Umore Park, Rosemount, Minnesota

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Umore Park

Address: 170 Street E
Location of Site: 5,000 acres off of 170th St
Rosemount, Minnesota
Dakota County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1942
Year Ended: current
Founded by: Military
Historic Function: Industrial site
Current Function: Campus (educational)

Rosemount Dakota County

Umore Park, Rosemount, Minnesota
(44.703657° N, 93.017625° WLatitude: 44°42′13.165″N
Longitude: 93°1′3.45″W
The University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park is the University's 5,000-acre property that sits 25 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. It is located in Rosemount, MN, Dakota County.


Site History

The 5,000 acre land, was once owned to the Mdewakanton, a tribe of Dakota Indians. Rosemount, MN. By 1870, the land was being used by local farmers. In World War II, the U.S. government seized 11,000 acres of prime farmland for use in the war effort. Most of this land has not returned to its former state. The facilities at UMore were built in order for the American military to create “smokeless powder” in the factory.

After the war, congress passed a law for disposing of excess war property. State governments were at the top of the list in claimants. The University of Minnesota submitted plans to the federal government. They purchased the land for $1. They used the land for both aeronautical and agriculture research. Portions were also used for research in polio and cancer, and leased some land to the U.S. Navy, which developed the forerunner of today’s GPS technologies, as a way of communicated with submarines.

Barr Engineering completed a Remedial Investigation Report (RI) of the eastern two-thirds of UMore Park. The RI was conducted in order to investigate known and potential releases of hazardous substances and petroleum products associated with the Gopher Ordnance Works and post GOW land uses on portions that have not been looked at by USACE. The RI was completed following Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Guidance (USEPA, 1988) and is substantially compliant with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) guidance (MPCA, 1998a), the National Contingency Plan (NCP) and FUDS Program guidelines (USACE, 2004).

”The report included the investigation of 71 Sites of Concern (SOCs) that were identified in the project area. Barr included approximately 578 soil samples collected from test trenches, soil borings, surface soil and sewer sampling locations; groundwater monitoring from existing and newly installed monitoring wells; completion of two geophysical investigations; and televising selected reaches of GOW sewers” (RI). The scope of this RI was presented in a public meeting held on May 19, 2011. It was not well received by Rosemount locals. Of those samples, 81 originated around the ABC Production Line subarea, 33 from GOW East, 25 from the GOW sewers, and 21 from the Navy Firing Range/Burning Grounds. Five other areas accounted for the rest. Some of the most egregious current readings included levels of mercury at 200-times Tier 1 SRVs in the vast sewer system under UMore, lead levels in shallow soil at 15-times Tier 1 SRVs in the 10th Street Dump area, and arsenic levels of more than 3-times Tier 1 SRVs at the L and J Street Dump area. The RI utilized 9 existing wells and 6 new monitoring wells to test groundwater. It found its highest chloroform reading at 7.9 ppb in one well. That reading is below the Health Risk Limit, according to the report, and well below the high of 72 ppb found in 1984. (Minnesota raised the health-based guideline for chloroform from 1.9 ppb to 57 ppb in 1988.) Elevated nitrate-nitrogen levels were also found “above regulatory criteria” and above the Maximum Contaminate Level both in upgradient and downgradient groundwater areas. The presence of those contaminants were attributed to regional agricultural land uses. Trace cannon powder was found at 29 locations. ”There are no conditions that will prevent future development at UMore” said Dalgleish in introducing the results. “Additional studies will be needed, but the next level of studies will need to be based on development plans”. 82% of the land at UMore Park does not contain sensitive natural resources and is suitable for development. However, most of the acreage is constrained from development due to limited road access, lack of utilities, the existence of abandoned structures, construction debris and site contamination. 250,000 cu yd of concrete remain.

Certain SOCs are not suitable for residential use, schools or child daycares programs due to contamination. This land can however still be developed as industrial or commercial sites. Even the problematic de-listed Superfund Sites that have been remediated would be able to move forward with the University’s futuristic vision under the right conditions. With 5,000 acres, there is conceivably pletny of options to work around these issues. Build parking lots or commercial buildings on top of these contaminated areas. It’s in the visionary and conceptual stages at this point, it’s not yet at that level of detail” (Dalgleish).

Superseded by

The vision to build a unique, sustainable, University founded community of 20,000 to 30,000 people, a 25- to 30-year endeavor, was affirmed by the University’s Board of Regents in December 2006. The proposed plan integrates environmental, socioculture and economic opportunities with a focus in renewable energies, education and lifelong learning, heath and wellness, the natural environment and regional economic development. UMore redevelopment releases yearly updates to show the projects progress. The site will need extraction of existing structures and gravel deposits as well as environmental remediation if needed. Though the wartime factory-Gopher Ordnance Works has been out of business for 65 years, the ruins remain. These include concrete stacks, portions of buildings, and other remnants of industrial activity.

Many plans, No innitiative.

Memories and stories

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Remediation Investigation Report


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