Reprinted from the Star Tribune Website Netlets for Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007 with permission from the Star Tribune and the author.
Though the publicity about DeLaSalle’s groundbreaking last week creates the impression that the school’s athletic field is a “done deal,” this is far from the reality, as a listing of the remaining hurdles quickly shows.
Currently three lawsuits are moving forward, including one in the Minnesota Court of Appeals where the ruling will be issued by mid-December. That court can order DeLaSalle to search among the many options that have been identified for an alternate location that would not destroy historic resources.
The reciprocal agreement, which is the basis for shared use of the land by DeLaSalle and the Minneapolis Park Board, has been rejected by the state finance commissioner. Since the public land proposed for the project was purchased with state bonds, compliance requires the Park Board to control the land, a standard the DeLaSalle/Park Board agreement did not meet. One solution might entail the Park Board leasing DeLaSalle’s portion of the Nicollet Island land. Alternatively, the Park Board could sell the land and reimburse the state for the amount of bonding.
Rulings on the archeology plan for excavation of up to 5 feet of surface in the Historic District and natural vs. artificial turf are upcoming. A significant problem remains over questions of ownership and control of pertinent parking lots, and the city cannot issue permits until they are resolved.
Virtually everyone involved in both sides of the controversy want a field for the kids of Minneapolis and DeLaSalle. If an Appeals Court ruling opens consideration of appropriate locations outside the historic district, we may begin to see real progress toward making that a reality. But until the substantial problems are resolved and the courts reach their decisions, DeLaSalle’s home field is far from a “done deal.”
CHRISTINE VIKEN, NEWPORT