Park Board Meeting October 19 Report

Regular meeting is called to order at 5:00pm

Agenda is amended by Commissioner Erwin as follows-..

1) add Liz Wielinski to Open Time
2) change 2.1 from $400,000 to $800,000 to be received from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization for Upper River Phase 1
3) Remove 2.5 about snow making equipment
4) Strike Stone Arch Bridge from 7.3 rental policies
5) Add a discussion about Open Time

Changes are moved and passed

Commissioners Mason and Hauser mention things needing to be added to the minutes for 10-5-05. Minutes are approved as amended

Reports of Officers
Superintendent Gurban… in San Antonio at the National Recreation and Parks Association conference with GM Schmidt will report next meeting
GM for Admin Siggelkow… Discusses National Pond Hockey press conference. The tournament will be held at Lake Calhoun Jan 20-22, 2006
96 teams, 64 mens, 18 women’s, and slots for senior teams
Commissioner Young asks about numbers of fans and parking accommodations .
Gm Siggelkow expects maybe up to 1000 for championship
Commissioner Kummer asks if it will impact speed-skating
GM Siggelkow points out that speed-skating is at Powderhorn and Nokomis

Next up is Citywide Planner Jennifer Ringold who discusses the already in progress updating of the Comprehensive Plan
She explains that it will be a “living document” that changes as the needs of the public for different recreational opportunities change
She gives an extensive power point presentation that gives the timeline for the progress over the next couple of years which will mostly identify who will be involved, how everyone will communicate ( staff, public, commissioners etc…) What the baseline is at present and how community input will be collected. She described the first 2 phases as being 6-10 months in length and only went into details on the first 2 phases ( covering approx. 2 years)

Commissioner Mason asks if outgoing commissioners will be consulted?
Ms. Ringold explains that both past and future commissioners will be involved.
Commissioner Young asks if they will be using input from the community meetings held 2 years ago
Ms. Ringold plans on a more extensive outreach project
Commissioner Kummer asks what will happen to current and planned projects
Ms. Ringold explains that projects will be ongoing concurrently
Commissioner Erwin asks that the U of M and the city be included as they share parkland and in the case of the city, light and street maintenance.
Commissioner Dziedzic asks about cost.
Ms. Ringold explains it will be done with staff time.
Commissioner Dziedzic goes on to say that it will easier to get money from the Legislature if they see a comprehensive plan

The Regular meeting is recessed to allow for the Planning Committee and the public hearing on the Resolution of the DeLaSalle Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)

Commissioner Fine calls planning to order at 5:30 pm

Bert McKasy chair of the DeLaSalle CAC is introduced and allowed to present first to make another commitment

Chair McKasy states that the CAC met on 4 occasions for a total of 14 hours, there was excellent attendance, no participant could be considered a shrinking violet and they heard comments from approximately 75 people. The 14 pages of minutes reflect the discussions of site plan presentation, the walking tour and presentations on design, lighting sound etc… , the Nicollet Island Master Plan, some background in history, the environment and traffic and finally alternate location proposals.

A motion for a resolution was introduced by Judy Blaseg and was passed on a 10 to 8 vote.

next was the design presentation by Jay Pomeroy

After discussion in the CAC the original design was amended to lower the fields and create a lower to the site line retaining wall on the north side
Tiered walls on the east side to create a less imposing structure and give accessibility by ramp
Lowered the press box into the stands
Excluded fencing on the west side to give a more open feel for public access
Eliminated the moving of the tennis courts to the east side to create more parking
Changed the layout to provide more multiple uses for the field.
There will be fencing and a retaining wall to the north to discourage cutting across the railroad tracks and crossing arms will be installed on East Island AV by the railroad for safety.

