Monthly Archives: June 2008

DELASALLE STADIUM PROJECT STILL STALLED

The following press release provides an update on the DeLaSalle Stadium project:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

info@ourbeautifulriver.org
http://www.ourbeautifulriver.org

DELASALLE STADIUM FACES DIFFICULTIES BEYOND COURT DECISION

MINNEAPOLIS, JUNE 24, 2008 — Today the state Court of Appeals opted not to return to district course a lawsuit against DeLaSalle High School’s planned stadium on Nicollet Island. But DeLaSalle, a private institution seeking to build on public land, still faces multiple difficulties. Minneapolis won’t issue a building permit due to parking shortfalls, and the school must find a way to avoid repaying taxpayers for building on public land valued at $2 million.

The private school has had persistent problems getting a building permit from the City of Minneapolis. DeLaSalle hasn’t found a way to meet minimum parking requirements for a 750-seat stadium and so far hasn’t got an adequate plan to handle stormwater for a project that would be just feet from the Mississippi River.

DeLaSalle also faces significant hurdles in its effort to avoid repaying taxpayers for the removal from the regional park system of $2 million in parkland for the project. A faulty land swap that failed to settle the debt is the subject of a lawsuit now pending at the state Court of Appeals.

Finding space for parking and handling stormwater runoff are basic requirements for building a 750-person stadium on a cramped 40-acre island in the middle of the Mississippi River. Joining Friends of the Riverfront in asking DeLaSalle to consider alternatives are the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Friends of the Mississippi River and the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter.

Nicollet Island is part of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and a national park: the National Mississippi River and Recreation Area. It’s also part of Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, which attracts a million visitors every year.

Friends of the Riverfront is a citizens group that works to conserve, protect and enhance the resources of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park. Visit http://www.ourbeautifulriver.org for more information.

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ADVERTISING IN THE PARKS–CONTINUED

The following item by Chris Steller appeared in the June 26, 2008, on-line issue of The Minnesota Independent, found at www.minnesotaindependent.com/view/illegal-pipes-not.

Qwest posted an ad on Minneapolis parkland during the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts June 14-15

By Chris Steller, Jun 17 2008

Minneapolis city officials say there are sure to be more illegal hookups to the storm sewer system like the one that for decades drained water from the Minikahda Club swimming pool into Lake Calhoun as reported by the Minnesota Independent. The city’s chief inspector for utility connections, Bradley Blackhawk, doesn’t know where but “there’s more out there,” he told the Southwest Journal. A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency investigation is pending. An MPCA spokesperson speculated that a fine against the private club is likely, and the City of Minneapolis may also take action.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board caught flak for the banners promoting Lowe’s hardware chain that commissioners approved June 4, the Journal’s Cristof Traudes also reports. Lowe’s banners will hang in Loring Park and at the Parade Ice Garden from July through December. Park commissioners should “ask Lowe’s to make a donation to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, or negotiate for a plaque inside the park building — something a little more philanthropic and a lot less commercial,” suggested Dan Woychick, East Harriet representative on the park board’s Lakes District Council, who has previously sought specifics on the park board’s fundraising goals. Said MPRB General Manager Don Siggelkow: “No one likes the Lowe’s sign, but you don’t get the money without the sign.”

On June 18, the board’s Standards and Conduct Committee begins what staff envisions as a nine-month process to set a policy of sponsorships and naming rights. The board will hold three study sessions on the topic and get an appraisal from Intemark, a locally based marketing firm, on the value of its programs and facilities to corporate and individual donors wishing to name or sponsor something.

Intemark brokered a lucrative sponsorship package for Toyota with the St. Paul and Minneapolis parks, but the MPRB handled the Lowe’s deal and the naming of Jim Lupient Water Park itself, without knowing their market value to sponsors. A Red Bull-sponsored photo exhibit will put 25 eight-foot cubes down the center of the Stone Arch Bridge July 10—20; a Minneapolis park staff person has not responded to messages from the Minnesota Monitor requesting information about that sponsorship.

