Clemens Munsinger Gardens in Saint Cloud. . . and a Rant

I met my brother in Saint Cloud tonight for his birthday dinner since SC is halfway between our homes. I drove through campus since I haven’t really been there since graduating from college except for maybe one trivia marathon. Since we were so close to the Mississippi, I had to drive across the bridge and that led me to the Gardens. I hadn’t been there since first moving up north from Alabama almost 8 years ago. The gardens are really spectacular. Great for photohunting or a stroll with your significant other.

Walking through the gardens had me thinking about the WPA (which helped the gardens come to fruition) and how we could sure use the WPA now. During 1935 and 1943 the WPA was the country’s largest employer, providing more than 8 million jobs to people who also sometimes ended up learning a new skill as well as providing beauty, comfort, ease of transportation and necessity to people across the country.

With rumors in our town about one of if not the largest employer in the area closing its doors at the end of the year, I’m going into a mini panic mode. What will this do for the value of our house? With unemployment so high, will crime go up? Surely this in inevitable.  How will this effect my children’s school? Will there be increased behavioral issues? Malnourished kids crabby and as stressed-out as their parents?

I mentioned to my mom today the news story I read yesterday about Amazon announcing they now sell more kindle books than they do hardcover books. With panic my mom looked up. “What?!” She could hardly believe it. Then she predicted, “I bet we will see the end of the library in 10 years then.” Such a dark thought. I’m not sure if all libraries will end as we know them, but I can see them closing in city after city and then shipping the books to a “museum” of sorts for books. We need to be doing something to save our libraries now.

And while we are at it we can try to save a few trees as well as plant more through something such as a WPA. When I say “save trees” I’m not talking about printing unnecessary paperwork at one’s job, I’m talking about saving actual trees. Over the weekend, workers by our home cut down what in my estimate appears to be about 50 trees so they could widen a road. Yes, I realize the WPA also did a lot of road construction-type work but I consider it a design flaw if the city can’t figure out how to keep the trees that have been in place for hundreds of years. The look of the street in our town now is just awful. Sickening really. And even in this little conservative town, people are upset that the trees were removed. They realized the benefits the trees had along the street- the shade it provided to the homes along that street who will now have to use more energy to keep their homes as cool.

I didn’t really mean for this blog post to turn into a rant but I hate the feeling I get when I am in a place of beauty and then I drive a few blocks and am thrown back into the real world of strip malls, litter and treeless streets. Why is beauty only reserved for special places like parks- often places we must pay to visit (Munsinger is free btw)? Do people not care enough about their earth, country, state, city to make sure that wherever they look there are plenty of trees and/or foliage, minimal trash but most importantly to me, no abandoned buildings? Why we have empty shells of building lying around our town rotting away while new ones are being built is a mystery to me. There should be a law against it. Or at least a compromise. For every new building that goes up, they better be putting in a new (or investing in a current) park or giving my local library the support they need.

This was my sky on the way home from the gardens tonight. Can anyone honestly look at that and still want to throw their Taco Bell trash out their car window? How does this happen?

Asking for change,



  1. Lois Deragon
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I think I know where Chloe’s late night pissed-off at the world came from! The contrast between the beauty of this world and its ugliness will surely continue. It always has.

    The whole outrageous cutting down of 138 trees on old Hwy 22/Adams Street was an awakening. We knew they planned on doing some road work, but never investigated further to find that they intended to do clear cut the trees! We could have put our two-cents in, although it didn’t sound like that made much of a difference to the city planners.

    AND we never considered that the road work was going to bring heavy detoured traffic through our neighborhood for weeks! It really makes me appreciate the quietness we normally had.

  2. Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I do know people who went to city council and voiced their concern, but it got them nowhere. The people that live on that street had to pay $6,000 per household for that construction and then they chopped down their trees. I’m glad it didn’t happen to us otherwise Josh would probably be in jail right now for some type of civil disobedience!

  3. Kristie Britz
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    After many years of driving by the sign marking the gardens off of Hwy. 10, I finally decided to turn down that road and check it out. It was around 7:30 last night and I was alone. I was totally blown away at the awesome beauty and ‘free’!!! I will definetly bring my husband back there and stroll the pathways. Maybe even bring the grandkids!