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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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Good News on City Parks and Population Growth

The following Star Tribune editorial was published in the May 22, 2015 Star Tribune.

Good News on City Parks and Population Growth

Minneapolis, St. Paul have the nation’s best parks and are growing again

This week’s announcements about population growth and parks in Minneapolis and St. Paul seemed twinned. But actually the news of the central cities’ increasing population, and that they have the nation’s best park systems, was separate. And yet there seems to be a correlation — and maybe even causation — between the two.

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

Millions in Cuts Proposed for Southwest LRT Line

The following article by Janet Moore was published in the May 21, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune.

Millions in Cuts Proposed for Southwest LRT Line

 

Metro Transit staff dug deep and presented a list of more than $500 million in possible cuts to the proposed Southwest light-rail line on Wednesday, part of an effort to curb escalating costs that have put the $2 billion transit project at risk.

No decisions were made at the meeting of the Southwest Corridor Management Committee, a group of officials with ties to the five cities along the 16-mile light-rail line linking Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. A final plan for trimming $341 million from the project’s burgeoning bottom line will likely come by early July, when the Metropolitan Council is slated to approve a new slimmed-down budget.

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

http://www.startribune.com/500m-in-cuts-proposed-for-southwest-lrt-line/304445241/

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Tie for First Place on The Trust for Public Land’s 2015 ParkScore® Index

The following press release was issued on May 20, 2015 by the MPRB.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Tie for First Place on The Trust for Public Land’s 2015 ParkScore® Index

 Twin Cities Share Prestigious Title as Nation’s Best Park System,
Edging Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Portland

Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN – In a historic finish, the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul tied for first place on The Trust for Public Land’s 4th annual ParkScore® index, with each city earning a perfect 5 “park bench” rating from the nonprofit organization. Saint Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski will join Trust for Public Land officials to commemorate this historic achievement at Minneapolis’ East River Parkway at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Saint Paul was included in the ParkScore rankings for the first time in 2015, as the index expanded from the 60 largest cities in the United States to the 75 largest (Saint Paul is the 66th largest city in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau). Minneapolis is ParkScore’s defending champion and retained its title for the third consecutive year. Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Portland rounded out the top six.

“We’re thrilled our park systems are getting the recognition they deserve. But we can’t rest on our laurels. As our cities grow and draw families to new and redeveloping neighborhoods, our park systems must evolve. At The Trust for Public Land, we’re working especially hard to increase safe and vibrant park space in underserved neighborhoods throughout both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, along key opportunity corridors where investment is occurring, in both cities’ downtowns, and along the world class Mississippi riverfront for all of us to forever enjoy. That’s what it will take to stay number one into the future,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota Director of The Trust for Public Land.
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Public Hearings Scheduled for Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft EIS

Public Hearings Scheduled for Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft EIS

The following is a schedule for the SWLRT June Public Hearings.

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Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft EIS Available for Public Review and Comment


The Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) (METRO Green Line Extension) Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for review and comment. An electronic version of the document can be found at http://metrocouncil.org/swlrt/sdeis. Hard copies of the document are available at the local libraries and city halls along the alignment, listed below, as well as at the Southwest LRT Project Office.

The Southwest LRT Project is an approximately 16 mile proposed extension of the METRO Green Line (Central Corridor LRT) that would operate from downtown Minneapolis through the communities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, passing in close proximity to Edina.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is the federal lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Metropolitan Council (Council) is the state lead agency under the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act for development of the Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft EIS. The Supplemental Draft EIS is needed because the FTA and Council determined that design adjustments made to the project following publication of the Draft EIS in October 2012 needed to be evaluated for environmental impacts that have the potential to result in new adverse impacts.

To request  a CD of the document, contact Nani Jacobson, Southwest LRT Assistant Director for Environmental and Agreements, Metropolitan Council, at nani.jacobson@metrotransit.org.

The Notice of Availability appeared in the Federal Register on May 22 and comments will be accepted through July 6, 2015.   Comments can be submitted by three methods:

  • U.S. Mail: Written comments can be mailed to

Nani Jacobson

Assistant Director, Environmental and Agreements

Metro Transit – Southwest LRT Project Office

6465 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 500

St. Louis Park, MN 55426

  • Public Hearings:

Formal testimony at one of three public hearings in June. The public hearings will each be preceded by an open house, where people can learn more about the Southwest LRT Project and the Supplemental Draft EIS.

The Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft EIS open houses and public hearings will take place as follows:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hopkins Center for the Arts,1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343

Open House: 5:00 PM Public Hearing: 6:00 PM

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eden Prairie City Hall, 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Open House: 5:00 PM Public Hearing: 6:00 PM

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dunwoody College of Technology, 818 Dunwoody Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Open House: 5:00 PM Public Hearing: 6:00 PM

The Supplemental Draft EIS is available for viewing at the following locations:

Eden Prairie City Hall: 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Eden Prairie Public Library: 565 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Minnetonka City Hall: 14600 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Minnetonka Public Library: 17524 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Hopkins City Hall: 1010 First Street South, Hopkins, MN 55343

Hopkins Public Library: 22 Eleventh Avenue North, Hopkins, MN 55343

Edina City Hall: 4801 West 50th Street, Edina, MN 55424

St. Louis Park City Hall: 5005 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

St. Louis Park Public Library: 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park, MN 55426

Southwest LRT Project Office: 6465 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 500, St. Louis Park, MN 55426

Minneapolis City Hall: City Engineer’s Office, 350 South Fifth Street, Room 203, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Minneapolis Central Library: 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN

Walker Public Library: 2880 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Linden Hills Public Library: 2900 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410

Sumner Public Library: 611 Van White Memorial Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55411

Franklin Public Library: 1314 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Metropolitan Council Library: 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101

Minnesota Department of Transportation Library: 395 John Ireland Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library: 645 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155

Translation services for non-English speakers and ADA accommodations will be provided on request. To request translation or ADA accommodations, please contact Dan Pfeiffer, Southwest LRT Assistant Public Involvement Manager, at 612-373-3897 orDaniel.pfeiffer@metrotransit.org at least five days prior to the hearing.

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Key Environmental Review of $2B Southwest LRT Project Released

The following report was aired on KSTP TV on May 22, 2015.

Key Environmental Review of $2B Southwest LRT Project Released

Concerns over cost are shifting to environmental worries for the nearly $2 billion dollar Southwest Light Rail project.

On Thursday, a much-anticipated review of recent changes to the project’s design found potential problems — but nothing that looks likely to hold the project back.

To continue reading and access the video, click on the following link.  It takes a couple
of minutes to connect.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S3804074.shtml

Greening Downtown Minneapolis Names Director to Raise Money for The Commons Park Near Vikings Stadium

The following article by Kristen Leigh Painter was published in the May 15, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune.

Greening Downtown Minneapolis Names Director to Raise Money for The Commons Park Near Vikings Stadium

 

The Minneapolis Downtown Council has named its first executive director of Greening Downtown Minneapolis, a newly created entity charged with raising the money needed to create The Commons, a 4.2-acre park planned near the new Vikings stadium.

By naming Winthrop (Win) Rockwell, a partner at the Minneapolis heavyweight law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels to the role, the Downtown Council has taken its first tangible step in spearheading fundraising efforts for the estimated $20 million needed to create an ambitious park design.

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

http://www.startribune.com/director-named-to-raise-money-for-commons-park-near-vikings-stadium/303519681/

Heads-Up for the May 20, 2015 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the May 20, 2015 Park Board Meeting

4:30 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION
–Discussion of proposed contract dispute settlement agreement with CM Construction

4:45 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION
–Discussion regarding Lake & Knox LLC settlement

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”

6:30 P.M.  PUBLIC HEARING

–Public Hearing Accepting the Non-Appointed CAC Recommendations for Trail Improvements Along William Berry Parkway
–Public Hearing for Bossen Field Park Master Plan

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Accepting the Recommendation from the Non-Appointed Community Advisory Committee and Approving the Concept Plan for Trail Improvements Along William Berry Parkway

–Accepting the Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving the Concept Bossen Field Park Master Plan and Phasing Plans

–City Wide Survey Presentation, Morris Leatherman Company

–Approving Settlement Agreement with CM Construction, Inc. for Contract Dispute

–Approving the Negotiated Full, Final and Complete Settlement with Lake and Knox LLC Discussed at a Closed Session on May 20, 2015

–Approving a Professional Services Agreement with Revolutionary Sports to Provide Sports Specific Instructional Programming in Recreation Centers for 80 Percent of Gross Revenues, Up to $280,000, for the Period of June 15, 2015 to December 31, 2016

–Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Perkins+Will to Provide Design and Planning Consulting for the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Master Plan Project Up to the Amount of $249,000.00 for the Period of May 21, 2015 to December 31, 2016

–Accepting and Approving the Updated Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Financial Management Policies

–Bridges at Kenilworth Channel

–Community Engagement for Closing the Gap, RecQuest and Service Area Master Plans

–Staff Strategy and Response to Demonstrations, Protests and Disturbances

–2016 State Bonding Request

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on May 20, 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
www.mplsparkwatch.org

A New Parking Fee on Downtown Ramps and Lots?

The following article by Tim Harlow was published in the April 21, 2015 issue of the StarTribune.

A New Parking Fee on Downtown Ramps and Lots?

It’s far from being a done deal, but a provision in the state Senate’s
omnibus transportation bill would allow the cities of Minneapolis and
St. Paul impose a parking facility fee on ramps and lots in the
downtown areas.

The fee to be set and collected by the cities could be uniform
throughout the defined area, or could vary based on zoning, location
or “other factors determined by the city,” according to a section of
Senate File 2098.

To continue reading, click on the link to the StarTribune article.