Monthly Archives: May 2006

Star Tribune Letters: Reasons for Caution on DeLaSalle Stadium

In the May 21 Star Tribune online edition, Jason Stone writes:

Columnist Nick Coleman has dedicated a vat of ink to the proposed DeLaSalle stadium on Nicollet Island, including his May 12 “In suggestion box: A simple solution for DeLaSalle fracas.”

My biggest concern with this stadium proposal has been that elected officials with close personal ties to DeLaSalle High School have not recused themselves from votes. Public process and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s own planning process were not observed. Other planned work of the Park Board was pushed aside to make room for the DeLaSalle proposal. The integrity of the Park Board as an institution is far more important than any one project.

After the recent estimated $2 million lawsuit against the Park Board for the failed “The Fort” skate park, the board should be doing extra due diligence before embarking upon any joint venture or complex project.


As the MPRB Turns…

Highlights from the May 17, 2006 Park Board commissioners meeting:

When last we left our band of commissioners the District 2 lad had put aside his run for congress to pursue the heart of his fair lady (the daughter of the District 5 commissioner) and had, according to the District 1 Commissioner, been accepted. During their meeting of May 17th their old habits began to surface. During the meeting of the Admin and Finance committee the staff brought up a construction permit issue at Mill Ruins Park that the superintendent felt was too sensitive of an issue to be handled by the staff. Construction problems at Mill Ruins you may be pondering, but alas no. Just read this link to the study report…$/shared/board%20staff%20reports/2006-05-17/ADMsr2.pdf….
Oh that’s right it doesn’t work. Didn’t before the meeting and still doesn’t. Well if you had been there you could see that it has only location to do with Mill Ruins Park. CROWN HYRDO by any other name is resurfacing and doing test drills into the historic milling area just a stones throw north of their previously coveted site. The CROWN HYDRO permits came under discussion and were passed by the Admin and Finance committee to proceed as they will also “check for pollution”. Since the Standards and Conduct committee still hasn’t worked out the issue of if it goes through committee must it go to the board with a vote and if it is voted on in committee must it actually go to the full board the permits will be issued. And while we are on the topic of Standards and Conduct I should mention that during their study session Commissioner Nordyke repeatedly mentioned that it is going to be difficult to base the Superintendent’s Evaluation on the tasks he has met since during his tenure as both interim superintendent and superintendent (now a total of nearly 2 1/2 years) as he and the President of the Board (the above mentioned non- congressional candidate) have never made the stipulated Superintendent Work Plan that lists the goals he is to meet. They are suggesting that maybe there will be a survey of the commissioners, the superintendents co-workers ( many working as his appointees) and the superintendent himself… SWEET. From reading the Superintendent’s monthly reports I imagine his survey will be filled with exclamation points galore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The presentation on the programs offered in the parks this summer was very nice. I’d suggest going to the website and then searching. Good luck. On a related note.. I attended a meeting of the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee (AFCAC), and Park Planner Nick Eoloff mentioned that the Holcim Cement site was sold to a higher bidder.

River Roots Revue a Rousing Success

I would like to start by thanking all of the wonderful volunteer musicians and performers. You were absolutely fabulous. Then more thanks to the techs, silent auction donors, donating food vendors and just plain runners who made the Friends of the Riverfront fundraiser a rousing success. A giant shout out to Julie for coming all the way from New Mexico to help out. I’d also like to thank the DeLaSalle protesters for making the location easy to find. I got lost on my first trip to the Van Dusen but your sign waving and horn honking made it easy to find this time around. The donkey and chickens were a great addition as well. The biggest thank you goes to all of the citizens of Minneapolis and elsewhere who donated to the cause.

Downtown Journal: Downtown voices: A call for saving open space on Nicollet Island

As published in the Downtown Journal:

« By Phyllis Kahn

For more than a year, the battle over approximately 2 acres of land on Nicollet island has continued, prompted by the desire of DeLaSalle High School to build a football stadium complete with stands and lights next to their existing building.

The school’s proponents have tried to portray this as an elite neighborhood beating up on a small school with lots of inner-city minority students. This scenario ignores the fact that various actors in the environmental and literary components of our society have weighed in on the issue, all on the side of not desecrating the island with an oversized, suburban-style football stadium.

Environmental groups include the Sierra Club and the Friends of the Mississippi. Historic Preservation experts involved in the dispute include the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society.

In one of the most striking submissions to the Environmental Assessment Worksheet, the superintendent of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) found the project inconsistent with key MNRRA Comprehensive Management Plan policies and guidelines.

These included the preservation of public open space, the incompatibility with use of the river and with goals of historic preservation.

The Preservation Alliance has designated Grove Street (proposed to be closed for the project) as one of the 10 most endangered historic sites in the state. To quote the MNRRA submission, “Grove Street is one of the physical anchors that define the historic setting of Nicollet Island. Its presence on the island since the late 1860s grounds us in how historic events developed. Grove Street is one of the few through-streets on the island, running from one side of the island to the other. The design [of the stadium] calls for bleachers to be built across the road alignment. This would present a serious visual obstruction to what was once a clear line of sight down the road, destroying the visual role the road played as one of the through-streets on the island.”

In the extensive hearings held by the Park Board, testimony was presented by a young boy (accompanied by a small garter snake he had found) and speaking about the need for open space to study wildlife even if it isn’t rare and threatened. The next week, a DeLaSalle soccer player sneered at him, saying that kids aren’t interested in environment, they prefer athletics.

The proponents for this site continually argue that the project is for the kids. If it is (by virtue of some shared-use agreement) to benefit kids other than those attending the school, why would one build it in the census tract in the city with the smallest proportion of kids, surrounded by similarly populated census tracts, when there are pressing needs for recreation in North and South Minneapolis?

Author Louise Erdrich, urging preservation of Nicollet Island as it is, said in language well beyond my abilities: “Our city is famous for its parks and its quiet places and for the visionary conservationists who understood there is nothing as precious as open space. (I would add the caveat, particularly in the city’s center.) The island is a rare and vital piece of Minnesota history, and its character should never be lost.”

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-59B) lives on Nicollet Island. »

View original at the Downtown Journal website.