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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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Citizens call for Re-negotiation of DT East Park Agreement

Here is a link to a Press Release Calling for Re-Negotiation of the Commons Use Agreement relating to the Downtown East Park.  Also attached is a link to a letter from many concerned citizens which describes the complicated history of the agreements between the City, MPRB, and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

 PressRelease12-16-2014

December15_Citizens_letter

Park Board Plans to Vote Yes on a Deal That Would Give the Vikings Control of the Downtown East Park

The following letter urging people to contact Park Board Commissioners regarding the MOU was posted on the Issues List on December 10, 2014 by Elise Morton:

Park Board Plans to Vote Yes on a Deal That Would Give the Vikings Control of the Downtown East Park

The Minneapolis Park Board has been presented with the opportunity to approve or reject a deal that would in essence give ownership of the future Downtown East Park  (adjacent to the stadium) to the MSFA and the Vikings. As Brad Bourn, MN Park Commissioner from District 6, has pointed out, this proposal provides overwhelming benefits to billionaires at the expense of the community.

The Park Board currently has incredible leverage to make bird-safe glass be incorporated into the stadium. Having control of the Downtown East Park is critical to the MSFA and the Vikings. Unfortunately, the Board has indicated that they will approve this terrible agreement when they vote at their December 17th meeting. As such, it is imperative that everyone call his/her the MRPB Commissioner and tell him/her that this would be unacceptable. You can find your Commissioner here –

http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=36

We believe that we do not yet have the necessary support on the Park Board (4/9 votes) to reject this proposal, or 5, to approve an amendment for bird-safe glass. Therefore, we need people to come to the Dec. 17th meeting to make it clear that this decision is not supported by the public and that Commissioners will be held accountable come election time.

This meeting represents what is likely our LAST CHANCE to effect change with the stadium. This time however, instead of the deaf ears of the powerful and the wealthy (the MSFA and the Vikings), we have the ears of the MRPB Commissioners who are elected and have a vested interest in Minneapolis parks and in responding to our demands.

If people don’t call and don’t show, they will think it doesn’t matter and the proposal will be accepted. Please come if you can.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 17th, 5:00PM
WHERE: 2117 West River Road,
Minneapolis, MN 55411

You can visit the Facebook event page for details and updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/728162797277746/

Elise Morton
Longfellow

Letter to Commissioners Regarding Proposed Memorandum of Understanding and Lease

On December 15, 2014 a letter from a group of concerned Minneapolis citizens was sent to the MPRB Commissioners urging them to vote “no” on Wednesday against the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Park Board and the City.  Here is the link to that letter:

December15_ltr

Photo Rendering of Downtown East on Vikings game day

Here is the latest photo rendering from Ryan of what Minneapolis’ downtown “public” park will look like on Vikings game days with all of the Vikings’ contracted concession stands.   Think of ALL the $$$$ the Vikings get from each of these stands–and be reminded that the Vikings get to keep ALL of these $$$$.  The Park Board and taxpayers do not share these $$$$.  Yet the land is subsidized by the taxpayers.

The public can come to the MPRB meeting at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 17 at Park Board headquarters.  Open Time is at 5:30 PM.

2014_12_15_DT_East_image

Heads-Up for the December 17, 2014 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the December 17, 2014 Park Board Meeting

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  This will be the final MPRB meeting for 2014.

4:30 P.M. CLOSED COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING Discussion regarding Legal Strategy for Knox and Lagoon Discharge into Lake Calhoun

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”

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Approving the Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Between the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the Downtown East Commons

–Approving One-Year Contracts with Rice, Michels & Walther, LLP; Campo and Associates; Tom Workman; and Lockridge Grindal Nauen, P.L.L.P. for 2015 Lobbyist Services

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Wading Pool and Playground Improvements at Bethune Park in North Minneapolis

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Hi-View Park Playground Improvements

–2014 Lobbying Year End Update and Status Report

–Presentation of the Key Elements of the Draft Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan and its Community Engagement Process

–Report on Hennepin County Draft 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan

–Approving Extension and Amendment to Lease Agreement with SNP Enterprises to Operate the Tin Fish at the Lake Calhoun Concession Facility

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on December 17, 2014 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

Online Video of MOU Discussion–Not Shown on Cable

LINK TO MPRB’S 12/3/14 TELECAST OF DISCUSSION RE MOU BETWEEN MPRB AND THE CITY RE EAST COMMONS

Here is the link to the telecast of the MPRB discussing the MOU and Lease between the City and MPRB re the land now being called East Commons.   Most of the discussion came after the 9 pm cable cut off.
 
http://v.qwikcast.tv/view.aspx?q=D2HHC

Move the bubble bar at the bottom. The staff presentation and discussion begins at the 214 minute mark and runs to the 307 minute mark.

