Minneapolis Observer: Heritage Preservation Commission rejects De La Salle

» The city’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) last week unanimously rejected DeLaSalle High School’s request to close a street in order to make room for the school’s controversial football field on Nicollet Island.

The vote was a victory for preservation supporters, who have been fighting the school and the Park Board on this issue for more than a year. Elizabeth Wielinski, from the group Park Watch, said the decision made sense. “Second only to the Falls, Nicollet Island is a precious site within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District,” she said. “We’ve spent 30 years creating a beautiful park at the riverfront — now we need to stand fast against developers and protect this land.”

De La Salle is expected to appeal the HPC’s decision to the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee later this month and, ultimately, to the entire council in September.

“We will have to see if the largely DFL City Council will stand up for historic preservation and keeping parkland open and accessible to the public,” Wielinski said. “Unlike the Pillsbury A Mill project, the surrounding neighborhoods have stated their opposition to the De La Salle Stadium.”

Wielinski noted that the proposed facility violates zoning codes and land use plans and would create increased traffic congestion and sound and light pollution. She said she and other opponents would continue to work to derail the proposal. “We will be out in force urging the city council to study the land use issues and vote no on the development,” she said.

De La Salle officials want to build a 750-seat football stadium on Park Board property. They argue that the school has gone too long without a field of its own. The park board in March voted to approve a reciprocal use agreement with the school. But the city council still must ratify the deal.

Read the original article at the Minneapolis Observer website.