About Betsey

The roof before it got really green

I’m rarely on the fence, but often on the (green) roof.

This blog has its roots in my service on the Northfield Planning Commission (2001-2005) asking questions about how Northfield got where it was, where it wanted to go in the future, and who would pay for it.  The questions continued to be asked (but were not completely answered) when I served on the Northfield City Council from 2008-2012. Still asking the questions…

Currently, I’m on the Northfield Planning Commission again and the board of streets.mn, In the recent past, I’ve served on the boards of the Riverwalk Market Fair, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation and Strong Towns.  I’ve got degrees from Swarthmore College, Syracuse University and the University of MN Law School (between philosophy and law, I’m ready to argue with anyone about anything just for fun), I’ve been a Humphrey Institute Public Policy Fellow and participated in the Blandin Community Leadership Program (learning more strategies than argument for building community).

I have one husband, one daughter, two dogs, and three bicycles.

Sasha, Bruno and me

2 Replies to “About Betsey”

  1. Very well written and thoughtful. I couldn’t agree more. Add to your discussion the prospect of a new municipal liquor store which almost certainly can’t come close to covering costs, continuing deterioration of many residential streets faster than projects can remedy, proposal for a new transit center (not even sure why we need that especially at that location), interest in a whistle free train crossings, and tax levy increases of around 10% last year and looking like another bump up to 6% or more this year in a community which seems to have disinterest in any significant and sustained business, industrial or other developments as means of increasing our property tax base to help pay for all of this, and as far as I can tell, no publicly debated priority list with 5 or 10 year financial plans to guide us.
    Finally, I find it offensive that the selling point(s) and the publicity has featured the “civic center” aspect. Lets be straight about this…this is a 2 sheet ice arena that very occasionally and certainly only seasonally might have a couple of more craft fairs at best. Calling it a Civic Center is quite disingenuous and gives an impression far from the truth.

    Duke, Northwestern, 1 dog, 1 partner, 4 bikes, former businessman,local, county and state official (all in another state).

    1. Thanks! I completely agree about the “Civic Center” label, especially since that aspect of the project was added only at the last minute.

      Northfield needs to consider how it can increase private investment in Northfield (more business, more homes, higher value projects) while monitoring the public investment in these projects so the city can become more profitable and resilient plus budgeting for the life cycle of projects (like the repair and replacement of any improvement or facility) rather than just managing the current financial picture.

      And well-informed public debate is needed, too – got any suggestions for how you’d like to see the city push information out to residents and get feedback?


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