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Welcome to the new Park Watch website.  We hope that you will find the new format easier to read and to use. To facilitate navigating the website, there is a search feature and an index of topics.

In addition to the current postings, the new website includes ALL the postings from the old website beginning with January 2004.  With ten years of postings, the Park Watch website  presents a valuable perspective on a critical period in the Park Board’s history.


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Lakes and Parks Alliance’s Lawsuit to Continue

Lakes and Parks Alliance’s Lawsuit to Continue

The following item is a statement from the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis.

We are Pressing Ahead with our Lawsuit!!

Following a conference early next month with Magistrate Judge Rau who will oversee discovery, a trial schedule will be set.

We anticipate that discovery in advance of a trial date will provide more evidence of the Met Council’s illegal behavior, evidence that will confirm our allegations and support a renewed summary judgment motion.

While elected officials are neglecting our natural assets, we are doing everything we can to protect our treasured lakes and parks.

Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis

Board of Directors


Link to Summary Judgment

Tunheim Denies Summary Judgment, Does Not End Case!

SWLRT: Urban Flight, Sprawl, and Rail Transit

SWLRT: Urban Flight, Sprawl, and Rail Transit

Please see the attached excerpt of Cathy Deikman’s recent article discussing the anti-Minneapolis SWLRT plan from the August 21, 2015 issue of the Hill & Lake Press. Note that Deikman’s well documented piece speaks about the human costs. The article makes clear the bias toward white suburban residents by the overwhelmingly white suburban elected Hennepin County Commission and appointed Metropolitan Council members. Note: Cathy Deikman is a CIDNA resident

The environmental catastrophe to the Chain of Lakes and Kenilworth bike trail with the proposed SWLRT has been the subject of much other discussion.
–Susu Jeffrey


SWLRT Sprawl article by Cathy Deikman


Motions to Intervene on Crown Hydro License Amendment Application

The following item is courtesy of Doug Verdier:

Motions to Intervene on Crown Hydro License Amendment Application

Both Symphony Hydro LLC and Minneapolis Leased Housing Associates IV, LP (A-Mill hydro project) have filed with FERC motions to intervene regarding Crown Hydro’s proposed license amendment.

Symphony Hydro is the proposal to install turbines inside the lock chamber now that the lock has been closed for navigation. FERC denied Symphony’s preliminary permit application on Feb. 5, 2015. This denial was supposed to have been “final agency action.” In Symphony’s motion to intervene regarding Crown Hydro’s application, they note that they hold a preliminary permit. I have not seen any correspondence between Symphony and FERC that would indicate that a preliminary permit has been issued by FERC, although a Star Tribune article on March 27, 2015 indicated that they had reapplied. I have likewise not seen anything regarding a new application.

Deadline for individual comments regarding Crown’s proposal to amend their license is Aug. 29. To expedite your comments via email, go to www.http://millcitytimes.com/crownhydro . It takes about 5 minutes to submit a comment on-line to FERC.

Copies of the two motions to intervene are linked below:

A-MillmotiontointerveneRECrownHydro   SymphonyHydromotiontointerveneonCrownHydro

Downtown East Commons Concept Design Approval and Implementation on August 25, 2015 Agenda

Downtown East Commons Concept Design Approval and Implementation on August 25, 2015 Agenda

The Downtown East Commons Concept Design Approval and Implementation is on the Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee Agenda for August 25, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.  Click on the link for the complete agenda.

Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee Agenda

Standing Committee of the City Council, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Regular Meeting
August 25, 2015 – 1:30 p.m.
Room 317, City Hall


Judge Denies Quick Ruling in SWLRT Lawsuit

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published in the August 5, 2015 issue of the Southwest Journal.

Judge Denies Quick Ruling in SWLRT Lawsuit

Judge Tunheim’s order expresses concerns about Met Council process

File photo

While expressing concern that the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project’s momentum could
make an ongoing environmental review essentially “meaningless,” a federal judge on Tuesday
denied a motion for a quick ruling in one of the lawsuits against the Metropolitan Council over project.

Last fall, Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis went to federal court to stop the project, arguing in a lawsuit that Met Council violated state and federal environmental rules by getting local approvals for SWLRT before completing a full environmental review for the transit project.

U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim found Met Council was abiding by state municipal consent laws, but wrote in his order that the agency was “dangerously close to impermissibly prejudicing the ongoing environmental review process.”
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Who Will Save the People’s Park?

The following article by Cory Zurowski was published in the August 20, 2015 on-line edition of City Pages.  To read the original, go to http://www.citypages.com/news/who-will-save-the-peoples-park-7577299

Who Will Save the People’s Park?

Photo by Timothy Krause


Is Joe Public still sleeping on the raw deal that is The Commons park?

Have you taken a gander at the concept drawings for The Commons? It’s the 4.2-acre in-the-works downtown Minneapolis park going in across from the new Vikings stadium.

The place looks sweet: http://www.downtowneastcommonsmpls.com/?page_id=22

At the time of the unveiling earlier this year, Minneapolis Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents development hotbeds like the North Loop and east of the river, said he envisioned the greenery to function as “the ‘kitchen table’ for our city — a place of congregation, activity.”

Those words probably came out easily for Frey. He’s one of the beautiful people: https://www.flickr.com/photos/millcitytimes/8426295001 The 33-year-old Villanova-educated lawyer is Crossfit buff with an Aveda model coiffure and a Bill Clinton-like affability that screams of loftier ambitions. He’ll have a seat at the table.

