5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Superintendent Jon Gurban submitted his monthly activity report. The Board approved the new 2008 golf rates and the schematic design for the East River Parkway Trail Improvements.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Harvey Ettinger, a longtime resident of East Isles, spoke of how Lake of the Isles Parkway has deteriorated this winter to the point that driving it has become dangerous with cars hitting potholes and needing to be towed away because of the damages sustained. He urged the Park Board to help in addressing the problem.

In honor of the national initiative Sunshine Week, Arlene Fried spoke about the importance of the Data Practices Act as a tool for citizens to use to obtain Government Information. Her presentation has already been posted on Park Watch.

6:00 P.M. COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE. Jennifer Ringold spoke about the Capital Improvement Planning Process and Karen Robinson gave a report about the 5-year financial outlook (“a substantial decrease in income”) and suggested that the Board consider asking the Board of Estimate and Taxation to increase the maximum tax levy for 2009.

In conclusion, I found one item worth noting with alarm: “The CIP will account for: A renewal of the existing infrastructure to meet community needs. This will include tax-supported and enterprise infrastructure in regional and neighborhood parks.” The word “enterprise” has been associated with some expensive failures i.e., lawsuits. The Park Board is still accumulating legal bills for the unresolved Fuji-ya/Wave contract and for the 201 Building/skate park at Ft. Snelling, which ended up in the courts because–for one reason–when it failed, there was no construction bond on the project. The Park Board’s history with enterprise projects is less than stellar. And when projects fail, they are not examined so that everyone has an understanding of what the problems were so that they are not repeated.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch