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WELCOME

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.

ABOUT PARK WATCH

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Southwest LRT On Track for Final Approval

The following article by Dylan Thomas & Sarah McKenzie was published in the July 17, 2014 edition of the Southwest Journal.  The main text is given below.  To read the complete article, which includes sidebars and additional graphics, go to http://www.southwestjournal.com/sites/default/files/images/pdf/SWJ_071714_web.pdf

“A group of Kenilworth-area residents calling themselves the Lakes and Parks Alliance argues voting before the DEIS is completed violates state and federal laws, and is threatening to take legal action that could delay the project.”

SOUTHWEST LRT ON TRACK FOR FINAL APPROVAL

SWJ_graphic_Revised
Southwest Journal Graphic

A new agreement on Southwest Light Rail Transit negotiated between Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council eliminates one of two tunnels proposed for the Kenilworth Corridor and adds a 21st Street Station back into the plan. Continue reading

SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL GAINS CRITICAL BOOST

The following StarTribune editorial was published in the July 9, 2014 edition of the StarTribune.

A Park Watch Comment: Park Watch is disappointed that the editorial supports co-location in the Kenilworth corridor for SWLRT. Again, the economic argument for moving ahead with SWLRT is pitted against the environmental argument. According to a recent letter to the city from attorneys for the citizens’ organization The Lakes and Parks Alliance (and posted on Park Watch), the city is violating state laws governing the construction of light rail transit by approving SWLRT plans before the Environmental Impact Assessment is completed.

SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL GAINS CRITICAL BOOST

2013_10_07_Freight_re-route_image

By design, the Metropolitan Council prioritizes regional interests. City politics, conversely, are naturally more local, if not parochial. So it’s commendable that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and key City Council leaders thought regionally when they struck a deal with the Met Council to advance the proposed Southwest light-rail line (also called the Green Line Extension).

City officials failed in their politically expedient but unrealistic efforts to reroute freight rail out of the Kenilworth corridor. But they stayed open to compromise, and the result ultimately will benefit the city and the Twin Cities region.

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Community Advisory Committee Will Discuss Designs for Focus Areas and the Whole Park

Community Advisory Committee Will Discuss Designs for Focus Areas and the Whole Park

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is continuing its planning process for Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park with a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Tuesday, July 29, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Nokomis Community Center. This is the fourth of five planned CAC meetings this year.

The general public is welcome to attend and will have the opportunity to comment on the master plan.

At the July 29 meeting, the CAC will look at and discuss initial ideas for the Regional Park as a whole and for focus areas including the Nokomis main beach, the Hiawatha recreation area, and Cedar Avenue crossings. MPRB consultants will also provide a primer on water quality in Lakes Nokomis and Hiawatha.

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“THE YARD” — OR DOWNTOWN EAST PARK: A CAUTION FROM MINNEAPOLIS PARK HISTORY”

On July 6, 2014, David Smith, author of City of Parks: The Story of Minneapolis Parks, posted on his blog the following cautionary article about “The Yard.” citing previous Park Board disasters.

“THE YARD” — OR DOWNTOWN EAST PARK: A CAUTION FROM MINNEAPOLIS PARK HISTORY”

Here is the link to his article: www:http://minneapolisparkhistory.com/2014/07/06/the-yard-or-downtown-east-park-a-caution-from-minneapolis-park-history/

REQUEST FOR MANDATED ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR SWLRT

REQUEST FOR MANDATED ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR SWLRT

Park Watch has learned that on June 23, 2014, The Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis sent a letter to Mayor Hodges and Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson. According to state law, the environmental impact study must be completed before cities give their consent to SWLRT!

The letter, which is signed by attorneys Tom Johnson and Lewis Remele, concludes with this paragraph:

“Accordingly, the Lakes and Parks Alliance requests that the City require that the necessary environmental review be performed before the Metropolitan Council asks the City to consent to the preliminary plans. The decision to approve the plans before that review is complete would not only endanger the environment, but would also violate the state laws governing the construction of light rail transit.”

Click here to view the letter in its entirety.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
www.mplsparkwatch.org

Change to Agenda for July 16 MPRB Meeting

RE: MPRB 7/16 AGENDA

Park Watch has learned that there has been an alteration to the MPRB 7/16 agenda. See the following notice:

Resolution 2014-243 has been removed from the July 16 Regular agenda.

The resolution authorized the start of the 45 day public review and comment period to the Draft Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan. The Draft Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan was not ready and was not attached to the resolution. Resolution 2014-243 is targeted to appear on the August 6 Regular Board meeting agenda with the draft plan attached.

Resolution 2014-243 was as follows:

X. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

10.1 That the Board adopt Resolution 2014-243 captioned as follows:

Resolution 2014-243

Resolution Authorizing a Forty-Five (45) Day Public Review and Comment Period of the Draft Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan

John Goodrich
Executive Assistant/Office of the Superintendent
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

HOW MINNEAPOLIS ACCEPTED SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR LIGHT-RAIL DEAL

The following article by Pat Doyle was published in the on-line StarTribune on July 12, 2014.

HOW MINNEAPOLIS ACCEPTED SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR LIGHT-RAIL DEAL

Prodded by a mediator, Minneapolis officials agreed to the light-rail route with promises of money for improvements.

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Photo by Renee Jones Schneider

A view of the Kenilworth corridor neighborhood, where trains now run and where the Southwest light-rail line is proposed to also run in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis officials long insisted they wouldn’t stomach a light-rail line next to freight tracks in a part of the city popular with bicyclists, hikers and canoeists.

But with no palatable alternatives and time running out for action, they agreed to just that. The Southwest Corridor light-rail deal accepted this week by city negotiators and Mayor Betsy Hodges sacrifices the interests of a small and well-connected group of opponents for promises to make the line more accessible and appealing to other Minneapolis residents. The City Council is expected to vote on it in late August.

Final approval would keep the Southwest project, the most expensive transit venture in the Twin Cities at $1.6 billion, on track to win federal approval this fall to advance in competition for funding. The nearly 16-mile line would run from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

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