Monthly Archives: March 2007


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.


Arlene Fried
Co-founder Parkwatch

Park officials want to raise Minneapolis' sweat factor

Some Minneapolis park leaders are pushing the idea of combatting obesity by putting small fitness centers in neighborhood parks for residents who can’t afford health club fees.
By Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune

Minneapolis residents who can’t afford to fight fat at health clubs might someday get some help from the city park system.

Star Tribune

St. Paul approves parkland mandate

If you build it, add some green space, the new ordinance tells developers. The Chamber of Commerce says it’s bad policy.
By Myron P. Medcalf
The St. Paul City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that requires developers to deliver parkland with their developments, making Mayor Chris Coleman happy but displeasing the Chamber of Commerce.

Star Tribune

Letter of the day: Who's looking out for acclaimed landmark?

Published: March 23, 2007
For many years, we have admired the graceful, whimsical Lake Harriet bandshell/pavilion that has reigned serenely over one of our most beautiful city lakes. We are aware that its architect, Milo Thompson, deservedly won many awards for the Bandshell/Pavilion, including a Minnesota Honor Award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a very prestigious National Honor Award in 1990.

Star Tribune

Dredging Loring Pond/Destroying Habitat

I’m angry about the timing of the dredging of the Loring Pond.*

By the time work got underway last week, hundreds of male red-winged blackbirds had already returned to the pond for mating season. Obviously the project won’t be halted, but I have to wonder weather wildlife experts were consulted during the exploratory phase. The male red-wings are staking out territory in anticipation of the return of the females. It’s heartbreaking to watch these beautiful birds trying to secure their roosts with a John Deere excavator bearing down on them like some science fiction beast.

Why did the MPRB not wait until the end of the season — say, October — to tear up their habitat?

*”The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) at its Feb. 21 meeting approved a proposal to dredge the northwest bay of Loring Pond to eliminate the invasion of cattail that has choked much of the original shoreline that was restored in 1999.
The restoration stabilized the shoreline, improved wildlife habitat and reduced geese problems in the eight-acre pond. “It was successful until the cattails moved in,” explains Sara Aplikowski, MPRB water resources coordinator. “Cattails have taken over and replaced a beautiful native, diverse shoreline planting.”

MPRB and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agree on dredging the 1.3 acres of the northwest bay as the solution to alleviate the cattail invasion.

Dredging the northwest bay and under the bridge will also restore the water levels to enable the return of non-motorized recreational boating, and the island will once more be a distinguishable feature. In addition, the deeper water level will make the pond less attractive to cattails.

Funding for the $73,850 maintenance project is from MPRB’s 2007 water resources budget. Work is expected to begin in March and will take two to three weeks, weather permitting.”–from the MPRB website

Development roundup: Wave developers file lawsuit against Park Board

The latest illustration of the Wave, a condo project proposed for Downtown’s riverfront.The developer and the Park Board are in a legal dispute over the deal.
By Michelle Bruch

Developers behind the Wave condo project proposed for the riverfront have sued the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for breach of contract.
Downtown Journal

Regular Board Meeting

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissisoners Meeting

Commissioners Mary Merrill Anderson, Walt Dziedzic, Bob Fine, Carol Kummer, Tom Nordyke, Tracy Nordstrom, Scott Vreeland, Annie Young and President Jon Olson

Rebroadcasts of current meetings can be seen on Channel 14 only on Thursday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Rebroadcast of the previous meeting can be seen on Channel 14 on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 a.m.

Date: 4/04/2007
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Webcast: Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Type: Regular
Location: MPRB Administrative Offices, Board Room Suite 255
Address: 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis

Park Board Agenda

St. Paul / New homes demand new parks

critics say Allocate green space or add to fund, law would tell builders

University Avenue’s new Rondo Community Outreach Library brought something more than books to a once seedy corner of St. Paul: children.

Kids whose families have moved into the apartments above the library need to walk a ways before they find a park. They’ve taken to playing in the yards of nearby houses and a Wendy’s restaurant parking lot.

And in that, some people see a flaw in the way St. Paul does development.

St. Paul Pioneer Press