Commissioner Erwin asks if the design includes parking and surface run off and improvements beyond the field

Mr. Pomeroy says that porous pavers were discussed but there was no consensus and the field will be natural turf over a sand base and the only extras will be the new lot and some boulevard plantings

Commissioner Mason asks about a final cost and the Environmental Assessment Worksheet timing
The cost is not determined and the EAW will be available from the city on Monday. DeLaSalle_Athletic_Field_EAW.pdf.

At this time Commissioner Fine would like to start the public hearing. 24 people are signed up. He recommends 1.5 minutes per person.
Commissioner Young suggests 2
Commissioner Hauser asks that any persons with special needs in speaking be accommodated.

Public comment on the DeLaSalle CAC

1) Liz Wielinski recommends a land swap between the MPRB and DeLaSalle. The school would move out to the Fort Snelling facility where they would have access to the entire Neiman sports complex. The old school could be rented as the houses on the north tip of the island are and DeLaSalle would possibly have extra room to expand and possibly even build an elementary school. The Neiman Complex would finally see some use during the day and the MPRB would make the fields usable for football.

2) Quentin Liggins DeLaSalle student and injured football player claims the sound from the field will be no louder than the passing trains, and the kids deserve it.

3) Arlene Fried “As a citywide stakeholder, I have attended all four CAC meetings. It is apparent to me that DeLaSalle, like many other institutions and private schools, has reached a point in its existence where its needs are outgrowing its site. The DeLaSalle Stadium Project is a shoehorn project. That is, it is forcing itself onto a site that has multiple restrictions and problems. It is my observation that the DeLaSalle Stadium Project is not an appropriate project for Nicollet Island. DeLaSalle should be exploring other opportunities to accommodate its growth.”

4) Steve Froemming states that as a fan, and a person who has friends that went to DeLaSalle he feels it would be closer for them, would create field maintenance jobs and that he would like the commissioners to please support this project.

5) Barry Clegg, CAC member and island resident. Based on the makeup of the CAC the vote was pre-determined, even with what he considered a switch on each side.
The votes he felt were the most important were those of the 2 landscape architects who both voted against the resolution.

6) John Derus: DeLaSalle was not interested in having a CAC but went through with it and now there are claims that it was predetermined. People can’t just change the outcome if they don’t like it. DeLaSalle supports the resolution.

7) Ms. R Day: Mayor Fraser’s favorite saying was “downtown is everyone’s neighborhood”. This is a rip off of everyone’s property tax dollars and suggests they move out to Neiman.

8) Eric Gallitz, Attorney for DeLaSalle… The field belongs with the building and we should not be asked to leave, and it is a field and not a stadium.

9) Steve Nelson park user, The school only seems to be concerned about the football team. With this new plan now the tennis players will need new courts. Why is it impossible for the football players to take the footbridge at the north end of the park to the BF Nelson site and build the stadium there. After all the kids at North High have to walk to their field. He also states that they took the citizen out of citizen advisory committee and quotes the corresponding MPRB policy that reads that anyone living in Minneapolis that attends a the majority of the meetings may vote.

10) Gary Cagel, delivers a letter from the Clean Water Alliance and considers the environment omitted. DeLaSalle is claiming that a promise from the 1984 agreement was not kept and it has been and there should be a better legal opinion. He refers to DeLaSalle as sanctimonious beggars who are getting land valued at $14 million for free.

he goes over the 2 minutes and is cut off

11) Jan Hively, Island resident. States that she has the privilege of paying $3300/ year in property taxes to live on the island and refers to an article in Preservation Magazine that states Open Space is being wiped out in spite of polls showing the desire to keep them and that there is much stealth privatization of park land.

12) Edna Brazaitis, island resident and CAC member, She discusses how on October 4th as the CAC members were finally starting to work as a group the CAC was over. She states that it is not uncommon for urban teams to be lacking in adjacent fields and list many public and private schools facing this situation including St. Agnes and St. Bernard’s in St. Paul.

