Meeting Highlights 8-2-2006

Many have posted about the Dry Run regarding the 201 Building ( the Fort ) and the $945,000 that at a minimum it will cost the MPRB to settle the law suit . The other portion of the “pre” meeting was Supt. Gurban “officially” presenting the plans for the “dream” stadium/ event center at Parade ( they have had the plans since last year at this time) . They are currently planning the field with astroturf and bleachers but the ” dream” stadium with event center etc… has no funding though according to some feelers put out by staff, there are some who would be willing to privately run the event center who would be willing to chip in toward the cost. Chipping in rather than building your own venue… nice deal, no maintenance or those pesky taxes. ParkWatch cofounder Arlene Fried tells more here.

The regular meeting started at 5:00

First up was Chief Johnson and his report on what is being done in the aftermath of the newspaper article about the Rev. Terry Williams park police incident at Lake Calhoun. On July 29th a meeting was held and per the park police interview with the officer involved it was deemed a justified stop and then Commissioner Olson read an apology statement.

Reports from the district directors were next NNO events that were rained on and some saved by being able to move into the rec centers, Aquatennial events participated in, ice cream socials coming up and new staff hired. The Step-up to Health initiative Kick off event was also mentioned ( This Saturday ).

During Consent business there was a discussion about the Plank Road with President Olson being the lone dissenting vote on paying the last bill due to continuing maintenance issues ( which GM Schmidt says are inherent in this type of construction).

Under discussion items Commissioner Nordstrom brought forward an ordinance change she would like to recommend. See the wording here…

Next was Petitions and Communications where the commissioners share events they have attended and comments they have received .

Commissioner Kummer: Nokomis Playground equipment ( no public hearing because they are getting a free 90 day test on some trial product), Diamond Lake Trail ( the newest HOT topic more later under planning in part 2)

Commissioner Nordyke: Hidden Beach

Commissioner Vreeland: Arboriculture Convention , Friends of the Mississippi River Challenge ( was the 5th and 6th but check out the link it is an annual event ) St. Anthony Parkway Bike Trail

Commissioner Dziedzic: St. Paul Free Pools during heat VS MPRB pay pools… the wading pools ARE free and there are scholarships ( have searched the website and can not find any information about these) available for the Waterparks and the usual GOLF COURSE PROMO.

Commissioner Nordstrom: Hidden Beach … if behavior is illegal please dial 911… and Lake of the Isles

Commissioner Fine: Peace Garden

Commissioner Young: Commissioner Young has a broken arm and her rounds have been somewhat reduced as she is unable to drive, lots of e-mails

Commissioner Merrill Anderson: Attended ISA ( International Society of Arboriculture) convention and mentioned the Emerald Ash borer which is headed this way and that the largest number of trees are now Ash in the MPRB system. Calls on St. Anthony Parkway, and the MN Environmental Initiatives.

President Olson: Thanks from his family for the park naming celebration or Ole Olson Park. Thanks to all who attended the July 29th meeting
regarding Rev. Williams. Thanks to the volunteers from Anoka who worked at Logan and Jackson Square Parks in NE .

To keep things simple I’ll just say they went to planning and then back to the regular meeting for Open TIme and back. Open Time had one speaker who thought they mowed too close to Minnehaha Creek and were destroying bird habitat.

Presentation to Best Buy ( and check from same based on what staff would have earned while they were volunteering $20,000) for their volunteer hours in helping clean up Loring Park ( pre ISA convention) . 300 very dedicated people working in drizzle and rain.

Regular Meeting Adjourned


Lake Hiawatha Schematic Design Public Hearing ( not advertised in newspaper so will continue on 8-16-06)

Staff Presented Plan

Public Hearing Opened
One Speaker … Scott S.. New plan is losing street front presence

recessed until 8-16

West River Road at Greenway Public Art ( City Sponsored) approved

Bikeway Bridge through corner of Gross Golf Course to connect NE Diagonal Bike Trail Approved

St. Anthony Parkway bike trail passes with inclusion of a 10-ft cement combined bike/walking trail from Ulysses to Stinson in folks front yards on MPRB land.


Diamond Lake Trail…

The MPRB has after years of letting adjacent property owners maintain shore land along Diamond Lake, decided to put in a nature trail ( wood-chips vs blacktop) so that the public can stroll around all of the lake on Park Board owned property. The neighbors are of course not pleased with this coming out of thin air. Like the St. Anthony Bike Trail they knew the property belonged to the MPRB but since they have been doing all of the upkeep for years are not happy with this new development. Commissioner Nordyke upon asking for more details was told the same could happen at Cedar Lake in his neighborhood. It seems the MPRB has decided to force this issue around the lakes with their land and we can be sure to hear a lot more in upcoming meetings. Since this was a study report item I imagine that a CAC will be appointed as this will be VERY CONTENTIOUS item and I am sure the folks from St. Anthony are wondering if maybe they should have pressed the issue about their lack of appointed CAC. The Planning Chair Commissioner Fine allowed members of the audience who were there regarding the issue a chance to speak which is HIGHLY UNUSUAL.

Lake Calhoun Site Plan Study

Some history was given and some possible plans were shown ( including the sailing village) and some remarks were made including this one… Commissioner Tracy Nordstrom remarked that she agrees with Commissioner Young, that “Lake Calhoun is being loved to death.” Further, Nordstrom wondered how these ideas (trolley museum, new sailing school, etc.) fit in with the overall strategic plan for all the park system. And, she was curious how it fostered use of underused resources.

I imagine that whatever the plan is they will need a CAC and it should be part of this COMPREHENSIVE PLAN they are working on and not just put together piecemeal before it is completed.

Planning Adjourned

Admin and Finance

Agreement with the Minnesota Wild to use Parade Ice Arena… passed. Did not however cover if the NHL goes on strike which is what really hurt Parade’s balance sheet the last time.

TAX LEVY for 2007 $40,592, 789. This is the request, now it goes through the process of approval and then the budget is planned. The most interesting thing about this conversation was the discussion of a CAPITAL LEVY better known as a REFERENDUM to increase your taxes to get more capital for building maintenance. The Library System had one for all their new buildings and repairs ( for the now hardly open libraries) and the schools had one to reduce class sizes ( my son’s k and 1 classes had 24-26 kids in MSP ). Now I like the idea of maintaining the buildings however since they will be voting tonight to pay about $1,000, 000 for a screw up at the FORT SKATEPARK project I am not so sure I would pursue this until they have their COMP PLAN completed.