Monthly Archives: April 2006

Heritage Preservation Commission DeLaSalle CORRECTION

CORRECTION: The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission will not hold a public hearing on the DeLaSalle stadium project at its May 9 meeting.

It seems to be an error that the DeLaSalle stadium appears as a “Public Hearing” item on the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission’s May 9 agenda. DeLaSalle is indeed on the May 9 HPC agenda, but it should be listed as a “Discussion” item, with no public hearing.

Here is the word from HPC staff this morning:

“Michael Orange is presenting the findings of the DeLaSalle EAW to the HPC on May 9. It is a discussion item to educate the
HPC before the DeLaSalle application is submitted. The item is listed on the public meeting schedule, but it is not a public hearing item and the HPC will not be deciding anything on the stadium. At this time, we have not
received the Certificate of Appropriateness application.”

The public may still attend the meeting, however.

Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Agenda Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

5 p.m.

Room 317, City Hall
350 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1385

River Roots Revue

On Feb. 15, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed the controversial Reciprocal Use Agreement with DeLaSalle High School 6 to 3. The agreement permits DeLaSalle to close off historic Grove Street in order to construct a 750 seat stadium. But in no way is this a done deal.

On Sunday, May 21 the Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) are sponsoring a special event to raise funds to offset expenses that are expected to be incurred in the effort to save historic Grove Street and preserve Nicollet Island for all park users.

Garrison Keillor will headline the “River Roots Revue,” at the Van Dusen Center, 1900 LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis, from 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 for reserved seating at Garrison Keillor’s Main Stage performance and $50 general admission. Main Stage seating is limited.

The Cabaret stage will feature Leslie Ball, Ari Hoptman, Patrick Scully, George Maurer and many more. There will be dancing in the Carriage House with Irish, Klezmer and Beatles bands, a Silent Auction and refreshments.

Tickets are available at

For information see

The "River Roots Revue"

On February 15, 2006, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed the controversial Reciprocal Use Agreement with DeLaSalle High School 6 to 3. The agreement permits DeLaSalle to close off historic Grove Street in order to construct a 750 seat athletic stadium. But in no way is this a done deal.

On Sunday, May 21 the Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) are sponsoring a special event to raise funds to offset expenses that are expected to be incurred in the effort to save historic Grove Street and preserve Nicollet Island for all park users.

It was previously announced that Garrison Keillor would headline the fundraiser to be held at the Van Dusen Center, 1900 LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis, from 5 to 10 p.m.

However, after supporters of the DeLaSalle Stadium waged an intense e-mail campaign threatening to picket the St. Paul premiere of Keillor’s movie “A Prairie Home Companion” if he honored his commitment to appear at the fundraiser, Keillor backed out.

But the show will go on. Featured performers at the fundraiser are Kevin Kling, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Peter Ostroushko, Bill Hinckley and Judy Larson. Also appearing are Patrick Scully, Leslie Ball, Ari Hoptman and George Mauer. There will be dancing in the Carriage House with Irish, Klezmer and Beatles bands, a silent auction and refreshments.

Tickets are $25, $50 and $100 and can be reserved by mail, phone or internet. Please indicate number of tickets desired and send checks payable to Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to this address: Van Dusen Center, 1900 LaSalle, Minneapolis, MN 55403. For more information, call the Van Dusen Center at 612-874-1900 or go to

Coincidently, two days after Keillor’s withdrawal, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota announced that historic Grove Street has been designated as one of this year’s ten most endangered sites in Minnesota. It is the Preservation Alliance’s hope that Grove Street can be saved.

Southwest Journal: Group forming Chain of Lakes coalition

As written by reporter Anna Pratt in the April 21st issue of the Southwest Journal:

» A group of community members has formed the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Coalition to address a variety of issues – including preservation and environmental impacts.

While still in a conceptual phase, the group wants to form a standing citizen advisory board to work with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The group would likely include 10 representatives from every neighborhood association within the Chain of Lakes.

