Monthly Archives: December 2004

Star Tribune Obituary: Walter Carpenter, former Minneapolis Park Board president

Walter Schenck Carpenter, a vigorous opponent of encroachment on recreational lands who helped Minneapolis save its elms from Dutch elm disease three decades ago, died Dec. 21 at his Minneapolis home. He was 80.

Elected to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in 1965, Carpenter championed court battles to stop highway construction through city parks.

“The park system of Minneapolis for too long has been used as a conventional route for the highway planners,” he wrote in a 1967 newspaper commentary opposing losing 21 acres of Minnehaha Park to an expansion of Hwy. 55.

“We must resist the continuing efforts and emphasis on only the economic worth of our lands and reach a new era when recognition is given to the social values which contribute to human enrichment,” Carpenter wrote.

The board lost its case in a Minnesota Supreme Court decision that backed the Highway Department. About the time the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the board’s appeal in 1970, the board and the Highway Department were coming to an agreement about alternate routes.

Carpenter became president of the board in 1967, and pushed through a suspension of the rules to restructure the board ahead of 1969, when a reorganizational charter amendment would take effect. He had written the amendment “to reduce the size of the 18-member board — totally unwieldy,” said his wife, Elsa. The amendment, approved by city voters, called for a nine-member board. He left the board in 1971 after four years as its president.

A graduate of Washburn High School and the University of Minnesota, Carpenter owned several landscape-related businesses over the years. In 1994 he was elected to the hall of fame of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association for urging an aggressive program in Minneapolis of trimming, removing and feeding parkway elms in the face of the devastating sweep of Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s and early 1970s. “As a result of his efforts, Minneapolis still retains thousands of elms,” the association newsletter said in 1994.

In addition to his wife, Elsa, survivors include a daughter, Ann Carpenter Kay of Minnetonka; sons Matthew of Eden Prairie, Scott of St. Louis Park and Judd of Minnetonka, and nine grandchildren.

Services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Av. S., Minneapolis.

Trudi Hahn, Star Tribune, December 30, 2004

Staff writer Mike Meyers contributed to this article.

Trudi Hahn is at thahn@startribune.com.

Link: Jason Stone for Minneapolis Park Board, District 5

Honest, Open, Accessible Leadership for Our Parks

Welcome! My name is Jason Stone and I’m running for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, District 5.

As Park Board Commissioner and steward of our nationally recognized park system, I will strive to:

* Conduct park business fairly and openly.
* Maintain current service levels by focusing energy on controlling costs and finding efficiencies.
* Tackle tough environmental issues at a systemic level.
* Provide diverse opportunities to learn and play.
* Keep the parks safe.
* Continuously engage neighborhoods.
* Connect green spaces.

The next several years will be challenging. The Park Board will need to apply considerable energy and creativity to maintain service levels while coping with looming budget shortfalls. I will bring energy and a spirit of collaboration to the process.

Please e-mail or call me at any time. I would appreciate your support!

Jason Stone
jason@jasonforparks.com
(612) 824-2122
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Link: Annie Young for Minneapolis Park Board, At Large

Why should I vote for you…
Why should you be returned to the Park Board?

I want to be part of a new team on the Board that will insure that citizen participation, the environment, living wages for workers, sustainable development and ethics are restored and carried forward in the next term.
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Skyway News: More Private Restaurants in Parks

Spurred by declining tax dollars and the success of Lake Calhoun’s Tin Fish restaurant, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is considering developing a restaurant in Loring Park and at least three other park sites.

The Park Board has a $15,000 contract with restaurant consultants Idein LLC, said Don Siggelkow, who heads up the Park Board’s enterprise efforts.

According to a Nov. 23 agreement, Idein, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., will “establish the top four food service priorities, currently anticipated to be Lake Harriet, Loring Park, Theodore Wirth Park and Minnehaha Park.”

The contract asks for “recommendations for maximizing revenue potential at each of the four priority locations” and “recommendations regarding existing/new restaurants concepts that would enhance the consumer experience at the four priority park locations.”

According to a company profile at http://www.ideinllc.com, founders Phil Roberts and Kevin Kuester “have created a series of hit restaurant experiences,” including Bucca di Beppo, Chino Latino and Manny’s Steakhouse.