13) Mark Carlson: former DeLaSalle parent. claims DeLaSalle has been accused of telling lies, playing unfair to win, etc.. Want’s the board to keep away from the toxic environment we have at the state level and serve in the best interests of the public. He hopes they vote with integrity.

14) Beth Hart, DeLaSalle parent, her kids are taking the bus to DeLaSalle and wants everyone to think about the kids and how this will benefit everyone without costing the MPRB anything, she also makes comparisons to how when Abbott Hospital was expanding they didn’t face all this acrimony.

15) Larry Romanko, assistant girls soccer coach at DeLaSalle, Don’t focus on past mistakes, move forward on this project which will benefit young people, be positive.

16) Phyllis Kahn, Island Resident, Rep. Kahn talks about issues of process, how could a vote be taken without all of the information, what is the outcome of the EAW, will the Met Council want its money back? Should the city be reimbursed for the brick paved street to be vacated? This will be a very expensive prospect.

17) Judy Blaseg: CAC member, was pleasantly surprised by what she thought would be a tedious process. Thought the outcome was good and again stresses that 50% of DeLaSalle kids get some sort of financial aid.

18) John Chaffee, CAC member and island resident, refutes that this isn’t costing the MPRB a cent. They built tennis courts at a cost of $1,065,000 that will be torn up and the land at todays rates is worth between $4-8 million dollars. Is this a fair trade to the citizens of Minneapolis for 350 hours of field time and 150 hours of gym time? It is a gift of between 1 and 7 million from the public to the private sector. Why is the MPRB willing to do this and why has there been no analysis of the value to the public?

19) Judith Martin, quotes and article by Charles Birnbaum ( paraphrased here… ) that 70-80% of park users are looking for passive recreation. She asks if after the stadium is complete will DeLaSalle be back with their hands out for the tennis courts also mentioned in the 1984 agreement which will be taken out with the stadium.

at this point there is some confusion about what order Commissioner Fine is “arbitrarily using” to determine the speaking order as the next speaker signed up after Brother Michael Collins and would not like to “cut in line”.

20) Christine Viken, Ms Viken is concerned that the line between politics and religion is being blurred and crossed and announced that since her statement would be longer than 2 minutes she would post the text on-line at

21) Brother Michael Collins, this is not a church and state issue, the government should be neutral so as not to favor one over the other, sees himself as an advocate for kids. This is not about ideology or power but about young city kids.

22) Ross Sutter, Does not believe that people with personal ties to DeLaSalle who in the past me have received scholarships for their children or been salaried employees can be impartial. This project is the wrong size and scale and an alternate site should be considered. He also states that in light of current goings on it should be apparent that sports stars are not gods and that athletes should not be lead to believe that their needs are more important than others.

23) Susan Hanna, CAC member and former DeLaSalle parent, points out no one is asking the residents to move, that the MPRB is getting use of the field and 2 gyms and that in the 1980’s the students signed petitions to save the homes on the island. If the parks aren’t about kids they aren’t for anything.

24) Catherine Dorr, has seen many opinions and is wondering if another CAC will have to be held to move the tennis courts to BF Nelson and will this decision be overturned by a new board after the elections. Who does this board represent? At every debate and forum she has attended all incumbents and challengers have promised not to sell parkland.

25) Steve Christenson: Island Resident, Both landscape architects on the CAC voted against this proposal, the site is too small, this land was purchase as open space and the vote should not be taken before the EAW is completed.

26) John St. Marie. This is truly democracy in action. He has lived in Minneapolis since 1966 and there has never been a regulation field in SE where he could have watched his kids play soccer. This field will provide for both soccer and football. The field as designed appears to him to be open space and even more than before with out the street and tennis courts. This plan is a wonderful idea for the citizens of Minneapolis.

Commissioner Hauser moves the resolution on the DeLaSalle CAC

Commissioner Mason points out that this is a committee vote only and it will be before the full board if it passes on November 2nd. For the actual Reciprocal Agreement vote, it will need 6 votes to pass and that the Board can take the recommendation of the CAC under advisement but the decision is ultimately up to the board.

