What would make your community more livable and less dependent on fossil fuel 25 years from now?

Dozens of St. Anthony Park residents gathered at Luther Seminary on Feb. 11 to try to answer that question.

The gathering—“Envision 2040”—was hosted by Transition Town All St. Anthony Park (TT-ASAP), a group that was formed to “seek a positive, local response to climate change.”

The winner of the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation’s $15,000 anniversary grant, TT-ASAP is just beginning the work of creating a comprehensive plan to take steps in St. Anthony Park to limit the community’s reliance on fossil fuels by the year 2040.

The February event was the start of the idea-generating phase. By early summer, TT-ASAP plans to form action groups developed from the ideas gathered through the February meeting and a survey that will be distributed in March. The hope is that by winter 2016 a comprehensive plan will be in place and the work to bring that plan to fruition will begin.

The 60-some attendees broke into small groups of five or six people, who were encouraged to brainstorm ideas—the small and the really big. The group came back together after about 45 minutes and shared the ideas generated in the small groups.

There were a number of likeminded responses, and food took center stage: create more gardens to grow food and share it; establish a tilapia farm with aquatic edible plants; have a community apiary that would produce St. Anthony Park honey; establish a neighborhood farmers market. Transportation: keep working on creating a walker-friendly community; find safe ways to connect neighbors in the north and south parts of the neighborhood, from better walkways and bike paths to circulator buses. Someone suggested banning cars.

Sharing resources was another common idea: more than a couple of groups had brainstormed tool sharing among neighbors, by block or using the local public library as a place where people could check out ladders or small-motor items such as lawn mowers or snow blowers. Energy efficiency: one suggestion was for the neighborhood to have a goal of getting 90 percent of its energy come from solar, wind and other renewable resources by 2040.

Our favorites centered on community-gathering spaces, which included ideas for cooking together, creating art together and even operating a community-owned cooperative pub.

What’s the next step? TT-ASAP is looking for help in distributing its survey and compiling the results. If you want to get involved, contact Mimi Jennings at lenandmimi@usfamily.net or write her at 2222 Hillside Ave., St. Paul MN 55108. Or meet up with the Transition Town folks at the Transition Tap gatherings the first Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m., at the Urban Growler taproom, 2325 Endicott St., in South St. Anthony. Look for the table with the “t” card.

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