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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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Heads-Up for the Park Board’s July 27, 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting

6:30 P.M.  The meeting, which is not a regular meeting, will be held at Bottineau Recreation Center, 2000 Second Street NE.   It is open to the public.  The subject for this meeting is “Our Parks.”

Facilitators from New Publica will lead a discussion allowing for specific input from community members regarding parks, the Park Board’s current efforts to achieve racial equity, and community suggestions for improvements and expansion of this significant work.  That discussion is the only item on the agenda.

Board meeting agendas and related information are posted at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx two business days prior to meetings.  Regular meetings are telecast.  This one will not be telecast, but there will be an audio recording for the record.

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

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Online Rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 Meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin

Online Rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 Meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin
Because of the recess called at the last Park Board meeting in response to the chaos (loud shouting and yelling by a number of the public who had come to the meeting to criticize the Park Board and do not respect meeting protocol), the rebroadcast has an extended pause which is confusing to viewers who were not present at the meeting.

For those wishing to watch the meeting, here is the online rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin.

The online version is up in its entirety at: http://v.qwikcast.tv/view.aspx?q=K31M7  There is a ~6.5 minute recess.  All that is seen on the screen during this time is the “meeting splash page.” After the recess, the meeting and the rebroadcast continues.  Shortly after Open Time, most of the individuals who were responsible for the chaos leave.


Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

The following article by Janet Moore was published in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.

Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

But planners still need $135 million for the project.

Backers of the proposed Southwest light-rail line were nearly giddy Thursday after announcing that the federal government had granted the controversial $1.84 billion project a green light that moves it closer to construction.

“We’re not breaking out the champagne yet, but this is still outstanding news,” said Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the builder and ultimate operator of the 14.5-mile line slated to link downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie.

The announcement, considered a key milestone in transit planning, was made at a Southwest Corridor Management Committee meeting, an advisory group.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified the Met Council last Friday that it had granted the project a “record of decision,” meaning environmental work has been completed on the line.

Such a decision is typically followed by the engineering phase, when bids are let for construction of track, stations and other infrastructure.

There’s still the not-so small matter of the missing $135 million in local funding — money that was supposed to come from state coffers.

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

Southwest LRT clears milestone but still faces funding shortage

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Lead Park Board

The following article by Eric Best dated July 21, 2016 was published in the Southwest Journal.

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Lead Park Board

Following some intense months, Anita Tabb will preside over the board.

Park commissioners chose new leadership Wednesday following the resignations of its top elected officials.

Commissioners elected Anita Tabb president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Wednesday. Commissioner John Erwin, a former board president, was selected to be vice president.

Commissioners Liz Wielinski and Scott Vreeland submitted letters last Friday resigning from the nine-member board’s president and vice president positions, respectively, though the two maintain their board seats.

Commissioners voted 7-1 in each instance. Interruptions from audience members who called for public input on the leadership selections temporarily derailed the meeting, causing a short recess.


The elections follow several intense months for the board. Earlier this year, the board, under Wielinski’s leadership, secured a long-term funding plan — known as the 20 Year Neighborhood Parks Plan— for maintaining neighborhood parks, praised by commissioners and their peers on the City Council as a historic agreement between the traditionally distant governing bodies. Commissioners recently approved racial and economic equity criteria to guide the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments into the system. They’ve also maintained the honor of the country’s top park system.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Southwest Journal.

Tabb Takes Park Board Reins Following Wielinski Resignation

The following article by CIDNA (Cedar, Isles, Dean Neighborhood Association) resident MIchael Wilson was written for the July 2016 issue of the Hill and Lake Press.


Tabb Takes Park Board Reins Following Wielinski Resignation

Anita Tabb, Fourth District Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioner and Lowry Hill resident, was elected on Wednesday, July 20, to serve for the remainder of 2016 as board president following the resignation of Liz Wielinski from the post. Wielinski was in the middle of her third one-year term as board president.

Wielinski and board vice-president Scott Vreeland both both submitted letters on July 15 indicating their intention to resign their positions. Vreeland indicated in his letter that he did not wish to move into the board president position at this time.