“We are a quiet firm,” the profile said. “We operate discreetly, confidentially and professionally, and we pride ourselves in providing extraordinary consulting in often highly sensitive, challenging and/or fast-growth situations.”

The Tin Fish restaurant opened in the Lake Calhoun refectory this past year, and it appears to be a harbinger of the future. Southwest residents Sheffield and Athena Priest have a contract with the Park Board and share the profits. The Tin Fish offers traditional concession stand fare as well as various fish dinners.

Public satisfaction had increased as well as revenue, Parks Supt. Jon Gurban said. The Park Board needed to look for a similar approach in other areas.

The Tin Fish grossed $447,748 on food and beverages in its first year, said Shane Stenzel, manager of special services. The Park Board’s cut was $50,816.

The Park Board ran the concession stand in 2003 and while it grossed approximately $110,000 on food and beverages, it lost approximately $10,000, Stenzel said. The Park Board earned $3,500 on the Calhoun refectory food and beverages in 2002 and lost nearly $56,000 in 2001.

The Tin Fish’s financial success matches and even surpasses profits at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, historically the Park Board’s most lucrative concession stand. The Lake Harriet concessions netted nearly $49,000 in 2003, approximately $36,000 in 2003 and lost money in 2001, Stenzel said. The 2004 figures are not in yet.

Gurban said the Park Board had not made food and beverage concessions a priority in the past, and it needed to be more entrepreneurial in the future.

Gurban said the restaurant recommendations would come to the Board as part of the Master Plan discussions.

The Park Board’s financial pinch became evident the following day when it cut its 2005 budget by $1 million, or roughly 2 percent, from a status quo budget because revenues did not keep up with inflation.

While the Tin Fish seems to have resonated with Park leaders, future moneymaking proposals could carry political risk if residents raise concerns about the commercialization of the parks.

When the Park Board proposed a Dairy Queen lease at the Lake Harriet concession stand in early 2002, public outcry quickly defeated the proposal.

In November, the Lake Calhoun Sailing Club proposed that the Park Board construct a five-building complex on the lake’s south shore. It would include an event center, three retail/concession buildings and a sailing school/yacht club building.

Park Board planners are reviewing the Sailing School proposal and are expected to report to the Board in 2005.

Park Board Commissioners may add restaurant in Loring Park, By Scott Russell, Skyway News, December 27, 2004

Park Board Annual Meeting

The annual meeting is where the board officers (president, vice-president and secreatary) are elected, the president appoints the members of the standing committees, and the president appoints representatives to numerous other related organizations and governmental entities.

The official agenda document, in Adobe Acrobat format, can be found here.

Star Tribune Letters: Keep It Independent

We agree with Minneapolis Park Board President Jon Olson’s comments (Star Tribune, Dec. 18) regarding the importance of an independent Park Board.

Visionary leaders established the independent Minneapolis Park Board in 1883, not only to facilitate the city’s award-winning park system but especially to protect it away from the priorities of city budgets and city business.

Our independently elected Park Board is the envy of park systems across America. In his book “The American City: What Works and What Doesn’t,” Alexander Garvin, a Yale professor and a New York City planning commissioner, says, “The best-located, best-financed, best-designed, best-maintained public open space in America is the Minneapolis Park System.”

It is a monumental task to maintain and manage a park system so grand as ours while adjusting it to the changing needs of today’s residents and visitors to the city.

It would be shortsighted to dissolve the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The lack of understanding for this form of governance, so necessary to protect and preserve our legacy of parks and recreation, coupled with citizen apathy, puts the system’s future at great risk.

Joan Berthiaume and Ted Wirth,
cofounders, Minneapolis Parks Legacy Society, Minneapolis.

Letters from readers, Star Tribune, December 27, 2004

Star Tribune Commentary: City of Lakes benefits from independent Park Board

In 1883, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the citizens of Minneapolis to create an independently elected Park Board for the city of Minneapolis.

The citizens elected its first commissioners; and within a few years, the Legislature authorized the Park Board to expand its boundaries to include land outside the corporate limits of the city.

