’ve found that the decision-making process is almost completely arbitrary. Many people think that a bunch of data is being handed to decision makers, and that these decision makers have newspapers articles and studies tacked up on the wall all connected by red string.
There is no “A Beautiful Mind” scene at every council meeting where people are trying to figure out the best decision. Trust me, I’ve been to so many meetings and I have seen the stupidest logic applied to situations.
“Let’s build a wall around the new middle school to prevent kids from walking there.” Looking at you, Councilman Frost.
The way that a lot of decisions get made at local level is city council relying on city staff. I would bet that 90% of the decisions they make have minimal input from residents. However, if you show up or write to your councilperson, things can change and decisions can be altered.
Here’s some anecdotal evidence. When the civic center addition (gross) was being added, the architect decided that it would be better to forego making it look like the other civic center and just picked some weird precast siding that didn’t match anything in the area.
Here’s where I come in, I was scanning the planning commission packet and said, “Wow, this is stupid.”
I shot an email off to the head of the Planning Commission:
“I won’t be able to make the planning commission meeting on Wednesday, but if you would please log a recommendation to make the exterior, the pre-cast concrete, match the existing civic center. I don’t know why they chose a different texture, but it would be nice to see the same pattern used on the outside of the new expansion.
It seems that architects have something to prove now by using obscure, contemporary materials. It would be nice to see them look towards what exists already.“
And voilà! Now we have a huge waste of money BUT it’s sided with the right kind of pre-cast concrete. Success…I guess.
This is how everything works. People make decisions as best they can using the information they believe to be true.
Often times, they don’t go out and seek other inputs, they simply reinforce what they already believe or just “go with the flow,” waiting for a senior member of the committee to make a recommendation.
This is where you come in. All you have to do is show up. Maybe just once or twice, but if it’s a subject you know something about and you can halfway articulate an argument, there might be a chance it influences a decision or changes a perspective. If nothing else, you get the moral superiority of lording it over your friends when they complain about a decision the city made. (I’m super good at this.)
In this spirit, I’m going to be launching several articles about how to “Make Mankato Great Again.” This also why my Facebook profile pic changed to a very real (not fake at all) shot of our current president donning a sweet Key City hat. Little known to the public, I was the inspiration for the iconic headwear. True news.
I’m not stranger to voicing my opinion on urban development issues in the Mankato area, but this series will be focused on things I see as critical to returning Mankato back to its former glory. When I say former glory, I mean it. We are still on a path of unsustainable development and financial insecurity.
I hope this somewhat inspires you to do the same. There’s an issue you care about, show up and say something about it. Don’t get fatigued by national politics, that stuff is largely out of your control, but you can make a difference right here, right now.