Just some more information about Wednesday nights marathon MPRB meeting ( I gave up at 8:35 after a grueling 4+ hours).
( some background)
The MPRB ( Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board) ended up with the parcel after a lawsuit .
The legislature put lots of conditions on how the proceeds ( which turned out to belong to the state ) could be utilized if it is sold.
The MPRB entered into a purchase agreement that did not even take into account the caveats they had listed in their request for proposal on the property.
According to public testimony ( not normally done in a study session) the project failed 11 of 12 criteria in the EAW
and in a feisty 2 minute presentation CM Goodman summed it up in 3 points…
1) The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association ( DMNA ) voted against the project
2) Voting against an EIS at the city council does not mean approval of the project
3) The project still has the HPC and the Planning Committee to get through
I wish that this meant the project wouldn’t happen but I can think of another project that other than planning has been through exactly this same scenario and is currently being battled in court. Can the MPRB afford to be in another lawsuit?
This is parkland and the fact that there were condos going up all around the property should have had some forward thinking member of the board saying….hey, we need a park for all of these folks, rather than looking at the short term gain of some money ( which turns out belonged to the state) and parking. Minneapolis parkland should not be utilized as a site supply for developers.
The Wirth Statues etc…
The statues may be able to be repaired as all pieces have been recovered (thank you to the scrap yards who helped the police out on this )
The possibly moonlighting school liaison officer did not come up in Chief Johnson’s report.
The Wirth House fireplace remodel… apparently the “new” fireplace is in at the HISTORIC home. No word on if the original metalwork and mantelpiece will be restored and refitted. Odd that a building that was “referred to planning and never brought forward due to lack of funds ” is undergoing a remodel.
Northeast parks public hearing outcomes….
Sheridan Memorial Park ( planned name, referred to as the Water ST Park by the MPRB) was approved in planning and now goes forward to the full board for approval. This river front park which will feature an “All Wars Memorial” will need private donations to fund the maintenance of the memorial. I know that the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization ( SNO ) would appreciate everyone’s help in getting the first park for their neighborhood off the ground. http://www.sheridanneighborhood.org/
Gluek Park ( On Marshall ST next to the Sample Room)
The neighbors were not thrilled with this plan and even Commissioner Olson was less than impressed with the look of the shelter. The Bottineau Neighborhood Community Organizer Chris Gams offered the neighborhood’s suggestion that since the plan did not have enough money for pervious pavers that for improved water quality and for flexibility with the funds they would prefer that the bituminous trail be taken out of the plan and a better shelter and other features be funded instead. This plan was referred back to staff to take back to the community.
In a surprise agenda move reminiscent of the appointing of Jon Gurban as Interim Superintendent in 2003 the park board passed the following resolution…
“The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) authorizes Emmons & Oliver Resources to produce a report evaluating the feasibility of entering into a lease with Crown Hydro, L.L.C. ( Crown) for the construction and operation of a hydroelectric plant on MPRB land adjacent to the Mississippi River as proposed by Crown. The report shall document the issues and procedures the MPRB is required to consider before entering into the lease with Crown. MPRB staff is authorized to enter into two agreements:
1) A time and materials contract with Emmons & Oliver Resources not to exceed $20,000, and
2) An Agreement with Crown to reimburse the MPRB for all contract payments made to Emmons & Oliver Resources including costs incurred by MPRB
staff and attorneys related to the Crown project.
The Staff shall not enter into the contract with Emmons & Oliver Resources until the agreement with Crown is executed.
This action by the MPRB does not obligate the MPRB to enter into the proposed lease Agreement with Crown and/or is a promise to enter into any future Agreement with Crown.”
The discussion about why Crown was added to the agenda after the commissioner packets were mailed and why some commissioners found out that the project would be added by receiving an e-mail from Crown’s representatives was discussed at length. Commissioner Olson’s explanation was creative. When called upon during this discussion the resolution was introduced by Commissioner Kummer and seconded by Commissioner Olson.
During the ensuing discussion Commissioner Dziedzic asked who wrote the resolution (not exactly the kind of statement usually prepared by Commissioner Kummer) and Brian Rice stated that he had. Commissioner Dziedzic then asked Mr. Rice who had asked him to write the resolution. This is when Commissioner Olson jumped back into the fray and took credit for asking Mr. Rice to write a resolution. More questions were asked as to where Emmons and Oliver Resources came from and Mr. Rice noted that it was his firm that had contacted them and that was why there was a bound proposal for the commissioners including an estimate for $60,000 for Emmons and Oliver Resources to do an EAW for the site.
Commissioner Young was quick to point out that if this group was going to have a $60,000 contract it would have to go through an RFP ( request for proposal ) and pointed out that Commissioner Dziedzic was always touting that the MPRB used a fair bidding system for contracts.
Commissioner Merrill Anderson was very eloquent in stating that if the MPRB did not pay for the study it would not be interpreted by the public as independent.
The vote was…
Nays Dziedzic, Merrill-Anderson and Young. Ayes Olson, Kummer, Nordyke, Vreeland, Nordstrom and Fine.