Preserve U’s historic roots

Let communities have a greater say in their own future.

by Daily Editorial Board

From Dinkytown to Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park, the communities surrounding the University of Minnesota have a long and storied history. Local businesses have served them well for decades. But they are now under threat from cookie-cutter chains and apartment buildings, which promise growth and tax revenue. While it may be easy to disregard the past in the interest of growth, a balance must be struck to preserve the historic roots of the University and its community, which includes local business.

Projects like the one that demolished the Harvard Market after 106 years of business are unfortunately pursued at the behest of the profit margin and not the interest of local communities. Inevitably, this march forward often leaves few vestiges of the heritage that once existed. In the interest of preserving that heritage, the Dinkytown Business Association is compiling a plan to help alleviate concerns on both sides. This plan, still in its infancy, would allow local businesses and community members a voice in the continuing calls for change campuswide and beyond. With companies like Doran taking an increased interest in University development, such a plan is necessary to prevent the invasion of cookie-cutter chains of retail eateries and grocery outlets. These chains may provide increased choice and convenience, but they can never provide true cultural heritage.

Whether it be tales of Bob Dylan or Garrison Keillor, the preservation of the University’s 150 year history serves to remind us what makes our communities unique. Bulldozing that history and replacing it with clones of businesses that exist in many other communities whitewashes that uniqueness and sells out tradition for a quick buck.