Bill would help expand food shelf in Rosemount

A proposal to expand the 360 Communities Rosemount Family Resource Center would add another building at the current site to bring the total space to 3,400 square feet. Graphic submitted

Residents encouraged to contact legislators on behalf of Resource Center

The city is Rosemount is looking for support from the Minnesota Legislature and local residents to help it fund an expansion of the 360 Communities Rosemount Family Resource Center.

The current center on 145th Street and Cimarron Avenue has long since outgrown the space that rests on city property and is used by the Burnsville-based nonprofit to deliver food shelf, homework help and other services to families in need in the community.

Companion bills authored by Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, and Rep. Anna Wills, R-Rosemount, are working their way through the Legislature that would provide half of the funding needed for the projected $900,000 project. If the bill were to pass, the city of Rosemount would fund the rest of the project.

The work would more than double the size of the current building, which is 1,500 square feet.

Currently the food shelf at the site is located in a closet. In many instances, food donations are stacked in the office, hallways and any other available space in the site. The overflow of goods isn’t an indication of having too much food.

Family Resource Center Director Natalie Schmidgall said the food donations move out fast and there’s always a need for more.

The goal of the new location is to provide a more efficient and effective method of collecting and distributing food. The new building, which would bring the total to 3,400 square feet, would include a room that would look like a grocery store shelf and allow clients to pick the kinds of food that best fit their family’s needs.

Schmidgall said that currently people don’t have a choice of what food they get since they are in pre-packed bags.

Sometimes a family finds that the food in the packs doesn’t fit their diet for one reason or another.

The new site would also include space for three refrigerators. The Family Resource Center, like many food shelves across the country, are trying to offer more fresh foods to clients since they know that healthy options are needed.

“We hope this will offer a more dignified experience,” Schmidgall said. “This will be better for clients and save us lot of money buying the foods that they need.”

As part of the project, the city would add diagonal parking stalls along Cimarron Avenue along with six more in the current parking lot.

The site plan shows the current building staying in place, a breezeway added linking it to the new building the south. The work would also include moving and extending the playground and basketball court.

“This is really exciting since our representatives are supportive of us,” said Dan Schultz, Rosemount Parks and Recreation director, who made a presentation about the project to local leaders last week.

“They know how important it is for our community,” he said. “They realize that is not just a Rosemount project. It is a good value for the region.”

Schmidgall has said in the past that many of the clients who come to the Rosemount location are from Apple Valley and other surrounding communities.

Schultz said he encouraged local residents who support the project to contact legislators from throughout the state to ask them to support the legislation.

More information about the bill and contacting legislators is at www.leg.state.mn.us.

More about 360 Communities is at 360Communities.org.

Contact Tad Johnson at tad.johnson@ecm-inc.com or at twitter.com/editorTJ.

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