Significant Questions Regarding DeLaSalle/Park Board Agreement Remain Unanswered

This was submitted to the Minneapolis Issues Forum on 01/22/08 by Liz Wielinski and Shawne FitzGerald.

On Wednesday, the MPRB Commissioners are being asked to amend the Reciprocal Use Agreement (RUA) with DeLaSalle High School – including these key provisions:

“13.2.7 Termination of the Governmental Program of youth soccer and football or change in the Governmental Program that no longer allows the Public Entity [MPRB] to continue to own or operate the Facility for the Governmental Program pursuant to Minnesota Statutes section 471.16.”

NOT an attorney so here’s a few questions… Does this mean that the MPRB will own and operate the facility? Is DeLaSalle building the MPRB a football field on their land and the park board’s and then giving it to the MPRB? Does “ownership” change hands hourly depending on who is
doing the scheduling? Are youth soccer and football the ONLY things that the MPRB can program on the field?

“13.4 Termination of Governmental Program or Nonrenewal. If this Agreement terminates automatically pursuant to Section 13.2.7, or if the MPRB elects in its sole discretion to not renew this Agreement after DeLaSalle requests a renewal pursuant to Section 3.2, then the MPRB shall construct on MPRB property adjacent to the DeLaSalle Property an Athletic Facility, for use by DeLaSalle, in satisfaction of the May 19, 1983 Nicollet Island Agreement….”

Confused again.. If the MPRB decides not to renew the agreement in 20 years ( say the lightrail goes through the northern end zone and the MPRB has no choice but to turn over the land or they quit programming youth soccer/ football) does this mean that the citizens of Minneapolis HAVE to build them another field someplace on the Island? Where exactly? Tear down the INN? Tear down the Pavillion? Build it where the parking lots are? Where else will one fit and is property that listed in the agreement? Or does the “definition” of adjacent change to include sites
off island like BF Nelson or Boom Island if there isn’t anywhere on the island that is the correct dimensions?

Also, the term of the initial use agreement is reduced from 30 to 20 years with three renewal terms of 20-20-10 years for a total of 70 years. The RUA amendments are listed as unfinished business so it looks like this will not go back to the CAC, to the neighborhood groups, or to
an MPRB Committee. Public notice will be posted on the MPRB website, http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37, tomorrow.

I look forward to these questions and many others being hashed out at the MPRB meeting on Wednesday. Who exactly is protecting the interests of the taxpaying public with this deal?

Liz Wielinski
Columbia Park