Another Stadium Controversy

A story from the January issue of The Minneapolis Observor:

(Jan. 12) If you thought the Twins, Gophers, and Vikings stadium questions cause some political angst, just start talking about rebuilding Parade Stadium.

That’s what new Park Board Superintendent John Gurban did yesterday during an otherwise benign legislative update before the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Gurban mentioned that Park Board staff are working on a plan to rebuild the stadium-long treasured for Friday night high school football games-on its former site and adding an event center as well. He noted that the plan had not been approved by the Park Board yet and it was “just a concept at this point,” but added that he wanted to be prepared to spring the idea on state lawmakers should they become mired in another divisive stadium debate this session. (Apparently, the idea being that if legislators were ready to drop a few hundred million of the public’s money on a professional-or in the case of the Gophers, a semi-professional-sports team, they might be inclined to throw a few pennies toward a quaint little stadium near downtown Minneapolis.)

Gurban’s trial balloon was met with a stinging rebuke by Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7), who lambasted the superintendent for even considering such a plan without consulting first with neighborhoods in the vicinity of the proposed stadium. “I’ve never heard this before,” she said. “Have you had any neighborhood involvement in this?”

Gurban reiterated that it was only a concept at this point, and that senior staff were planning to bring it to the community at some point.

“After the staff has decided what to do?” Goodman asked.

“They’ll hone in on the general concept and bring it to the neighborhoods,” Gurban replied. “Certainly it’s not our intention to ram this down anyone’s throat.”

Goodman said she’d be bringing this news out to the neighborhood groups in her ward, but that she expected the Park Board to communicate with them as well. “It’s not my job to do your community work,” she said. “I have a very active constituency and they will not want to be told what to do,” she said.

2 thoughts on “Another Stadium Controversy

  1. Chris Post author

    I was shocked to read that MPRB Superintendent Jon Gurban was at the legislature (with I am sure the legislative committee chair Walt Dziedzic and lobbyist Brian Rice) asking for money to rebuild Parade Stadium. Thank you Councilperson Goodman for asking if they had approached the community. The MPRB needs to increase their forestry budget by $2.5 million a year to get Dutch Elm under control and they are asking for money for a STADIUM. Commissioner Kummer and Commissioner Fine are also on the legislative committee and this is what they think ought to be their legislative agenda? I would be willing to bet neither Annie Young or John Erwin (also of the legislative committee) were apprised of this turn of events. I guess Bob Fine was just giving lip service to the idea of an independent park board in his editorial in the Southwest Journal, because this is the type of thing that will get everyone on board to make the parks department a division of the city.

  2. Chris Post author

    Just to correct a small boo-boo on my part. It seems that Superintendent Gurban was at the Intergovernmental Relations Committee at City Hall. Guess I know why I never scored top numbers on those speed and comprehension tests back in school. I breathe a sigh of relief that the folks at the State Capitol weren’t getting this presentation. Can you imagine the thoughts of suburban legislators… “those crazy folks in Minneapolis, they can’t afford cops but they are asking for money for Parade Stadium, you know the place Simon and Garfunkel stopped on their reunion tour in 1983”. I hope that this little item is replaced by the “NEED FOR TREES” or any truly substantive needs the MPRB has.

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