January 19 Meeting Report

The Board met at 4:30 behind closed doors to deal with workman’s comp issues. At 5:00 President Olson asked Commissioner Dziedzic to start the Legislation and Intergovernmental Committee. Commissioner Dziedzic who needs a refresher in protocol hopped right in and then had to back track and cover the formalities like rollcall and agenda approval etc… Chair Dziedzic then gave a refresher on how priorities at the legislature are ranked A-important B-would like and E- bills the MPRB supports but which are not the MPRB’s primary interests. He then asked the Lobbying team to go over the agenda for this year….

Brian Rice listed the priorities as
1) Retain LGA (is approx $9 million dollars of the MPRB’s budget)
2) Protect Operations and Maintenance dollars for regional parks and lottery dollars dedicated to parks (approx $1.1million comes to MPRB, he was talking pretty fast and I am no stenographer)
3 )Met Council Bonding (again he was going fast but the MPRB would get $2.9 million of their $7 million for projects like Minnehaha Parkway,Chain of Lakes, more work at Mill Ruins and the Central Riverfront)
4) Pursuing last years bonding requests for Lake of the Isles restoration, JD River project, and Grand Rounds…would NOT be pursuing the East Phillips Community Center or the MARINA
5)Money for Earn to Learn which has been cut in the past from $250,000 to $180,000 and may be 0 now.
6)LCMR(?) metro and regional parks…(sorry missed what he said)
7) Dutch Elm Community Forest Protection (being headed up by Jon Olson and Mike Schmidt)
8) Looking for dedicated funds for environmental programs
9) Support the efforts of others for the White Water park on the Mississippi

Commissioner comments….

Commissioner Young…great to pursue money for trees, would like East Phillips Center back on the bonding list (made a motion, accepted a friendly amendment to make it a B item for 2005 and an A item for 2006.. passed) Feels the East Phillips community now facing troubles with 3 Latino gangs really needs somewhere else for the youth of the area to spend their time.

Commissioner Hauser also wants East Phillips back on the list (Brian Rice mentions that only items with traction during the failed 2004 bonding session will be in the 2005 plans and that East Phillips really had little and 2006 more appropriate timing)

Commissioner Erwin also supports the idea, especially now that neither Minneapolis plan made the Kroc list for community centers.

Commissioner Kummer asks how much the MPRB got from the state during the Dutch Elm Crises during the 70’s

Kirk Peterson of the lobbying team replies that the state funded the program at $30 million (annually in the late 70’s) but it was for the entire state.

Commissioner Mason asks about the change in $$ amounts for Lake of the Isles Restoration, and will the lower request pay to finish it.

Kirk .Peterson replies that the bill’s sponsor changed the amount and NO not enough for completion

Commissioner Erwin asks about the JD RIvers project and if the MPRB is negotiating with the U of M to gain their support etc…

Head of Planning Judd Rietkerk says that the scope of the project has changed overtime and planning is ongoing as well as possible partnerships

Commissioner Erwin also complements President Olson on his efforts for the tree situation and warns that Oak Wilt and the Ash Borers are just around the corner.

Commissioner Kummer asks who’s efforts on behalf of the Whitewater Park the MPRB is supporting and will parkland need to be traversed for access?

DNR is the fiscal agent and a private group is behind the project

Commissioner Berry-Graves wants to get the $$$ for the Earn to Learn program and keep the youth at hard work during the day so they are too tired to make trouble in the evenings.

Brian Rice said Rep. Mullery is pursuing those dollars

Mary Ann Campo (lobbyist) made a report on getting money from the Met Council for operations and is pleased Superintendent Gurban is working with Peter Bell on this issue.

Commissioner Young asked if Minneapolis is still out of favor at the Capitol and Ms. Campo said little has changed however the “parks” are treated better than the city because they are parks. She also remarked that the outlook for a bonding bill passing is good, especially in light of the 2004 house elections.