Currently the coalition is seeking neighborhood approval. So far, seven of 10 neighborhoods have agreed to send a delegate to the panel. Others have expressed interest and will vote on it at upcoming meetings.

The coalition will likely meet monthly. Organizer Dan Woychick, who recently became the Park Board liaison for the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association, envisions the group as a natural advisory to the Park Board on issues pertaining to the lakes and nearby parkland.

He said the coalition would strengthen ties between neighborhoods and help them respond more efficiently – as a larger communitywide group – to decisions that impact the entire lakes area. This is especially crucial in light of recent substantial cutbacks to Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds.

Woychick said the coalition isn’t intended to be an anti-Park Board effort, or a watchdog group. Instead, it’s about collaboration. A statement about the group said, “We don’t want to be reactive to proposals and policies in a piecemeal fashion. We want to be well-informed and actively engaged.” «

Read the original story on the Southwest Journal website.

Edison Hockey Arena Repairs Evaluation

Numerous problems were found at the Edison Hockey Arena that the Park Board is proposing to buy from the City of Minneapolis, including leaking ethylene glycol (a poison) in the rink floor, and potentially expensive failure of inadequately sized and improperly matched refrigeration equipment.

Read the attached report (in Adobe Acrobat PDF document format) for a professional evaluation. Of particular note are the problems and recommendations described on pages 3 and 4.

Minneapolis Riverfront Organizational Study

The City of Minneapolis web site used to contain the following web page and the attached document, but for some reason, this public information has been removed from the City’s web site. As a public service, it is cached here.


Thanks to a grant from the McKnight Foundation, the City of Minneapolis is embarking upon an exciting process to explore if and how Minneapolis as a community can enhance its organizational capacity to continue riverfront revitalization.

Through the partnership efforts of the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and numerous public and private entities, great strides have been taken in bringing the riverfront to life, particularly in the Minneapolis Riverfront District near downtown. Additional opportunities and challenges remain ahead, and now is an opportune time to investigate if there are ways to revise or add to our existing organizational structure so that future riverfront revitalization can be completed more quickly and/or with even better results.

The City has hired the consulting firm of Bacon & Associates to lead a two-phase process. The team of Carolyn Bacon and Cathy Tilsen will be working throughout the process with a small group representing public agency staff and community interests.

Phase I of the process will include four tasks that are expected to extend into early 2006. Task 1 will include research to summarize what entities and organizations currently are involved, what their roles are, what riverfront plans and goals are being pursued and what organizational models are being used in other communities. Tasks 2 and 3 will seek input through interviews and workshops as to the strengths and weaknesses of the existing organizational structure and will explore options for improvement. (Options might include a new organization, having an existing organization take on one or more new roles and/or finding ways for the existing organizations to better coordinate their activities.) Task 4 will bring whatever proposal(s) result from the earlier phases out to the community for broader feedback. Assuming that Phase 1 results in an organizational proposal that has broad support, Phase 2 will move forward in 2006 with implementation of that proposal.

Stakeholders whose input will be sought during this process include the many governmental bodies involved with riverfront activities, existing and potential funders, non-profit organizations, neighborhood organizations, residents, businesses and developers.

More information:

* Study updates and reports
* The consultant
* List of staff/community “core group” members
* Riverfront goals Minneapolis needs the capacity to achieve

Current Status of Activities

Phase 1, Task 1, is complete. A report summarizing the results is now available (see below). Activities to date have included:

* Gathering of input from organizations involved in riverfront revitalization through the completion of questionnaires and interviews of key leaders.
* Research into some organizational models that have been used by other communities
* Compilation of the riverfront revitalization goals that Minneapolis wants the organizational capacity to achieve.