Commissioner Erwin said he will be supporting the motion but not necessarily the project.

Commissioner Young states that accepting the resolution of the CAC is a formality and thanks the members of the CAC for all of their work.

Commissioner Berry Graves asks about the MPRB’s relationship to other stakeholders, will the MPRB be consulting the State Historic Preservation Board?

Director of Planning Judd Reitkerk explains that it will be DeLaSalle’s job

Commissioner Dziedzic will be voting yes and wants to get the process moving along

Commissioner Berry Graves asks if there was a minority report to which Commissioner Fine answers that it was a resolution so there was just a vote.

Commissioner Olson voices some disappointment over the insults and accusations being thrown out on both sides.

Commissioner Kummer agrees that the CAC went well and that it is time to move forward. She also thanks her appointee to the CAC.

There is a vote on 4.1 5 ayes to accept the final design of the Stadium project for submission for the EAW process

Planning Adjourned at 7:00pm

Operations and Environment

Ralph Seivert head of Forestry introduces Keith Cline of the USDA Forest Service and a discussion of the itree inventory of Minneapolis trees is given. This is a very detailed
report and will be available on the MPRB website (a link will be provided when available). The short version is that we have many trees. About 200,000 are actively managed by the MPRB. There are 60 species but 60% of the trees are of 5 species. 10% are American Elms and the largest number are Green Ash trees. A high percentage of the trees are 20-30 years old ( from the reforesting after the last Dutch Elm disease [DED] crisis ), but 75% are healthy. For every $1.00 invested we receive a benefit of $1.69 worth of energy savings, run off reduction and property value. The upcoming threats to our urban forest include more DED, the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Long Horn Beetles ( who will attack most species ).

Suggestions were to have a 5 year pruning cycle on maturing trees so they can become healthy Mature trees that provide the most benefits and to increase the mix of species.

There follows a discussion of the benefits of Cottonwood trees and then Commissioner Erwin went into some specifics about maintenance costs per species and ranking of trees for canopy etc…

President Olson talks about the MPRB’s work at the Legislature trying to jump start the Shade Tree program

Commissioner Hauser was glad to see the report backed up her claims that the south side needs more trees

Commissioner Dziedzic asks if his wife’s social security check was well spent on inoculating their elm.

The discussion then shifts to the Paddleford Company and news reports of them dumping insufficiently treated sewage into the Mississippi River.

Commissioner Olson states that as Chair of the Excursion Boat Association, Captain Bill Bole (sp) of the Paddleford Company had no excuse not to be aware of the rules governing the output of his boats.

Commissioner Kummer who served on the Metro Waste Water Commission state that there are stringent rules about what can be dumped in our waters.

Commissioner Erwin was concerned that part 5.1 of the resolution may be moot as Paddleford has apparently settled with the MPCA.

5.2 asks for the Coast Guard to provide records from 1988-2003 when the Paddleford Boats were the contractor of choice for the MPRB
5.3 asks for the Corps of Engineers to revoke docking permits in Minneapolis
5.4 asks that the Mill City museum discontinue promoting Paddleford Tours
5.5 asks staff to pursue legal action against Paddleford (Liz is not thrilled to see more billable hours going to Mr. Rice over what seems to be a Pollution Control Agency matter and since the Mississippi runs from MN to the Gulf of Mexico it may even be a federal matter)

vote is taken and all AYES

Operations and Environment Adjourned at 7:55 pm

Con’t of the Regular meeting


Liz Wielinski asks….

1) The outcome of the $15,000 consulting fee to Idein LLC about compatible places in our parks to put restaurants.

> Item 1 is they assisted in the review of vendors for the
> Minnehaha concession – no services have been provided “about compatible places in our parks to put restaurants”.

2) How much year to date the firm of Rice Michaels has billed the MPRB for legal and lobbying services?