ADVERTISING IN THE PARKS

The following article from the June 16, 2008, issue of the Southwest Journal aptly describes the discussion that occurred at the June 4 Park Board meeting regarding the concerns that several commissioners expressed about the Lowe’s donation that was given to the Park Board with strings attached.

Park Board accepts but struggles over $90,000 donation
By Cristof Traudes

In many cases, an unsolicited $90,000 donation would be welcomed with open arms. But such an offer from hardware store chain Lowe’s put at least one member of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board in a tangle.

The issue? Because the Park Board is accepting the money, it also will have to allow signs and banners proclaiming Lowe’s presence.

The donation originated with the chain, which is planning on spending an average of $15,000 each on six Minneapolis parks of its choosing. They include Parade, Harrison and Loring parks.

The Park Board, which will choose what the money is spent on, has decided to focus primarily on fixing up kitchens at those parks’ buildings. For Loring Park, they’ve asked to add a shed, and for Parade Park, they’ve requested safety lighting for the parking lot and a refurbished toilet building.

While most commissioners said the money would be welcomed by the cash-strapped board, they all struggled with whether they would be opening up a can of worms because of the required signage. Commissioner Annie Young was especially worried.

“I still believe it’s a slippery slope,” Young said at the board’s June 4 meeting. Two weeks earlier, she had been the only Administration and Finance Committee member to abstain from voting to move the Lowe’s proposal to the full board.

At that meeting, other commissioners voiced their concerns, particularly Committee Chairman Scott Vreeland.

“We want to be careful,” he said. “We have all sorts of folks who want to do things for us with very little in advertising.”

Furthermore, donations aren’t what keep the parks afloat.

“If I walk into [a park] and it says, ‘This area brought to you by Lowe’s,’ that bugs me,” Vreeland said, “because this area is brought to us by taxpayers.”

The donation proposal, presented to commissioners in May, asked for 11-inch by 17-inch indoor signs and 8-foot by 2-foot banners outside. But because of their concerns, the Park Board went back to Lowe’s and has asked to take the size of the banners down to 6 feet by 2 feet. Grants coordinator Michelle Kellogg also said they’ve requested the banners be hung in locations where they wouldn’t be easily seen from homes.

That wasn’t enough of a change for Young.

“Two by six is still a big banner,” she said.

To other commissioners, the projects made possible by the donation warranted the board to accept it. Commissioner Jon Olson emphasized that the indoor signs will not be very large and that, as part of the agreement with Lowe’s, the outdoor banners will stay only through the end of December or until they are damaged.

“A lot of the rec centers can use these new things,” Olson said.

The board ultimately voted 8-1 to accept the donation; Young was the only commissioner to vote against it.

Vice President Mary Merrill Anderson said the issue made it clear the board needed to adopt a clear policy on how to deal with future corporate donations. She said the Standards and Conduct Committee, which she is the chairwoman of, would take on the subject.

“It can be a slippery slope,” she said, “until we set some
guidelines.”

Those couldn’t come soon enough, General Manager Don Siggelkow said, because the board likely will face more of these issues as government funding sources continue to shrink. He said it would be wrong of the board to shut out corporate sponsorships.

“No one likes the Lowe’s sign, but you don’t get the money without the sign,” Siggelkow said.

Some constituents are having a tough time swallowing that argument. In the past, the board has faced clear opposition when dealing with corporate partnerships. For example, when it tried in 2002 to contract with Dairy Queen to operate concession stands at Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, it had to back off after hitting strong public opposition.

And the board already has faced some pushback from the public on the Lowe’s issue. Dan Woychick, of the Lakes District Council, sent an e-mail to several Park Board members after learning of the proposal.

“While I understand the need for the [Park Board] to generate new sources of revenue,” Woychick wrote, “ask Lowe’s to make a donation to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, or negotiate for a plaque inside the park building — something a little more philanthropic and a lot less commercial.”

