Dear Chairman Fine and Committee Members Dziedzic, Merrill Anderson, Nordstrom and Young,
We are pleased that the MPRB is recognizing the importance of a Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) for the proposed redo of the North Shore node of the Lake Harriet Regional Park; but disappointed that the charge to the CAC is being limited to only the “schematic design and site” for the proposed and controversial new concession building, which is only one component of the much broader plan for the area.
We would hope that you will recognize the necessity of a review by citizens of all of the changes being proposed by Park Board staff for the entire band shell area.
It is not just the construction of another building that citizens are concerned about, but also the many other alterations referred to in the RFP and the vendor contracts that will dramatically impact the ambiance and character of the area. It is quite disturbing that the MPRB is on the verge of signing new vendor agreements with Sea Salt and Wheel Fun before the public has had an opportunity to be heard and provide input. Why is General Manager Siggelkow so anxious to fast track these agreements?
The Park Board needs to proceed with caution when initiating changes to a site regarded as a major urban landmark. Many of us still have not recovered from the shock of seeing Lake Harriet’s beautiful blue band shell become a bland beige band shell when the public was excluded from this executive decision.
The CAC and the public need to have the opportunity to review all the proposed changes being advocated by MPRB staff. In addition to the construction of a new concession building, these changes include the retrofitting of up to $100,000 of “permanent fixtures” for the interior of the existing refectory; “enhanced” seating; change of menu to seafood themed restaurant; the introduction of alcoholic beverages to the menu; expanded hours; two different food vendors; recreational vehicles and boats to be rented by Wheel Fun, etc.
Furthermore, the CAC needs to also review the congruency and compatibility of these proposed changes with the other new improvements being introduced by People for Parks to the area adjacent to the band shell.
With the exception of the temporary vendor at Lake Harriet’s refectory, no agreements of any kind should be drawn up or signed prior to the CAC review and the subsequent Public Hearing.
Hopefully, you will be understanding of the public’s desire and right to participate in a comprehensive review of the proposed plan for the entire north shore Lake Harriet redo. Accordingly, the CAC’s charge needs to be expanded so that it includes all of the proposed changes.
Thanking you for your consideration of this important matter.
Harvey Ettinger Arlene Fried
EIRA Resident Bryn Mawr Resident
MPRB President Tom Nordyke
MPRB Commissioner Carol Kummer
MPRB Commissioner Jon Olson
MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland
Mayor R.T. Rybak
Council Member Betsy Hodges
Dan Woychick, East Harriet Neighborhood Assn.
Kathy Urberg, Linden Hills Neighborhood Assn.
NIcole Tommerdahl, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Sam Barnes, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Metropolitan Council Member Peggy Leppik