Harriet Concessions Report In; No Actions, Hearing Until Later

The following article by Cristof Traudes was published in the February 8, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:

HARRIET CONCESSIONS REPORT IN; NO ACTIONS, HEARING UNTIL LATER

The citizens’ committee tasked with making recommendations on the future of concessions at Lake Harriet has officially disbanded after completing and presenting its report to the Park Board.

After meetings that lasted from spring through the end of the year, the 12-member group came out with a 342-page document. The committee formed in the wake of a staff proposal that, to change up food options at Lake Harriet, a new building be put up to house concession staples such as popcorn and ice cream.

As expected, the group’s report went in another direction. While expanded food offerings are part of the recommendation, the committee suggested changing the interior layout of the existing refectory building, eliminating its breezeway to allow for more kitchen space. Not part of the recommendation: a new building.

Commissioners praised the committee for its extensive work, which involved almost double the number of originally scheduled meetings, as well as surveys, a community open house and a social media website.

“I’ve never seen a report like this,” Commissioner Bob Fine said. “I think they’ve done a tremendous job.”

The board isn’t expected to take any immediate action or hold public hearings on building changes until a new vendor is found, General Manager Don Siggelkow said. It’s possible, he said, that a concessionaire could be found who would be able to expand food options without changes to the existing building, “although I doubt it.”

Siggelkow said the process will be laid out at the board’s Feb. 17 meeting.

Concessions will remain as is this summer.