The legislative agenda( of 1-9 above) with the East Phillips Center added for 2006 bonding requests as an A item passes.

Some discussion takes place regarding scheduling the legislative breakfast, this is moved to unfinished business by President Olson (where later it is forgotten… oops). Committee Adjourns.

Admin and Finance is called to order by Commissioner Hauser

In passing 2 amended contracts Commissioner Mason asks that the reasons for the increases in costs be explained to the public ( as they are in the Commissioners’ Packets of supplementary materials) so that the public understands the reasons for the increases in costs.

Commissioner Berry-Graves asks for a staff contact for the golf fundraisers as she has a possible “BIG SURPRISE” guest for next year (and she’s not telling).

Committee Adjourned.

President Olson reconvened the Regular meeting at 5:45
Commissioner Mason thanked GM Don Siggelkow and Dianne Hill for getting the meeting minutes through 11-17-04 up to date and hopes the trend will continue.

Reports of Officers
Superintendent Gurban introduced Jon Oyanagi the new District manager for the River District ( North and NE ) He has 25 years of park experience and comes to the MPRB via Anoka Co and prior to that the city of Eagan. Superintendent Gurban then refers the commissioners to his December report in their packets. He reports that the Gopher mens basketball team held a practice at Farview Park and it was well attended by not only young people but coaches with many questions looking for tips. This “event” was organized by the Henry High basketball coach (my apologies, I did not catch the name and no copies of the report were readily available for the public).
The Superintendent then went on to praise the event at Winter Park sponsored by the Minnesota Vikings. The hosts were very gracious and accessible and the attendees were thrilled ( and on their best behavior).
Comments from the commissioners were…

Commissioner Mason asked that the report be included in the packet prior to the meeting so they can be prepared to ask questions.
Commissioner Dziedzic was all praise for the Vikings player and coaches.
Commissioner Hauser welcomed Mr. Oyanagi
Commissioner Berry-Graves also impressed by Vikings event

GM for Ops Mike Schmidt commented on the dry run for the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loads) and hopes that the commissioners can attend ( something to do with the storm water system, public hearings and permits to discharge storm water into the Mississippi. I hope Commissioner Young feels like explaining this as I would do a poor job)

GM Schmidt then explained that the warming houses were closed due to a long standing policy that goes into affect when the windchill is 20 degrees below 0. He recommends reconsidering this policy prior to next winter.

Commissioner Young points out that those temps were in the evenings only and that the policy would need some flexibility

DeLaSalle issue (earlier in the meeting it was decided that since so many people had signed up to speak that each side would be alloted 9 minutes and could divide it up accordingly)

Residents first

John Chaffee (30+year resident of the island) The island belongs to everyone and the residents must be good stewards for future generations and should not be altering the landscaping so drastically ( 10 foot retaining walls, asphalt tennis courts almost to the waters edge…)

Barry Clegg ( resident since 1992) The neighborhood was informed of DeLaSalle”s plans in December, the neighbors and many others were displeased and he provided a petition signed by 300 people with another batch of 50 to be delivered at a later date. He also stated the the PPERIA (Prospect Park) and Marcy Holmes neighborhoods had issued a resolutions against the stadium and street closing plan. He also mentions the restrictive covenant on the island.

Representative Phyllis Kahn (resident and representative of the area prior to residing on the island) spoke of the possibility of the MPRB having to reimburse the Met Council $1.4 million dollars if this land was leased for this purpose and that if a stadium is built for football the school (leasing on public land) would no doubt need to meet some sort of Title IX requirements for the same investment in girls sports.

DeLaSalle side

Brother Michael Collins current president of DeLaSalle spoke to the issue of creating a space for not 20 or 30 boys but for the 625 students of many diverse backgrounds including 30% that are non-Catholic. He spoke of a public/private partnership like many throughout the area and more summer field space for the MPRB , thus the public to use. Together they would serve the community. He also said the Minneapolis Police Department did not feel closing part of Grove ST would present safety concerns.