> Item 2 is $338,206.85 through September 30, 2005

3) Could the information that Commissioners Erwin and Kummer requested for the committee of the whole meeting regarding staffing levels and board costs to please be attached to next weeks agenda on the website?

> Item 3 is on the website

(replies from GM Siggelkow on 10-24-05 )

Report from Park Police ( they got to go home… lucky them)

Lots of consent business passed most without discussion except for 7.3 about rental rates for the Plank Road ( as the Stone Arch Bridge was eliminated at the beginning of the meeting)

it is moved and 2nd for discussion, is tabled and then a motion is made to reconsider…

Commissioner Young would like to direct staff to hold a neighborhood meeting, have a public hearing and do an RFP for the catering company

Commissioner Mason concurs about the caterers as Mill City Museum has an exclusive caterer and the Plank Road might be in their purview.

GM Siggelkow states that this falls under the Enterprise division and they have no way of holding a public hearing

Commissioner Dziedzic has a letter form the Marcy Holmes neighborhood in opposition

President Olson explains that the Mill City Museum has, showcasing events on the Mississippi, as part of their operating budget and that maybe they should be the controlling party with the Plank Road

Commissioner Berry Graves sites the entire issue as another incident of bad MPRB process

After some discussion between President Olson and GM Siggelkow, Commissioner Young substitutes a motion that President Olson approach Mill City Museum and have them come up with a policy for the Plank Road and how to deal with the neighbors. PASSES

Unfinished Business….passed resolution 2005-114 to assess some properties to remove dead elms

New Business

Discussion of Open Time

Commissioner Erwin makes a motion for OPEN TIME to be a maximum of 30 minutes, with each person receiving 3 minutes to speak on a first come sign up basis.

Commissioner Young cannot support the 30 minute maximum (and uses the 1 minute request this evening as an example of the rarity of it being long)

President Olson deems it should come through the Standards and Conduct committee and that maybe public hearings within a committee should also be discussed

Commissioner Kummer (chair of Standards and Conduct) will schedule it (no specific date given)

the motion is withdrawn

Petitions and Communications

Commissioner Dziedzic mentions the boxing match at Richard Green Middle School on Nov. 12, 2005 at 3:00 p.m.

Commissioner Mason received calls and e-mails regarding DeLaSalle and the Stone Arch Bridge

Commissioner Young received a letter about the wonderful tour offered by the Minneapolis Parks Legacy Society at the Theodore Wirth House

She also received a petition about the closing of the rec center at Peavy Park with 200-300 signatures which is amazing to her for the Phillips neighborhood

Commissioner Kummer also received the letter about the Wirth House and also the packet about the repurposing of the schools MPS is closing ( like the one where Peavy Park rec center used to be)

LIZ’S NOTE: One of the schools slated for closing is Putnam in NE which shares space with the Northeast Park rec center. Will that be lost as well?????

Commissioner Berry Graves also received the above mentioned letters and mentioned that 800-1000 people went through the Wirth House during the tour.

She also mentions that the north end of Lake of the Isles is showing some improvement though it wants to revert to its swamp like origins

Meeting Adjourned 8:20 p.m.

1 thought on “Park Board Meeting October 19 Report

  1. jtgaspardo

    The following is the Park Boards Code of Ethics. Do you think they follow it?
    PB-1-6. Ethics in government. (a) Legislative purpose. Officials and employees in the public service must maintain the highest possible standards of ethical conduct in their transaction of public business. Such standards should be clearly defined and known to the public as well as to local officials and employees. Furthermore, the proper operation of democratic government requires that local officials and employees be independent, impartial, and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of the government structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of this government. In recognition of these goals, there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid. The purpose of this Code is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all such officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interest of the people of the City of Minneapolis and their park and recreation system, and by directing disclosure by certain designated officials and employees of private financial or other interest in matters affecting the city or the park and recreation system

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