Ostrow Letter Urges Delay on MOU

The following letter was sent to MPRB Commissioners on December 3, 2014 by Paul Ostrow urging commissioners to delay their vote on the MOU.  Unfortunately, they did not do so:

DELAY MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING – DOWNTOWN EAST

I cannot adequately express my profound disappointment with the actions you plan on taking tonight.  I fear the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will now add its name to the dubious list of public entities that have betrayed the public trust as it relates to the new Vikings stadium and surrounding development.  I also fear that MPRB is repeating the beyond closed doors, too sensitive for the public philosophy in throwing this agreement on the agenda at the last minute.  This is not what any of you ran on when you faced the voters.

I have been busy all day fulfilling my professional responsibilities to my current employer.  I assume every other resident of Minneapolis has similarly had no ability to understand or be adequately informed as to the action you take tonight.  With all due respect, I have serious doubts that any of you fully understand the implications either.
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Background Sheet for Downtown East MOU

This is the Background Sheet prepared by Superintendent Jayne Miller for the City and MPRB MOU and Lease Agreement.  For copies of the MOU and a related document, see the links at the bottom of this post.

BACKGROUND

In December 2013 the City of Minneapolis approved the Downtown East Development. Included in the development project is a two block parcel with 1 full block and 2/3 of the second block designated a public park near the new Vikings Stadium with specified terms. An Urban Park Use Agreement was executed in February 2014 between Ryan Companies and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) based on the terms agreed to by the City of Minneapolis in December 2013.

The term of the agreement is for 30 years plus an additional 20 years for a total of 50 years and coincides with the Stadium Use Agreement between the Vikings and the MSFA. This public park is part of a 5 block mixed-use project that will include office space, a parking ramp, multi-family housing, retail space, skyway connections and a park/plaza/open space. Pursuant to a separate agreement, Ryan Companies has agreed to convey the portion of the development that is legally described as “Urban Park” to the City or to its designee, possibly the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB). The City has agreed to accept a conveyance of the Urban Park (or its designee to accept a conveyance of the Urban Park), subject to the use rights granted to MSFA and other terms and conditions set forth in the Urban Park Use Agreement.
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Resolution on Downtown East Park MOU

Here is the Resolution supporting the MOU that the MPRB Administration and Finance Committee passed 4 to 1 at the December 3, 2014 Park Board meeting.  The Resolution will go to the full board on December 17 and is expected to pass.  Unfortunately, it is being scheduled for approval with inadequate time for public understanding or input.

For copies of the MOU and a related document, see the links at the bottom of this post.  

MPRB RESOLUTION 2014-371

Resolution Approving the Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Between the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the Downtown East Commons

Whereas, The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) was created by the Minnesota Legislature in April 1883 and has the authority to manage and operate park facilities;

Whereas, The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) is the steward of Minneapolis parks;

Whereas, In December 2013 the City of Minneapolis approved the Downtown East Development which included a two block parcel with 1 full block and 2/3 of the second block designated a public park near the new Vikings Stadium with specified terms;
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MOU Between MPRB and the City Re East Commons

The following agenda item was added to the December 3, 2014 MPRB’s Administration and Finance Committee’ agenda after the  December 3 meeting agenda had been posted on November 26.  So Park Watch did not learn of its addition to the agenda until the day before the Wednesday Park Board meeting.  The resolution, which is certain to be controversial,  passed in committee 4 to 1 with Brad Bourne being the only commissioner to oppose it.  

Administration and Finance Committee

4.7 That the Board adopt Resolution 2014-371 captioned as follows:

Resolution 2014-371

Resolution Approving the Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Between the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the Downtown East Commons

V. STUDY/REPORT ITEM

VI. ADJOURNMENT