At the March 21 Park Board meeting, General Manager Mike Schmidt announced that construction at Parade would begin in March and be completed by July. But as of this posting, MPRB Superintendent Jon Gurban has not convened a Citizens Advisory Committee as mandated by Park Board Ordinance 99-101.
The following is a condensed version of a letter dated March 8 that I sent to Superintendent Gurban regarding Parade Stadium. I have received no answer.
Dear Superintendent Gurban:
This letter is intended for Petitions and Communications:
I am writing you regarding compliance with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board ordinances. I-and many others-would like to know when you are going to convene a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the new $1,808,500 Parade Stadium project, which was approved without discussion at the Park Board meeting on January 3, 2007. This new Parade Stadium replaces the one that was demolished back in 1990 when it became economically unfeasible; operating costs were outstripping revenues.
What originally began as only a $1,240,000 artificial turf project was transformed into a $1,808,500 stadium project when-at the January 3, 2007, Park Board meeting-the Park Board authorized the spending of $568,500 for “amenities.” These amenities included a $48,000 electronic scoreboard, a $17,500 sound system, grandstands with stadium chair seating, ramp systems and a press box for the media. This project was made possible with funds provided by the NFL and CLIC.
Construction for the new Parade Stadium is scheduled to begin this spring. Yet there’s a lack of clarity for those of us taxpayers who have been following this project as to precisely WHO is going to use this publicly financed facility and WHERE the revenues to maintain it are going to come from and WHAT it’s going to look like. I believe it is general practice in most organizations to plan first, build later-not build first, plan later.
Where is the hard statistical evidence that a stadium is a Park Board necessity? I have no problem with a multi-purpose artificial turf playing field, which is what we were led to believe was being constructed. But the upgrade to a stadium came as a surprise. If you are building it for the Thunder, another question is why should the Park Board be subsidizing a professional sports organization on Park Board property with Park Board funds? That is not part of our parks’ mission.
As you know, according to Park Board Ordinance 99-101, the Park Board is mandated to convene a Citizens Advisory Committee “when park facility construction or redevelop- ment projects are proposed.”
So far, I’ve not heard mention of a CAC. With the contract let and construction slated for this spring, the time to convene a CAC is now, prior to construction. I am concerned that you may be attempting to expedite construction by avoiding a CAC. Avoiding a CAC would be in violation of Park Board ordinances.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your reply.