In the last 120 years, the nine elected commissioners and the staff of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board with the support of Minneapolis citizens have created, expanded and maintained one of the best urban park systems in the country.

In fact, the park system is one of the attributes that defines the Twin Cities region and makes it score consistently at the top of all quality-of-life surveys for urban centers across the nation.

The extraordinary quality of the Minneapolis park system has developed with leadership from the independent Park Board – particularly in recent decades. We strongly disagree with the opinion expressed on these pages on Dec. 5 that the Park Board be folded into the Minneapolis city government. Park needs cannot be left unattended no matter who the mayor is and how streamlined city government becomes.

Minneapolis’ exemplary park system serves residents but also is a magnet for visitors. More than 5.5 million people a year visit the larger regional parks (Chain of Lakes, including Cedar/Lake of the Isles/Calhoun/Harriet, and the 55 miles of parkways like Nokomis and Victory Memorial) within the Minneapolis park system.

The Chain of Lakes development in south Minneapolis in the early 1900s left a huge imprint on the city and was achieved by visionary urban planning.

The presence of the parks in the heart of the city played a key role in keeping Minneapolis from facing major urban declines that other cities faced in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Wherever there are parks, there are higher-valued properties with people choosing to live near the downtown of the city.

Developing and maintaining parks and special features is no small matter to be relegated to a city department. It costs millions of dollars and requires strategic long-range planning. The most recent area of development to keep Minneapolis high on the livability rankings is the Mississippi riverfront.

As in the past, the stellar development of the new downtown Mill Ruins Park and the continued leadership on the Upper Mississippi River Master Plan demonstrate the ability of the Park Board commissioners and staff to develop a metropolitan-wide coalition of park-implementing agencies to preserve and develop land for the benefit of Minneapolis residents and visitors.

The riverfront development is a good example of the power of the independent Park Board. In the early 1980s when budgetary pressures were enormous, funding to begin redevelopment of the Mississippi riverfront was stalled. At the Legislature, lobbyists for the city of Minneapolis were unable to get funding for that project.

In 1983 the Park Board retained its own lobbyist and broke the logjam. In the last 20 years, the Park Board’s lobbying efforts have secured more than $100 million from the Legislature for projects at popular park properties such as Minnehaha Falls Park, Lake Harriet Bandshell and Theodore Wirth Park.

The independent Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board works closely and directly with citizens and partners for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. This powerful and professional advocate for the preservation and development of parkland should retain its independent leadership.

Jon Olson is president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Jon Olson, Star Tribune, December 18, 2004

ECCO: Bob Fine Promotes Yacht Club Facility on Southeast Lake Calhoun

From the official East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) Minutes for December 2004:

Proposed Calhoun Yacht Club Site–Bob Fine of the Park Board described a proposed plan for moving the Calhoun Yacht Club room to a facility proposed for the Southeast end of Lake Calhoun. He came to hear comments by ECCO. The Yacht Club claims the current boat ramp area is too congested for them and there’s not enough parking available. They want a building for giving sailing instruction. Bob Fine says that the Yacht Club has met with Commissioner Mason and the Park Board Staff. The Yacht Club gave a presentation to the Park board.

The Park Board does not have money for this project. The club was told that it would have to pay for itself. They were told that the Park Board would not be accepting of adding buildings on the lake. The windsurfers informed the Park Board that they have an interest in that particular area of the shore (“Windsurfing beach”).

Mr. Fine said that a proposal was presented to the Park Planning Department. He did not know whether Planning was working on the subject. He said this may be a project that’s far off–because there are a lot of things to be worked out. It appears that blueprints may have been submitted to the park board planning department. The Yacht Club and the Windsurfers have met at a private home already to discuss the topic.

Mr. Fine said that there could be parking for this project where the maintenance facility currently exists along the Richfield Road highway across from Windsurfer Beach. He said this would work out because the maintenance facility and equipment could move to the site being proposed for a trolley transportation museum at Lake Harriet.

Fine said that there are many issues such as what happens to all the buoys? Are they all going to shift to the south part of the lake? One idea was to move half the buoys to the south east shore and keep half at the north end of the lake.