There are no Lowe’s stores in Minneapolis; the closest are in Plymouth and West St. Paul.

HEADS UP FOR THE JUNE 18, 2008 PARK BOARD MEETING

Some highlights:

5:00 P.M. REGULAR MEETING.

Reports of officers.

The Board will be voting to approve the Lower Glen cooperative agreement with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to repair the WPA walls at Minnehaha Falls and to restore the Lower Glen in Minnehaha Park for an amount not to exceed $2,871,000 from the Park Board.

Discussion of the 5-year Implementation Plan for the Comprehensive Plan and also of the 2009 Board Priorities.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME

5:40 P.M. STANDARDS & CONDUCT. There will be two report items: One on Board rules and a second on sponsorship and naming in the park system.

6:05 P.M. ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE COMMITTEE. The committee will be voting to approve the lease agreement between the MPRB and Eastside Neighborhood Services.

There will be two report items: The first is the Mayor’s 2009 Budget meeting and the second is the 2009 Financial Overview.

6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARING ON THE GRAND ROUNDS MISSING LINK.

The meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 14 from 5 to 9 P.M. and on the web at http://www.minneapolisparks.org

The complete agenda is usually available Monday or Tuesday on the Park Board’s website.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

HEADS UP FOR THE JUNE 4, 2008 PARK BOARD MEETING

Some highlights:

5:00 P.M. REGULAR MEETING. The Board will be voting on the approval of a Lower Glen cooperative agreement with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to cooperatively repair the WPA walls at Minnehaha Falls and to restore the Lower Glen in Minnehaha Park for an amount not to exceed $2,871,000 from the Park Board.

The Board will be voting on accepting the report by the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Grand Rounds Missing Link that was presented at the previous Park Board meeting.

The Board will be voting on an agreement with Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. to provide $90,000 in materials and labor for improvements at parks and/or playgrounds. This item has caught the attention of concerned park supporters who have a variety of concerns and questions about advertising in the parks. It seems that with this contract and with the previous contract with Toyota, the Park Board has started its slide down the slippery slope towards random advertising in the parks. In fairness to ALL of those who volunteer time and services and ALL of those who provide financial support for the MPRB that the Park Board needs to establish a clear policy regarding sponsorships and advertising in the parks–and it should do so BEFORE entering into contracts which are based on the condition of advertising. Read more about this issue on a recent Park Watch post.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME.

6:00 P.M. ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE. Karen Robinson and Julie Wiseman will give a 20 minute report on the 2009 Budget.

6:20 P.M. LEGISLATION & INTERGOVERNMENT COMMITTEE. There will be a 30 minute report on the 2008 Legislative End of the Session wrap-up by lobbyists Brian Rice, Kirk Pederson and Maryann Campo.

The meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 14 from 5 to 9 P.M. and on the web at http://www.minneapolisparks.org

The complete agenda is usually available Monday or Tuesday on the Park Board’s website.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

MPRB Meeting Highlights for 5-21-08

Regular Meeting 5:00

Agenda is changed to remove the New Business with the Twin City Catering issue ( they should have been paying taxes on the portion of the MPRB Headquarters building they lease for their headquarters … will they re-negotiate their lease? will they be forgiven the back taxes? ) and to remove the motion regarding the agreement for Victory Memorial DR improvements to accommodate buses.

Reports of Officers

Superintendent Gurban: 7 buses of Best Buy volunteers worked in Minnehaha Park ( and they didn’t need a sign for 6-8 months to say they were there)
GM Siggelkow: Putt Putt Golf at NE Park in bidding process
GM Schmidt: Arbor Day 2007 award.
Chief Johnson: Appreciation event for School Safety Patrol kids at MOA, Fundraising Gold Medal from Special Olympics for 06-07 ($75,000 raised), National Police Memorial Week… group in DC with the Bedard Family
CSD Mammen: Juneteenth 6/21 at Wirth Park, 7 parks will have extended summer hours.

