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Assistant Majority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) advocated for two local projects in Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park at the Capitol in recent days. At a meeting of the House K-12 Finance Division today, Hortman promoted a bill she is sponsoring that would provide funds to Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 to purchase 2.1 acres of land next to Riverview Elementary School and restore it into a prairie reserve.
"This project is a great opportunity to preserve a beautiful natural area near the Mississippi River and provide an educational opportunity for our children at the same time," Hortman said.
Students at Riverview Elementary would be involved in both the process of turning the property into a prairie reserve and the long-term upkeep of the land. They would research plants that are native to Minnesota prairies and decide which should be planted on the property. They would then plant and cultivate the plants that they chose. Riverview elementary and this land would serve as a resource for students and teachers from all across the state of Minnesota.
"This land would provide students with an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge while contributing to the community," Hortman said. "They'll also learn to be good stewards of the environment."
Last Friday, Hortman was working on a different bill with a local impact. During a meeting of the Capitol Investment Division, Hortman promoted a bill she is sponsoring that would build a bike trail along 85th Ave in southern Coon Rapids, linking a new bike trail to be built by the City of Fridley with the Mississippi River trail system. The Mississippi River trail system includes two river crossings in the area – the Coon Rapids Dam and the 610 Bridge Path – which link Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids.
"85th Ave is a busy road and there isn't a sidewalk or even a shoulder," Hortman said. "There are many pedestrians, bus riders and bicyclists who use this route, and some children whose shortest walk to Adams Elementary School is along 85th Ave. For all of their safety, we need to build this trail."
Hortman's bill to buy land next to Riverview Elementary was approved by the K-12 Finance Division and was recommended for inclusion in the omnibus bonding bill. Her bill to build a bike trail along 85th Ave was received positively by the Capitol Investments Division and was also laid over for inclusion in the omnibus bonding bill.