Monthly Archives: June 2009

WOMENWINNING IS SUPPORTING LIZ WIELINSKI AND ANNIE YOUNG FOR PARK BOARD

Liz Wielinski and Annie Young have been endorsed for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board by Womenwinning, a PAC that supports women’s political campaigns in Minnesota. Womenwinning was established in 1982 by a group of 25 bi-partisan women who wanted to increase the number of women in public office. Since 1982, it has given more than $1 million to more than 1000 women’s campaigns through direct contributions and support for training and recruitment.

The following bios are from the Womenwinning website http://womenwinning.org

LIZ WIELINSKI is running as the DFL candidate for District 1 Commissioner of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. She has been a community activist for many years, with a focus on getting more women elected and promoted to leadership positions. Liz has served in the DFL party, as President of the Columbia Park Neighborhood Association and is a co-founder of Minneapolis Park Watch. If elected, she will focus on increasing citizen review and participation, distributing resources equitably, protecting our trees, and implementing practices to make the Park Board more transparent and accountable

ANNIE YOUNG has been the At-large Commissioner for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board since 1989 and is seeking re-election. Annie received the Mother of Environmental Justice Award in October 2006 and has focused her work on the three E’s: environment, economics and social equity. Annie’s key issues are promoting green thinking in the park system, raising support for girls’ recreational activities, and advocating for more citizen participation in Park Board decision making. She is running in a highly contested race with three challengers.

Calhoun Windsurfers Fear Reduction In Usable Beach

The Lake Calhoun South Shore Parking and Plaza project, which Park Board staff is advancing without Park Board approval or public input, has been criticized by windsurfers who have numerous concerns about the project. Other members of the public have concerns as well. The following segment was aired June 12, 2009 on WCCO-TV.

Short video link:
http://wcco.com/video/?id=61775@wcco.dayport.com

CALHOUN WINDSURFERS FEAR REDUCTION IN USABLE BEACH
Reporting Darcy Pohland MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)

They’ve been a big part of the Lake Calhoun summer scene for decades. But over the years, it’s grown harder for windsurfers to get to the water in Minneapolis. CBS

Day after day of windy weather this spring is a dream for local windsurfers. They hit Lake Calhoun as soon as the ice was out in April.

But now, they’re fighting a Minneapolis Park Board plan which they say would restrict their access to the lake.

“As we’re sailing we can see people pointing at us and watching. It just adds some color and life to the lake,” said windsurfer Mike Chummers.

They’ve been a big part of the Lake Calhoun summer scene for decades. But over the years, it’s grown harder for windsurfers to get to the water in Minneapolis.

“Lake Harriet used to be a sailing lake. It isn’t anymore. There was a sewer project, so that was eliminated as a sailing lake,” said windsurfer Mariss Lansky.

Different underwater obstacles to stabilize the shoreline restrict sail board access to only the north and south beaches. Places with enough room for rigging equipment.

“We need an area like this to not interfere with the bikers and joggers and everyone else,” said Chummers.

A park board plan to expand the south beach parking lot calls for a reconfiguration of the bike and walking path.

“And could potentially eliminate this site as a launch area,” said Lansky.

Windsurfers worry that narrowing or eliminating the grassy area makes them a greater danger to those using the walking or bike paths.

The park board said it’s worked hard to try to resolve the windsurfer’s concerns and made several changes to the plan as a compromise.

“Our concern is that it really becomes part of real public input and not just some lip service with some of the windsurfers,” said Lansky.

The plan will move the bike path 8 feet closer to the walking path for safety reasons. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall.

PHANTOM LOSSES

According to an article by Steve Brandt in the June 8, 2009 issue of the Star Tribune about the I-35W Bridge girders littering Bohemian Flats parkland, the Park Board claims that it is losing $20,000 “because a private excursion boat can’t operate there.”

However, both of the private boats, which have a contract with the Park Board, are docked up river at Boom Island (also MPRB parkland) and are running their cruises from there. In fact, the 2008 Paradise Cruises’ website refers to Boom Island as their port. I have seen the boats–the Mississippi Queen and the Paradise Lady–at Boom Island last year and again this year.

So it is hard to understand how the Park Board staff can claim that the excursion boat company and the Park Board have been losing revenue when the boats are–and have been–operating.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

MORE ABOUT LAKE CALHOUN'S $350,00 PARKING LOT RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT.

The Park Board staff is calling the project a maintenance project. However, according to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, maintenance is “periodic expenditures undertaken to preserve or retain an asset’s operational status for its originally intended use. These expenditures do not improve or extend the life of asset.”

Clearly, this reconstruction project, which will improve and extend the life of the parking lot, is more than maintenance; it is a capital improvement project and should be referred to as such. But for some mysterious reason, both the staff and Commissioner Bob Fine continue to insist that it is not a capital improvement project and that citizen input is not mandated.