Consent Business is passed with some discussion

1/3 of the headquarters building roof is being replaced ( water issues on this building that was rehabbed only 5 years ago ) Commissioner Young had a question about possibly going Green on the roof ( too expensive and must be done ASAP)

Indoor rec turf as Parade Ice Garden…. not the stuff with the ground tire underlayer

Met Council dollars for Improvements at Minnehaha/ Wabun/Lower Glen ( 2 different motions some confusion )

There was no comment on the contract awarded to Simon Delivers for up to $110,000 for grocery deliveries, there was also no sign of an RFP ( request for proposal… bidding) for this expense unlike the other items under consent business.

Reports of Standing Committees

East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center… Timeline, Benchmarks and Design approval- discussion was around cost, operating costs and design
Role Call Vote
For: Vreeland, Young, Merrill-Anderson, Nordstrom and Nordyke
Against: Fine, Olson, Dziedzic and Kummer

Exclusive Lease for SEED Academy/ Harvest Prep for Humboldt Triangle Park. Discussion stated that there would be NO Fence so not exactly exclusive. As to the use of volunteer labor etc… for erecting the equipment, the liability for any incidents is discussed in the contract and goes to the school which was presented as the reason this has not happened in the past.

Appointment of an Ad-Hoc Superintendent Review Committee
Chair- Commissioner Young, Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Dziedzic with Karen Robinson as staff support

No OPEN TIME SPEAKERS

6:05 Planning Committee

Approve Lower Glen Cooperative Agreement with the Minnehaha Watershed District to repair the WPA walls at Minnehaha Falls. In a brave (?) new move the committee passed this forward without recommendation because Brian Rice had not checked over the agreement though his staff had and approved it.

Grand Rounds Missing Link CAC recommendation.
Dates for public hearing announced 6-18 at the MPRB, 6-23 at Van Cleve Park and 7-1 at Windom Park ( all start at 6:30pm ). Commissioner Dziedzic withdrew his support for the Stinson Parkway part of the “recreational loop”.

7:25 Operations and Environment
Forestry Update… 2 Arbor Day events one at Lake of the Isles with Kenwood and Jefferson Schools, 2nd at Perkins Hill Park with Cityview School as a reward for the 2nd grade reading program ( 100 books read earned a tree… 65 trees planted ). Trees planted and stumps ground.

2008 Environmental Ed Programs (contact Jamie Mc Bride to get e-mail notifications of the programs jmcbride@minneapolisparks.org )
Eloise Butler… new programs including the Wild Mustard recipes with local chef’s

Teen Teamworks update and new crew leaders introduced.

8:10 Admin and Finance

Lowe’s agreement: Discussion of $90,000 of materials and labor to be donated… locations decided upon by Lowe’s, signs( 11″x17″ ) to be posted either next to donation or a banner in the park (2’x4’x8′ from time of donation until the sign is damaged or 12-31-2008 whichever is first). No projects picked in the River District ( north of hwy 55 and east of the river).

From parts 9, 10 and 11 of the agreement…. ( Sponsor is Lowe’s , Recipient is MPRB )

“9) Sponsor MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR ANY OTHER MATTER WITH RESPECT TO ANY OF THE MATERIALS, whether used or alone in connection with other products or substances.”

“10) Recipient does hereby release and forever discharge Sponsor from any and all liability that may arise from or otherwise be related to the Donation or from and act or omission by Sponsor in connection with the Project”

“11) Recipient represents and warrants that it has adequate property insurance through a reputable and financially responsible insurance company, which insurance shall be in amounts and for that coverage which shall properly safeguard Recipient and Sponsor against liability for any damage to property and that it will provide evidence of such insurance. Recipient warrants that it is self insured in an amount sufficient to meet Minnesota statutory limits or general liability for injury to persons, including injuries resulting in death.”

2009 Budget: Schedule given for remainder of the year and discussion of how the new levy cap will affect the MPRB.

8:45…. I had to go home but there was still Standards and Conduct and the naming policy to go…