Riverfront Organization Study Task 1 Final Report (PDF)

Task 2 will focus on gathering additional input and is anticipated to continue into early 2006. This input will help prepare for workshops anticipated in Task 3.
“Core group” working with Bacon and Associates:

* Andrew Gillett (Hennepin County)
* Ann Calvert and Carrie Flack (Minneapolis CPED Department, Business Development)
* John Crippen and David Kelliher (Minnesota Historical Society/St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board)
* Rachel Ramadhyani (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)
* Barbara Sporlein and Pamela Miner (Minneapolis CPED Department, Planning)
* Chuck Sullivan and Matt Massman (community representatives appointed by Above the Falls Citizens Advisory Committee)

Combined list of overall Minneapolis riverfront revitalization goals

NOTE: These goals generally apply to the entire Minneapolis segment of the Mississippi River. Since the current status of the various reaches of the riverfront vary significantly, the types and levels of actions needed to achieve these goals also will vary. Much of the Lower Gorge has been appropriately developed for decades, so relatively little major revitalization activity is expected there. Significant revitalization has been achieved in the last few decades in the Minneapolis Riverfront District near downtown, although more remains to be completed. The biggest focus of revitalization activity in coming years is expected to be in the Upper River area from Plymouth Avenue to the northern city limits.


* The Minneapolis riverfront will be one of the primary “destinations” for residents and visitors in Minneapolis and the region as a whole.
* The majority of both banks of the River will be developed as open space under public stewardship, offering a variety of recreational experiences which are available to all.
* Parkways will link the area to the Minneapolis Grand Rounds park system and generally demarcate the transition between public and private space.
* Trails and pedestrian greenways (running both parallel and perpendicular to the River) will connect the Riverfront to city neighborhoods and to regional trail systems. “Riverway” streets will further connect the riverfront to surrounding neighborhoods.
* In addition to parks, other attractions and activities tied to the area’s natural, historical and cultural significance will be developed.
* Physical amenities and attractions will be complemented by a year-round calendar of special events and activities.


* Historic resources (i.e., buildings, structures, archeological sites and landscapes) will be preserved and reused for appropriate new uses. Within historic districts, new construction will be designed to be compatible.
* The history of the River and the interplay between the River and those who settled along its banks will be interpreted for visitors and residents in a many ways.


* Sufficient new housing (with a variety of housing types and prices) will be developed to create a true sense of “neighborhood” in those segments of the Riverfront that will be residential.
* Vacant and underutilized land and buildings will be redeveloped to provide jobs, taxes and housing and to realize the area’s economic development potential.
* Businesses that support the riverfront vision will succeed and grow.
* Development and diverse transportation options will be coordinated to mutual benefit.


* When possible (and where historically appropriate), riverbanks, bluffs and open space along the river will be restored and/or re-vegetated with native vegetation to improve water quality in the river and to provide natural habitat for birds and wildlife.
* Pollution will be remediated as redevelopment proceeds, with priority to any sites or uses that threaten public health or the River.
* New development and infrastructure will be designed to improve river water quality.
* Residents and businesses will be aware of their important roles as River stewards.


* Blighting influences that are barriers to investment, e.g., pollution, will be removed.
* Roads, bridges, utilities and parking facilities will be renovated or installed to provide needed services and access.
* Improvements also will be provided to support and encourage pedestrian, bicycle and transit usage.


* Design guidelines that respect the objectives included in the Critical Area Plan and the MNRRA CMP will guide development.
* Design will take its cue from the historic and natural character in each section of the Riverfront, with higher density and hard urban forms generally nearest downtown and moderate density and more natural forms further from the core. The design will be essentially urban in nature.
* Public art will be woven into the riverfront in a manner consistent with the City’s public arts goals.
* Views to and from the River and riverbanks will be carefully considered.