Fine said the feeling of the Park Board Staff is that they want to keep canoe rentals, they want to keep the current building, they want to keep the Tin Fish… “It’s working out great”.

Fine said that the Yacht club said they could raise $150,000 to $200,000 for the facility. The rest would be financed by bonding. How would the interest on the bonding be paid?

Proposal is to have a rental “Event Center” in this two-story structure. Fine said the Park Board has been running event centers, that the Park Board is getting more entrepreneurial.

He said the facility could be leased for parties and weddings as they now do at the golf courses or at Nicollet Island. Fine said they have given contracts out at most of the Park facilities now. They have become quite profitable, “It has really helped our budget because we have been getting a lot of income. We have signed exclusive contracts with caterers and they arrange for parties.” Fine said they feel this will pay for the interest on the bonding and the Park Board will end up getting excess revenue from it with the added possibility that there could be some “daytime” concession there. Fine said, even something like Tin Fish. Fine said that that’s the way the Park Board is thinking now, “Tin Fish!. Tin Fish is just an example, something that can really serve the community, be nice, and we’re getting a lot of revenue from it.” Fine said, “We’re lucky if we even break even at Lake Calhoun in the past. And now, we’re getting a lot of revenue from it…at some point, when they reach a certain level of sales, which they far exceeded, we get 16% of the gross!…. I don’t know what we got last summer, if it’s like $50,000 in rent, but it’s a lot of money! And, if we have more of those, it helps our situation. We’ve been doing things like that which I think have alleviated our budget cuts. Therefore, people haven’t seen the impact with us like closed libraries and closed schools. We’ve been able to keep away from that.”

Board member Gary Farland asked whether the north end of the lake, where the large bath house previously been located, would be a more logical place for this facility, right in front of the Calhoun Beach Club? Fine could not answer that.

Marissa Lasky, representing area windsurfers, made offered observations…First, the buoys present hazards for people windsurfing. She said that the windsurfers have alternative ideas for the Yacht club. They feel that the development is too intense for that site. Too much parking need for three retail sites, an event site, a Yacht Club, the lasers sail boats, a boat launch, a dock, 80 to 140 buoys or more. Intense development on a very small area.

She also raised the question of what is the neighborhood’s and the community’s attitude toward “vendorizing” our lakes? Particularly, at that small site. As a resident of Minneapolis, she said she did not want to see the Yacht Club get a facility paid for by retail on that site. “There is not going to be lots more parking. There are going to be a lot more boat trailers.” The Yacht Club told Ms. Lasky to expect “a tenfold increase” with the laser boats using this southeast site. She said that she understands that the Tin Fish is going to request a liquor license at their site on Lake Calhoun. “This will be a very commercialized lake. Do we want to pay for Park Board needs by intense development of our lakes?”

Al Anderson, resident, reacted to Fine’s comment about the revenue that the Tin Fish raises, that “It’s a lot of money”. Anderson said he has now heard both the Parks Superintendent and Bob Fine focusing on “the money.” He pointed out that, once food and beverage facilities are installed in the city parks and on the beaches, then the City Council can look at the Park Board increased revenues and say, “Hey, the Park Board’s making money, we can cut back their budget!”

Al said that Windsurfer Beach is a prime piece of beach, whether for windsurfing or other recreational uses. “It’s sandy…probably the nicest piece of beach on the lake and you’re going to put a building, a big building, on that. It’s just a ridiculous idea!”

He said that hearing that the Park Board is getting excess revenue from the Lake Calhoun Tin Fish, he questions why, then, the Park Board closed down the park toilets and the small beaches during the summer. Al said that extra revenue went someplace else. He noted that he had been to the new Park Board headquarters, recently, where about 20 million dollars went. He said, “Making money on the parks is a repulsive idea.”

Board member, Keith Ruddick, observed that one of the things that makes Minneapolis unique is these lakes. He said, “Before you put up any buildings around the lakes, the Park Board should think very carefully. While monetary considerations may help short term budget problems, they are completely irrelevant to this. If you put a building there, it’s hard to tear it down.”

