To the editor: 

Have you ever felt like you were witnessing a train wreck? I have.

It started last summer when I went to learn about the new Red Wing 2040 plan at a gathering on Jefferson School grounds. There were posters showing various neighborhoods. Each had images of ideas that could be implemented over the next 20 years. The goal: "To be the most healthy, vibrant town in the Midwest economically, socially, physically and mentally."

One site was the old St. John's Hospital. Many ideas were displayed with community input being encouraged - rowhouse townhomes, more greenspace, community gardens, a park, a school, single-family homes or some type of mixed-use plan. It was clear even then the majority was against a high-density housing complex.

"The Red Wing 2040 community plan professes to be for and by the people who live and work here." I left feeling hopeful about our town and individuals having a voice in the change to come.

As spring approached, the next thing I knew, an out-of-town developer had been selected by Mayo (building owner) to repurpose St. John's into high-density housing. No mention of other 2040 ideas or "community voices." Mayo officials simply stated no other offers have come forward. More likely, they grabbed the first deal to make the quickest get-away.

The majority of homeowners in this neighborhood have questioned this project for months. They repeatedly ask about traffic impact, pedestrian safety, home values, etc. No one has answered their concerns.

Even Red Wing Advisory Planning Commission's specific questions about density, safety, snow removal, parking, etc., have not been answered.

How could the commission and council have voted 5-2 to move this forward? Whatever happened to the 2040 plan of making "Red Wing the healthiest vibrant town in the Midwest"? What happened to the promise to "listen to the community"?

A train wreck is about to forever change a healthy, vibrant neighborhood due to the careless and dismissive actions by people that should know and do better. Mayo Clinic, Red Wing City Council, Red Wing Planning Commission, 2040 planners, this train wreck is on you.

Anne Christenson

Red Wing