Monthly Archives: August 2006

Downtown Journal: Heritage Preservation Commission denies DeLaSalle‚Äôs proposal

By Michelle Bruch

» The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) unanimously denied DeLaSalle High School’s application last week for a new athletic field behind the school.

DeLaSalle officials plan to appeal the decision.

HPC Chair Phillip Koski said the major issues of contention related to the stadium design and the closure of the eastern half of Grove Street.

“By losing Grove Street, we concluded that would adversely alter the character of the historic district,” Koski said. Grove Street became a public street in 1866 connecting East Island Avenue and West Island Avenue.

The stadium’s bleachers, ticket booth and press box include stucco, a material the HPC has previously denied on several occasions, Koski said. Historic districts allow brick, stone and concretematerials.

Heights of some stadium elements were also out of scale with the district, according to the HPC, specifically lighting masts and a retaining wall standing up to 9 feet in some areas.

DeLaSalle President Michael Collins noted that DeLaSalle High School was founded on Nicollet Island in 1900, and said the high school will continue to be part of the island’s history.

“I respect, and I’m hardly surprised, that a group that is stationed to preserve history as they see it, voted as they did,” Collins said. “We are an institution that has been part of Nicollet Island longer than anyone there has been alive. … I believe that thoughtful leadership is going to say that while history has value looking backward, history looking forward has overriding merit because we’re not simply talking about part of a street, but part of the lives of young people.”

Some residents at the meeting reportedly said DeLaSalle did not sufficiently explore alternative sites, while DeLaSalle officials have said they explored other options and found them untenable.

The proposal would add a regulation size football field for shared use by DeLaSalle and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The football field would also provide one regulation size soccer field and three junior soccer fields, bleacher seating for up to 750 spectators, a press box that sits on top of the bleachers, a concessions area within the bleacher base and four light towers.

DeLaSalle’s proposal will be the topic of discussion during the next Breakfast with Preservationists on Aug. 30 at 8 a.m. in the Mill City Museum. Speakers will include a DeLaSalle representative, Koski and preservationist Bob Roscoe.

For more information on DeLaSalle High School’s proposal for a new athletic field and the Aug. 8 HPC hearing, go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/Agendas/hpc/. «

Link to original article on the Downtown Journal website.

DeLaSalle's football field — before the school built on top of it

Picture of DeLaSalle playing on their home field, adjacent to the building, that they chose to eliminate to expand.

The caption for this picture in the 1949 Delta (the DeLaSalle yearbook) is:

“Denny Murray, DE halfback, out-runs a Blake wingback as he breaks away for a gain in the 32 to 13 rout of Black on our home field.”

Note the historic Eastman Flats in the background.
GameOnHomeField_1.jpg

HPC Votes Unanimously Against DeLaSalle

The Minneapolis Historic Preservation Commission unanimously voted to deny the application by DeLaSalle for a Certificate of Appropriateness for their football stadium project. The testimony from both sides was extensive and last nearly 4 hours. The most interesting testimony came from Judith Martin regarding DeLaSalle’s past acquisitions of land for football. According to old newspapers and various overhead photos throughout the history of the island, DeLaSalle has closed 2 alleys and one other street over the years to create fields which they then expanded the buildings onto thus needing more land for fields (much like the recent gymnasium addition). This pattern has been ongoing since 1942 when, during WWII, they demolished 300 units of affordable housing to expand the campus. No doubt this was easy to do since the men and boys were probably overseas at the time. It’s also probably not a unit that DeLaSalle teaches in the “History of the Island” class they touted as teaching to all incoming students to the school. Then again as the old adage goes, the “History is Written by the Victors.”

Twin City Parks Conservancy Summit

A Sept. 18 meeting of national parks leaders will explore ways to preserve and upgrade Twin Cities parks. The area is blessed with a nationally recognized network of green spaces first outlined by H.W.S. Cleveland in 1883, said Bruce Chamberlain, president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

“We’re hoping to help the Twin Cities community think about ways of preserving, restoring, rehabilitating and expanding these park systems,” he said.

Public-private conservancies have led restoration and upkeep of urban parks in other cities, such as New York and Louisville, Ky. The meeting will bring together leaders of these efforts to discuss their experiences.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Guthrie Theater, is free, but registration is required at The Cultural Landscape Foundation website. For more information, e-mail info@tclf.org or call Bruce Chamberlain at 612-252-7140.

Star Tribune: Preserving the Parks

» A Sept. 18 meeting of national parks leaders will explore ways to preserve and upgrade Twin Cities parks. The area is blessed with a nationally recognized network of green spaces first outlined by H.W.S. Cleveland in 1883, said Bruce Chamberlain, president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

“We’re hoping to help the Twin Cities community think about ways of preserving, restoring, rehabilitating and expanding these park systems,” he said. «

Read the full article at the Star Tribune website.