Resident, Lara Norkus-Crampton said she was happy to hear that the Tin Fish was working out so well. She said she hoped that that money will go to preserving our beaches, so that we don’t have a re-play of closing any more beaches. Lara noted that she is very concerned about the loons seen each summer in the South east corner of the lake. She said it’s very special to live in this area and to have a loon family down there. “That’s what so precious about this area. I hate to see every space developed to its maximum potential. Then, you have destroyed what people crave more than anything….space! A place to sit on the grass and look at the water. A place to watch loons and migratory birds. People can live in Uptown and walk to a place–I saw a bald eagle two days in a row down at that part of the lake.”

Brief discussion of what the proposed structure would cost brought comments of one or two million dollars.

Matt Carter, board member, observed that he is around the lake often during the daytime. He observed that the sailing classes take place during the day. “You run by, you see all the kids there in groups…they’re outside! They can be outside, it’s not raining. If it’s raining, they’re not going sailing. I have never seen a traffic jam trying to get boats in. Uptown is quieter during the day. There is a lot of available parking during the day a couple blocks away. People can (park) get out, and walk their kid to the class. If they move it to the spot were they want, then everybody has to get down there and there is no place to park! That’s the hardest spot to get to.”

Bruce Sabatke, board member, said this issue certainly needs an environmental impact study. “We are trying to keep these areas as natural and pristine as we possibly can. But we are approached by every development Pretty soon,we’re going to have ‘Sammy Johns’ is going to have his hot dog wagon down there, saying to the Park Board, ‘Gee, I’ll give you twenty cents on the dollar if I can put a little hot dog stand down there.’ It speaks of a terrible encroachment on the natural edifice that these lakes provide. I think it would be a tragedy, because it’s one more corner….I hope you’re right, that money is not the issue. ”

Kay Anderson said, “I am opposed to commercializing the lakes. The Tin Fish is fine, as long as they stay in that facility, and, clean up the bathrooms, which are in dire need of cleaning. To commercialize more, it just doesn’t go with me. Also, I am a sailor, had a buoy down there with a sailboat. I’m a kayaker, a windsurfer, and canoeist. The Catamaran Beach, which is what it was named about twenty years ago, has become a jewel for the windsurfers. However, when you windsurf across there, there’s a huge sand bar on which sailboats could get hung up. I envision that if they move everything over there, pretty soon you are going to be dredging Lake Calhoun.

President Bruce Grimm asked how we could discuss this further at later date. Bob Fine said the Yacht Club should be contacted instead of meeting with the Park Board. But he would be willing to return for a future meeting.

Report from Dan Niziolek, City Council:

1. Zoning implications of building on the lakeshore–Dan said that he would look into the zoning implications of the proposed building on the SE end of the lake. He will report back.

ACTION: Dan will report on the zoning implications of the proposed building with event facilities, retail stores and serving the special interests of the Calhoun Yacht Club.

Park Board Meeting 12/15 Highlights

Here are the few highlights of the fastest ever MPRB meeting, December 15, 2004.

5:04pm Admin and Finance

$14,518 more for the contract for North Mississippi Regional Park (quite a bit of change in that change order).
$15,000 more for vehicle and mower parts.
$192,000 from Hennepin County for Phase IV of Mill Ruins Park.
Commissioner Fine gives credit where it is due to County Commissioners McLaughlin and Stenglein.
Commissioner Dziedzic includes that the county also provided $300,000 for the plank road and $100,000 to study completing the Grand Rounds (NE and SE).
More money for park police and rec. programming at Richard Green Central and Harrison Park/School.
Commissioner Erwin asks if it was in addition to the standard amount.
Gen. Mgr. for Ops (trying out the new titles) Schmidt says additional funding became available.
The next item was not on my copy of the agenda or on the website’s agenda so I am paraphrasing from the “oral” explanation given by Mike Schmidt.
$800,000 more for forestry budget to cover 2004 expenses for battling Dutch Elm and $136,000 to cover changes in the maintenance and parks division that allows the MPRB to meet payroll for the remainder of the year. This is nearly an extra million for the 2004 budget.