* Effective communication systems and participation processes will be in place to gather input, share information and reach general consensus on shared visions.
* The activities of the various planning, regulatory and implementing entities will be coordinated for maximum effectiveness and to assure that plans and regulatory/implementation tools are aligned.
* A broad spectrum of governmental, corporate, non-profit and individual investors will be engaged in supporting riverfront revitalization efforts.
* Property that is slated for transition will be acquired at a time and in a manner that is as beneficial as possible to both parties. Any transitions that are the inevitable result of land use changes will be managed to be as informed and smooth as possible.
* Communications systems will be in place to promote: a) riverfront development opportunities to the development community, b) riverfront businesses and homes to potential customers and residents, c) riverfront events and attractions to those seeking to enjoy the many aspects of the River, and d) the impact and value of riverfront revitalization to the general public and to policy-makers.
* Minneapolis will be prepared to participate effectively and efficiently in regional riverfront initiatives and activities.

September 15, 2005

As the Park Board Turns

This past Wednesday the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) was in fine form. They have pretty much agreed to spend $2.25 million to add to their properties. There were 2 items that came up. First added to the agenda at the last minute was the possible purchase of the Holcim Cement property on the upper river. The negotiations are proceeding and currently the price is as $1.5 million and Holcim would like full indemnity from any pollution found on the site. Staff is hoping to get a better deal… let’s hope so.

Second was a study report item on purchasing the Edison Hockey Arena in Northeast. The Edison Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) built this arena in 1996 with their gambling dollars from pull tabs, donated land from the city, a grant from the Mighty Ducks Fund, matching money from the city and a loan backed by the city. At the time this was shepherded through the city council by then Councilman now Park Commissioner Walt Dziedzic. In the 90’s they could not get the Park Board interested but the MPRB has been since 2002 after EYHA missed their first mortgage payment. The city would like the park board to take this off of their hands and it looks like it will go through at $750,000.

The drama of the evening was the presentation by Bacon and Associates regarding the possibility of forming a development corp. to move along the redo of the upper river. In their report were comments collected during discussion with the various groups connected with the river. The comments about the MPRB were less than flattering and Commissioner Dziedzic was vocal about how he did not care for the comments of the MPRB being described as massively dysfunctional. This vocal comment session lasted for too long. During the second half of the presentation Commissioners Olson, and Dziedzic as well as Counsel Rice and Superintendent Gurban all removed themselves from the board room. They returned in unison a few moments later. At the end of the presentation Commissioner Dziedzic started in again, then Commissioner Olson said something to the fact that they would not point fingers at other units of government that operate poorly and then proceeded to give examples which was then followed up by a lengthy monologue by Mr. Rice about how much the Park Board has done along the central riverfront. After the presentation was over Commissioner Dziedzic, Commissioner Olson and Mr. Rice followed the ladies from Bacon Associates into the hallway and continued to bombard them with their opinions. Could anyone call this highly coordinated browbeating dysfunctional? You be the judge. Want to know more? Go to the city web site and read this document at page 27 is where you can read about the MPRB.

Evaluation of the 1990 St. Anthony Falls Interpretive Plan

The St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board is a little-known
organization with representatives from all levels of
government charged with overseeing activities in the
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Zone, which is more or less
the same as the historic district. They commissioned
this study from consultants at the 106 Group to
evaluate their 1990 plan for interpreting the history
of the falls area for the public. Nicollet Island
comes up quite a bit, most notably as a key site for a
high priority item: interpreting the ethnic history of
the area.

The Bridge: From broken bottles to butterflies and birds

In a March 29, 2006 article subtitled “Adopted bluff park may become a home for native wildlife” journalist Cyn Collins writes:

» An abandoned and neglected parcel of Mississippi River bluff near the West Bank may soon be nurtured back to life.

The Bluff Street Task Force is applying with the Adopt-a-Park program at the recommendation of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) staff. If accepted, this program would allow them to fulfill their dream of cleaning up and restoring Bluff Street Park. The Adopt-a-Park plan was recommended by MPRB staff to Karen Swenson of Groundworks, an organization that has selected the Bluff Street Park as one of its park cleanup projects. «

Read the entire article at The Bridge web site.