This is an election year and, hopefully, voters who believe in citizen participation will be taking note of this issue.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

The following article by Cristof Traudes about the controversy appeared in the June 15, 2009 issue of the Southwest Journal.

CONTRACTOR BIDDING TO OPEN FOR CALHOUN PARKING LOT

Park Board staff is expected to open contractor bidding later this month for the makeover of the south-shore parking lot on Lake Calhoun.

The about $350,000 project, which will be funded by the Metropolitan Council, would upgrade what currently is a lot in poor condition, project manager Andrea Weber has said. In an e-mail, Weber said the width of the parking lot is awkward and striping is fading away. Stormwater also currently flows directly into Lake Calhoun.

The project would increase the number of parking spots, Weber said, to 50 from a current maximum of about 42, depending on how people park. Rain gardens will be added to mitigate runoff, while new lighting will be installed for safety.

Several trees already have been removed at the site. Construction is slated to begin in late August.

Meanwhile, some Southwest residents continue to be upset at the way the project has moved ahead without commissioners’ review. Staff has upheld that it’s categorized as a maintenance project and therefore doesn’t need public input or Park Board approval, something echoed by Commissioner Bob Fine, whose district includes Lake Calhoun’s south shore.

In an April letter, 10 residents — including Park Board candidate Anita Tabb — from seven different neighborhoods said that this is really a capital improvement project and that, by Park Board guidelines, it requires the creation of a citizen’s advisory committee.

Fine brushed off the suggestion, saying he didn’t consider the letter representative of what most citizens think. He noted that some of the signers were members of the watchdog group Park Watch, with which he has had a strained relationship.

MPRB Unalloted $2.5 million for 2010 Budget

During the MPRB meeting of June 17th as part of the Superintendent’s budget wrap up for 2008 he discussed the expected LGA ( Local Government Aid) unallotment allocations for the MPRB for 2009 and 2010 based on the current plan proposed by the governor.

Due to the expectation of unallotment the MPRB did not budget to use their 2009 LGA increase of $770,000 and will not need to find cuts for that amount, though cuts will need to be made ( or revenues found ). It was the big decrease in 2010 that will need to be worked out as the budget planning for next year proceeds.

In an effort to have more community input for the budget, the commissioners have taken the MPRB on the road to hold listening sessions. If you missed the meetings in May at Armatage and June at Bottineau there are more to come. There is also an opportunity to fill out an online survey on the Park Board’s website here.

There will need to be real cuts or new revenues found ( often fee hikes and more parking meters) so let the commissioners know how you feel.

Please take the time to make your opinions known.

Liz Wielinski
co-founder Parkwatch
Candidate for Park District 1

MPRB Board Meeting

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissioners Meeting

Commissioners Walt Dziedzic, Bob Fine, Carol Kummer, Mary Merrill Anderson, Tracy Nordstrom, Tom Nordyke, Jon Olson, Scott Vreeland and Annie Young

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Comcast cable network Channel 14 and online on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel.
Rebroadcast and webcast archive information.

Date: 8/19/2009
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Webcast: Tune in to see the meeting live online.
Type: Regular
Location: MPRB Administrative Offices, Board Room Suite 255
Address: 2117 West River Road

Park Board Agenda

MPRB Board Meeting

Details for
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissioners Meeting

Commissioners Walt Dziedzic, Bob Fine, Carol Kummer, Mary Merrill Anderson, Tracy Nordstrom, Tom Nordyke, Jon Olson, Scott Vreeland and Annie Young
May-October 2009
The first board meeting of the month for August, September, and October are scheduled in parks and include a park tour along with a public listening session. Live broadcast of these meetings is not available. Audio and video recordings will be posted on the MPRB website the following week. These recordings are made possible through the generosity of the Institute of Production and Recording.

The second meeting of the month will continue to be held at MPRB Administrative Offices, Board Room, Suite 225, with the normal airing schedule.

More Information

Date: 8/5/2009
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Type: Regular
Location: Elliot Park multi-purpose room
Address: 1000 14th St. E

Park Board Agenda

MPRB Board Meeting

Details for
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissioners Meeting

Commissioners Walt Dziedzic, Bob Fine, Carol Kummer, Mary Merrill Anderson, Tracy Nordstrom, Tom Nordyke, Jon Olson, Scott Vreeland and Annie Young

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Comcast cable network Channel 14 and online on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel.
Rebroadcast and webcast archive information.

Date: 7/15/2009
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Webcast: Tune in to see the meeting live online.
Type: Regular
Location: MPRB Administrative Offices, Board Room Suite 255
Address: 2117 West River Road

Park Board Agenda