ALL PASS

5:08pm Regular Meeting Convenes

Some changes to agenda including a report from the Charter Commission MPRB Committee and a discussion of the Upper Mississippi Planning , the “Commissioner Cup” and invitations to the Annual Meeting

Approved the minutes of the Sept. 15, 2004 regular meeting (check them out here. I take my Commissioner to task for making threats, that weren’t threats according to Bob Fine and Carol Kummer of the Standards and Conduct Committee).

REPORTS

Superintendent Gurban mentions he has given a copy of his superintendent’s report to everyone and the names of the new district supervisors. (So say them out loud and let their families see them mentioned on TV, in fact say anything!)
Commissioner Mason asks about the delay in moving the park police to the headquarters building, Gurban refers this to staff
Judd Rietkerk (sorry, do not know your new title) says there is not really a delay as they are still getting conditional use permits and figuring out who in the MPRB to bill
for things with the reorganization (SEE OPEN TIME COMMENTS) but the plumbing inspector was in today…..
Commissioner Young asks if one of the new District Supervisors is a person of color. Answer yes, one is.
Commissioners Mason and Young ask for more detailed reports on TV from the superintendent for the public and themselves.

Judd Rietkerk goes on to talk about the progression of the talks with Cirque du Soleil. It seems they need the fields at Parade leveled to the same height ($300,000) and the MPRB is asking for a longer contract to recover costs of doing this. He is also working with CPED and the Convention Bureau to get this worked out.
Commissioner Mason asks if the Lowry Hill neighborhood has been involved or could they be? No not really as this is a permit issue (per Rietkerk)
How long is the permit for? 12-16 weeks, So the Parade Fields will be out of use for 12-16 weeks for ballgames? They were going to be turned into soccer field soon so this isn’t a conflict (LIZ SAYS WHOA NELLY….WHEN DID BOB FINE’S PARADE PLAN GET THE GO AHEAD AND FUNDING?) and the only site Cirque is looking at has to have the 400-500 parking spaces they need (Parade and new city garage at the Walker I’m thinking)
Commissioner Berry-Graves asks if Fort Snelling (NEIMAN COMPLEX) would work for parking. Per Rietkerk, Cirque wants a downtown location

General Manager for Administration (?) Don Siggelkow.. The Foundation has had its first meeting and will be meeting in January to establish officers. The bank accounts have been opened and the balance is $101,000. There is also a Lake Harriet Restoration Account and a group is raising money for a Save the Berger Fountain. If people are interested in donating please contact Don (dsiggelkow@minneapolisparks.org or at 612-230-6400).

Commissioner Young asks are they set up yet to receive endowments? Yes, and feel free to recommend it to all.
Commissioner Berry- Graves asks if the Board of the Foundation will be meeting the MPRB members? They can meet in a reception of sorts but otherwise must remain separate entities.
Commissioner Kummer asks if the Foundation has contacted Trust firms yet for more donations? Yes, but you need a gift catalog and that is a priority of the Foundation Board.
Commissioner Young asks if other foundations like the MPLS Foundation have been contacted? Yes, they helped set this up and more will be contacted as the Foundation becomes established (Liz thinks the MPRB is backseat driving… keep it independent or lose the 503(c) ??? status for the Foundation if you are not careful)

General Manager for Operations Mike Schmidt
The MPRB has entered into a relationship with the US Bandy Association. We provide rink time, they do clinics and help teams form.
http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Track/2049/English/Bandyhistory.html for those of you for whom Bandy is a mystery.

Mike Tice and Randy Moss are sponsoring an event for homeless families at Winter Park and have also asked 63 kids and 7 staff from the rec. centers to join them as well on Monday. There will be food, games, gifts and autographs and if the Commissioners and Superintendent would like to go they are also invited.

Commissioner Hauser asks about rinks? Too Warm
Commissioner Young asks that we come up with alternative plans for the winter areas due to Global Warming and it’s present and future impact.
Commissioner Dziedzic suggests artificial ice like at Roseville’s Rose Memorial Oval and thinks the Herb Brook’s Foundation could fund some of it, then we’d have ice from November to early March.
Commissioner Berry-Graves asks about snowmaking machines
President Olson cuts it short and gets folks to move on (some heckling ensues)

They move onto consent business and pass everything pausing only to thank the County Commissioners again.

