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UMN designs promote Preston’s National Trout Center

Mon, May 7th, 2012
Posted in Preston All

Preliminary architectural designs of a proposed permanent home for the National Trout Center in Preston were presented to legislators last month and earned inclusion in the Senate’s current bonding bill for $1M. The designs were made possible through collaboration with the University of Minnesota Southeast Regional Partnership, which connected the UMN Center for Rural Design to the project and provided a grant to cover costs for its professional design work.

The National Trout Center (NTC), created in 2009 in Preston - “The Trout Capital of Minnesota” - has operated an environmental learning center for the past two years from a temporary address in downtown Preston. The NTC’s mission is to “conserve our natural and cultural heritage of trout and their cold water environments by engaging the public through education, practice and awareness.”

The architectural renderings of the proposed NTC building, exhibit areas, classrooms, flowing-stream aquarium, community center, landscape and other special features, will be valuable in presentations to prospective philanthropic contributors and for a future capital campaign. The proposed site is on the Root River flowing through Preston.

NTC Board Chair, Dr. George Spangler, UMN Professor Emeritus, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, explained, “When we presented to the Senate Capital Investment Committee, we emphasized the economic value of cold water fisheries to the region: $1.1 B per year to local communities in the four-state driftless area. This represents a 25-to-1 return on every dollar spent on stream restoration.”

“The designs were key in securing the Senators’ interest in this project,” said Joe Hoffman, Preston City Administrator. “I have no doubt that the visuals played a critical role. Their eyes lit up when we brought out the boards.”

“We were delighted that the University of Minnesota could turn this around so quickly,” added Dr. Spangler.

The Southeast Regional Partnership, also known as the Experiment in Rural Cooperation, is led by a Citizen/University board that links University of Minnesota resources with community-identified projects in local foods, sustainable agriculture, natural resources, rural community development, renewable energy, and tourism.

The Center for Rural Design (CRD) is an award winning, multi-disciplinary research studio that empowers communities to find innovative solutions to problems in rural areas in Minnesota, the Midwest, and globally.

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