As for taxpayers who are getting stuck with the tab to purchase the land, and most likely improvement and maintenance bills for decades to come, they might be left with table scraps. Continue reading

Help plan for improvements to Lakes Calhoun & Harriet

The following press release has been issued by the MPRB.

Help plan for improvements to Lakes Calhoun & Harriet

lake calhoun beach

A series of public meetings and open houses are scheduled through October of 2015, including two next week, as part of a process to create a 25-year plan for Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. In 2016, more than $3 million in improvements will be made to the area.

Click on the project page link below to learn more about the project, meeting times and open house dates, as well as to subscribe to receive future email updates on this project.

The topics covered at next week’s public meeting and open house will be History and Cultural Resources, Events and Enterprise, and Recreation. The Open House will also include information about the topics covered in last week’s public meeting: Natural Resources and Water Quality and Multi-modal Circulation and Access.

visit project page button


Deborah Bartels, Project Manager
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6438

Email: dbartels@minneapolisparks.org

Heads-Up for the August 19, 2015 Park Board Meeting

4:30 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION for discussion Regarding Proposed Workers Compensation Settlements

5:00 P.M.  REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.  Visitors to Park Board meetings can find at the back of the meeting room the agenda book with all the printed materials for the meeting

5:30 P.M.  OPEN TIME. Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time”

–Meadowbrook Golf Course Public Hearing

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Approving the Schematic Design for the Wirth Park Adventure and Welcome Center and Authorizing Staff to Initiate Detailed Design and Construction Documents

–Awarding a Contract to Trail Source, LLC in the Amount of $51,817.50 for the Brownie Lake Natural Surface Trail Construction Project at Brownie Lake Park, O.P. No. 8128, Contingent on the Federal Recreational Trail Program Grant Contract Execution, and Authorizing Administrative Use of a Construction Contingency Up to $1,000.00 for Necessary Construction Change Orders that May Arise During Construction

–Amending Professional Services Agreement #C-38636 with Oslund and Associates Related to Additional Design Services for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Reconstruction and Cowles Conservatory Renovation Project in the Amount of $168,368 for a New Contract Total of $968,320

–Receiving and Filing the Financial Status Report of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as of the Second Quarter, 2015 and File Said Report as a Permanent Record with the Secretary of the Board

–Directing Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Staff, Working in Conjunction with General Counsel, to Prepare and Submit Comments on the Crown Hydro, LLC Amended License Application and File a Complaint Under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rules Over the Manner in Which Crown Hydro, LLC’s Amended License Application Has Been Processed, and Directing the President of the Board and Secretary to the Board to Transmit This Resolution to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation, the Minneapolis City Council, and Minneapolis Legislators

–2016-2021 Capital Improvement Program Work Session #2

–Municipal Consent Plan Review for Southwest Light Rail Transit Project

–Authorizing the Superintendent to Accept a Donation of $75,000 from the Twins Community Fund for the RBI Baseball and Softball Program

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Community Advisory Committee Recommendation and Approving Concept ‘B’ for Meadowbrook Golf Course and Authorizing Staff to Seek a Commercial Mortgage to Support Improvements at Meadowbrook Golf Course and Return to the Board with Detailed Financial Projections Demonstrating Debt Service for the Mortgage Can be Accommodated Prior to Executing the Mortgage

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on August 19, 2015 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx .  Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on this web page two business days prior to meetings. Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the same web page two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the previous two months.

Also of interest and now available to the commissioners and the public are the monthly reports that Superintendent Miller has initiated for construction permits and for Planning Department projects. The availability of these reports is one of the important changes instituted by Superintendent Miller. They are normally in the agenda packet for the first regular meeting of the month.

View Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast Cable. You may also view live meetings online on the Channel 79 webpage: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79

Regular meetings are typically re-telecast on Channel 79 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 5 p.m. Telecast schedules are subject to change.

The Park Board’s website is www.minneapolisparks.org   The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

$15M Needed for Park Features

The following article by Kristen Leigh Painter was published in the August 14, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.

$15M Needed for Park Features

Wells Fargo, Ryan and the city have given $7 million for amenities at park near stadium.

The campaign to make the new Commons park in downtown Minneapolis a destination instead of a plot of grass has raised about one-third of its $22 million budget, organizers said Thursday in hopes of pressing more donors to step up.

In a news conference on the two-block site, as participants struggled to be heard over the bellows of nearby construction and excavation machinery, leaders from Wells Fargo & Co., Ryan Cos. and the city said they’ve collectively pledged $7 million.

The city has spent about $19 million to buy the land for the park, previously owned by the Star Tribune, and cover the cost of demolishing the newspaper’s former headquarters. The Minnesota Vikings, principal tenant of the nearby U.S. Bank Stadium that is being built adjacent to the park, contributed $1 million for that.

Those funds were enough to create a basic park. Now, a coalition of public and private leaders are trying to raise $22 million to create features such as a contoured “great lawn,” a water “cloud” and seating and eating areas.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune


Fundraising Committee Members

Collin Barr, Ryan Cos.

Joel Conner, Bellisio Foods

Jay Cowles, Unity Avenue Associates

Steve Cramer, Minneapolis Downtown Council

Richard Davis, U.S. Bank

Jacob Frey, Minneapolis City Council

Tom Hoch, Hennepin Theatre Trust

Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis mayor

Deb Hopp, MSP Communications

David Kvamme, Wells Fargo

Allen Lenzmeier

Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes

Dean Phillips, Phillips Distilling, Talenti Gelato

Pat Ryan, Ryan Cos.

David Wilson, Accenture