Report from the Charter Commission Committee states that Draft 6 is still to wordy and new round of considerations will result in Draft 7 by 1-6-05. Rewording the Charter is separate from substantially changing it as written about in the Star Tribune. That would need a unanimous City Council vote.

Commissioner Erwin asks if a subcommittee could be formed or if staff could get on the Upper Mississippi land acquisition plan.

Commissioner Dziedzic would like former commissioners to be invited to the annual meeting.

Commissioner Young states that the “Commissioners’ Cup” for best holiday decorating will be given out on Tuesday and that the Admin wing needs to step up to the plate next year and do better.

PETITIONS and COMMUNICATIONS
Commissioner Mason received multiple requests for the total cost of the Superintendent Search
Commissioner Berry- Graves and others met with the folks from McPhail to see about music programs of various types (community bands, summer lessons etc…)
Commissioner Hauser asked about the letter of nomination for naming Riverview Plaza for Arvin “OLE” Olson (takes 2 years for naming process to happen — exception Ed Solomon Park)
Thank you to staff for various clean ups around the city etc.

OPEN TIME ( it speaks to a problem in the new system that was pointed out by Judd Rietkerk about expensing the park police move though I had no idea it would come up this quickly)

Liz Wielinski of Northeast Minneapolis (me)

“During the past few months there has been much mentioned about the reorganization of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. We have seen a sample flow chart showing the restructuring of the personnel into new positions such as General Managers and District Supervisors. What we have not seen is how this works in terms of who gets what funding. So tonight I am posing some questions and hoping that either the new superintendent or more likely staff might be able to provide some answers.

Will the funding be divided between the districts before or after shared services are taken from the top? Will the district supervisors all work from the headquarters building or will we be funding more office space throughout the city as well as this six plus million dollar edifice? Will individual districts be able to “buy ” more park police hours? Is each district footing the bill for insurance evenly or is there a perk for having an accident free area? Will individual districts be able to bill one another for example if their staff of foresters has to work outside of their district due to say a huge windstorm that affects the Lake Harriet area of town only? Will revenues collected in enterprises be used to offset losses in a specific area? Take my area for example. I live in Northeast, home to both Columbia and Gross Golf courses. Will the extra funds they generate annually be used to subsidize Lupient Waterpark and the Kroening Interpretive Center (part I believe of the new district) or will they be skimmed to pay the tab at the Neiman Sports Complex or to build a parking lot for the TIN FISH?? Since Boom Island is in Northeast do we get the proceeds from the deal with Skipperliner?

How will you address the differences in amenities in the various districts? As Commissioner Dziedzic likes to remind us there is no lake in Northeast. There isn’t a band shell either, will we be getting free concerts in the park? What about the Powderhorn Park Art Fair? Will one of Northeast’s parks get a “cultural director” like Loring Park? What about fountains and gardens? Will these items be considered citywide and budgeted for as such or will they come from individual districts? Since Northeast may lose both Waite Park and Northeast Park Rec. Centers with the proposed closings of the attached schools, how will the rec. center counts be balanced? These are just possible inequities I see in my part of town.

I believe the citizens of Minneapolis need to be informed of the answers to these questions and probably quite a few more. We will need these answers to make informed decisions during this coming election cycle. In the past government has used the concept of “separate but equal” and it has turned out to be anything but. We would like to see exactly how this will be avoided with the new plan the superintendent and many board members are so wholeheartedly backing.”
Meeting Adjourned 6:05 or so..

Liz Wielinski

West St. Paul Parks Director Takes Minneapolis District Supervisor Job

Resignation creates 3rd major vacancy
BY BRIAN BONNER, Pioneer Press

Paul Hokeness, West St. Paul’s parks, recreation and public works director, is resigning to take a job in Minneapolis.

Hokeness will leave the St. Paul suburb later this month to become a district supervisor of the Minneapolis Park Board. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

His departure, announced in an e-mail to staff and officials, means that West St. Paul has three high-level vacancies to fill. The other two are those of assistant city manager and police chief.