Skyway News: Downtown parks seat lures second candidate

by Scott Russell

»Christine Hansen, a banker who works with high-net-worth clients and is a youth sports coach, is making a run for Downtown’s Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board seat.

The newly drawn District 4 includes all or parts of Downtown’s Loring Park, Elliot Park and North Loop, plus Southwest and North Side neighborhoods.

Hansen, 43, lives in Kenwood with husband David and her two children, 10 and 13. She starting thinking about running for Park Board last summer, while coaching her daughter’s softball team.

“I found myself in various Minneapolis parks, about four or five days a week, April through September,” she said. “I was beginning to get a little frustrated with what I felt was the poor quality of the conditions of the fields, the equipment, things like that were starting to bother me. I thought Minneapolis could do better.”

Incumbent Vivian Mason announced in February she would not seek reelection. Mason threw her support to friend Tracy Nordstrom, a professional gardener and Minneapolis Tree Advisory Committee member. Nordstrom ran for Park Board in 2001, losing to incumbent Bob Fine. (Redistricting moved Nordstrom’s East Calhoun neighborhood from District 6 to District 4.)

Hansen is a vice president and relationship manager in the private client group of US Bank. She has an undergraduate degree in finance and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, she said.

Hansen is a first-time candidate. She had never attended a precinct caucus prior to March 1, she said. She and Nordstrom are seeking the DFL endorsement.

Hansen is still getting up to speed on park budgets and the impact of state aid cuts. She is concerned about the deterioration of the parks but did not know if the problem were a lack of money or whether the Park Board needed to set better priorities. It was something she wanted to investigate, she said.

Like Nordstrom, Hansen said the Park Board needed to improve communications. “Most people felt like they didn’t understand what the Park Board’s direction was, and it wasn’t well communicated,” Hansen said. “I believe that, being in business, I understand communication is key.”«

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