Tabb’s name was the only one placed in nomination for the board’s top leadership position during a stormy start to the board’s regular third-Wednesday meeting. John Erwin, who served four terms as president from 2010 to 2013, was nominated to become vice-president for the balance of 2016. Brad Bourn nominated himself. Erwin was elected on a 7-1 vote, with Bourn voting for himself. Tabb was likewise elected on a 7-1 vote, with Bourn in opposition. Commissioner Annie Young was absent.

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Tabb, Erwin Elected to Park Board Leadership

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the July 20, 2016 on-line edition of the Star Tribune.

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Park Board Leadership

Election follows chaotic start to meeting over public input on selection. 

Anita Tabb will preside over the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the rest of 2016, backstopped by former board president John Erwin as vice president.

Tabb and Erwin were selected on Wednesday by colleagues on the board to fill a leadership void created last Friday when Liz Wielinski said she was resigning as board president, and vice president Scott Vreeland said he’d follow suit.

To continue reading click on the link to the Star Tribune

Park Board President, Vice President Resign

Ensuring Racial Equity: Our Parks Invitation Letter

Ensuring Racial Equity: Our Parks Invitation Letter


Here is a copy of the Our Parks Invitation Letter that was sent out from Park Board President Liz Wielinski and Superintendent Jayne Miller to various groups to participate in a series of meetings and community dialogues to ensure racial equity and equitable investments in the MPRB system.

May 17, 2016

Dear —–,

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has been working to address racial equity and equitable investments in the park system, and to have a fair and equitable workforce that represents Minneapolis. While we believe we have made progress in the last five years, we acknowledge there is still much work to do.

In our efforts, we have reached out to and worked with many groups and community members. We need to continue and expand this outreach to ensure we communicate the progress and work that have been done to date. We especially want to hear and learn from those who can help us ensure that our programs, facilities and services are accessible and meet the needs of all Minneapolis residents.

We are hoping you can join us to continue this important work by participating in Our Parks series of meetings and community dialogues. During these we will share background information and initiatives; as well as discuss your feedback and suggestions for continued improvements. We anticipate these meetings will begin in early July. Many of these dialogues will be held in parks throughout the city, we are open to co-host a meeting at your location. Please indicate your interest in participating by contacting John Goodrich at jgoodrich@minneapolisparks.org or 612-230-6404.

Enclosed is a list of others who are being invited to join us in this effort. If we have missed someone and you have suggestions for others we should reach out to, please let us know.

We hope you will join us to discuss Our Parks. We want the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to be the best park system it can be for everyone.


Liz Wielinski, President

Jayne Miller, Superintendent

Cc: MPRB Commissioners

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board president and vice president resign

The following article by Mark Reilly was published in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal on July 18, 2016.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board president and vice president resign

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski is stepping down from her position, and her designated successor. Scott Vreeland, is quitting his post as well.

View full article

A Thank You to MPRB President Liz Wielinski and Vice President Scott Vreeland

The following item was posted on the Minneapolis Issues Forum by Connie Sullivan on July 16, 2016.


A Thank You to MPRB President Liz Wielinski and Vice President Scott Vreeland

I just wanted to take this chance to express my appreciation for the
admirable work done in their leadership positions on the Park Board by
President Liz Wielinski and Vice President Scott Vreeland.

Both stepped down yesterday from their  offices, although not from the Park
Board, under repeated and nasty attacks (unjustified, in my opinion) from
the current head of the Minneapolis NAACP and demonstrators she brought
with her to disrupt Park Board meetings.

It’s hard for people to remember what the Park Board used to be, just a few
years ago, and how constructively these two Commissioners and other new-ish
Commissioners have worked to rid the Parks and Recreation world in
Minneapolis from the kind of malfunction that so terribly is mis-running
our schools. They’ve been improving our parks system and administration,
where once everybody said it couldn’t be.

Thanks for your leadership, Liz and Scott! There are people out here who
have noticed your good work and feel really bad that you both find it
necessary to step down.

Connie Sullivan
Como, in Southeast Minneapolis