John Derus spoke of 5 generations in NE Minneapolis growing up with DeLaSalle and the great loyalty to the school of the graduates. He commented on the uniqueness of the student body in it’s diversity. He again stressed the many public / private partnerships already existing.


As Mr. Derus was speaking he ran out of time. The Island Residents pointed this out and Mr. Derus continued and would have kept on speaking had the residents not called time again. President Olson finally interrupted him and asked him to stop. I am going to mention this just once because it has been ticking me off… Commissioner Olson needs to be consistent in monitoring OPEN TIME. He usually insists that all speakers give their name and address for the record, neither Brother Michael or Mr. Derus received this reprimand and while he felt it necessary to interrupt Mr. Chaffee while he was speaking he did not do so for Mr. Derus.

For those not in attendance there were approx. 45-50 residents and 8-10 DeLaSalle supporters in the audience.


Next to speak at OPEN TIME was Frank Rog former Northeaster who has written a book about his boyhood experiences growing up near the river. He had attended the annual meeting on January 3rd and after hearing Commissioner Young’s presentation on Minnehaha Park thought he would bring another historical accounting to their attention. The book is “Let me be Frank”, and was self published and is available by contacting the author.

The last speaker was Mary Govrik who outlined her proposal for a Southern Fare style eatery at Lake Harriet. She was referred to GM Siggelkow.

back to Officer reports…
GM Siggelkow…in the commissioners packets (again no public copy readily available)
Judd Rietkerk, Head of Planning.. The proposed realignment of the trails at Webber Park around the Library, pool and tot lot was approved by the community and the work will begin in the spring.

Consent Business was passed
Unfinished Business, the calendar for the year

Commissioner Erwin asked for a committee of the whole meeting to be set to discuss the goals for the year
Commissioner Olson stated goals would be discussed at the retreat for Commissioners
Commissioner Erwin then asked for a copy of the full budget for 2006 in the spring so that commissioners could study it in preparation for the fall budget meetings

Commissioners Young and Mason wished there had been some communication regarding the retreat date prior to it being set

Commissioner Mason also suggested adding some Committee of the Whole meetings into the calendar for the fall ( for budget discussions) and if they were not need they could be dropped at that time so commissioners could avoid scheduling conflicts

Commissioner Olson comments that the updated calendar is underway and should be available soon.

Commissioner Young schedules the South High students’ presentation for Feb 16th (tentative)
Commissioner Olson requests a change of date for the Institute of Art meeting as it falls on Ash Wednesday

New Business

Commissioner Mason requests that the agendas available to the public via mail and on the MPRB website (www.minneapolisparks.org) include more information like some of the background materials the commissioners receive.

She also restates a request from 2003 that the Standards and Conduct committee review the committee structure. Is there a better system?

Commissioner Hauser also would like all materials to be discussed at meetings to be included in the commissioners packets to allow for study before being asked to make decisions.

Commissioner Kummer agrees with the having materials available early and would consider committee structure changes being discussed

Petitions and Communications

Lots of DeLaSalle calls and calls about the warming houses for many commissioners.

Commissioner Kummer asks that the board give the DeLaSalle situation much thought and discussion

Commissioner Erwin applauds the presentation made by the Tree Advisory Board to the City Council

Commissioner Bob Fine had nothing to say.

Commissioner Berry-Graves hints around her MYSTERY GUEST for the golf tourneys again

Commissioner Dziedzic and Superintendent Gurban are meeting with the U of M about the boathouse and Commissioner Dziedzic has been contacted about a plan for a WWII Memorial on the river on the NE side of the Mississippi by the NSP plant

Commissioner Young gives a report on the MLK events she attended and thanks staff for the great job they did.

Commissioner Bob Fine quickly moves to adjourn the meeting.

6:50pm — Adjourned