Monthly Archives: June 2010

No Fountain At Calhoun South Shore

The following article by Cristof Traudes was published in the May 31, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:

NO FOUNTAIN AT CALHOUN SOUTH SHORE

Commissioners say ‘no thanks’ to artistic fountain at Calhoun

Given the choice of a framed view vs. an open view of the city skyline from the south shore of Lake Calhoun, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board opted for the latter.



Commissioners received a study report May 19 on the possibility of installing an artist-designed water fountain near the intersection of Calhoun and William Berry parkways, where the Park Board is currently renovating a parking lot. The 14-foot structure, a bright red curved arrow, would have been angled to frame Downtown’s skyscrapers.

It was the second proposed location for the water fountain, which as part of a larger citywide public arts plan originally would have been placed in Uptown. Because of budget cuts, the fountain lost its funding — until the city approached Park Board staff.

Intrigued by the idea, board staff suggested the south shore location and actually proposed a financing plan to the city’s Public Art Advisory Panel. The panel approved the plan, which meant the Park Board was free to move ahead if it wanted to.

But during the study session, the first time the elected board was involved with the project, commissioners appeared to be unanimously concerned about the fountain’s design
and location.

“The scale of it, next to the water, just seems way too big,” Commissioner Scott Vreeland said. “It seems more urban.”

Commissioner Bob Fine noted reassurances the board made last year to the lake’s neighbors that nothing would be built at the site beyond a new parking lot.

“I really would frankly be surprised if people say this should go up,” Fine s aid.

After the discussion, General Manager Mike Schmidt said staff would pull the plug on the project.

What's Wrong With This Scenario?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS SCENARIO?

Tomorrow, at the June 2, 2010 Park Board meeting, the Board will be voting on approving the amended $45M Regional Parks Capital Improvement Budget for 2010 to 2015. This Board action is being requested by the Park Board’s Planning and Project Management Department. A significant chunk of the $45M is from the Legacy Amendment Funds.

Unfortunately, the superintendent is recommending that the Board approve the $45M budget as presented even though planning staff has not done its homework in providing background information for the commissioners about the projects in the budget. There was never a study session for the new Board on the proposed Regional Parks Capital Improvement Budget for 2010 to 2015.

Consequently, the planning staff and the superintendent are asking the commissioners to vote on allocating $45M without providing the information necessary for the commissioners to make an informed decision.

How can the commissioners be expected to make spending decisions on projects they know little or nothing about?

Why didn’t the planning staff provide information about the projects in the 2010 to 2015 Regional Parks Improvement Budget months ago?

Isn’t it the planning staff’s responsibility to make sure that the commissioners have the information they need to fulfill their fiduciary obligations? And isn’t it important that it be provided in a timely manner?

Hopefully, the commissioners will take time during the Park Board meeting this Wednesday to take charge of this $45M decision by carefully examining the projects recommended by staff, by asking questions of staff and by making prudent revisions before voting on the $45M Regional Parks Capital Improvement Budget for 2010 to 2015.

For the three-page staff report, go to:
www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=646
and click on “Unfinished Business” on the “Regular” meeting agenda (pdf) and then on “Staff Report.”

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

June 2, 2010 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE JUNE 2, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME

6:30 P.M. Public Hearing on the redevelopment of Boom Island/B.F. Nelson Parks. Interested parties are invited to speak. Sign up sheet available at the meeting.

Some highlights of the meeting:

The Board will be voting to approve the amended Regional Parks Capital Improvement Budget for 2010 to 2015. Unfortunately, Superintendent Gurban is recommending that the Board approve the $45M budget as presented even though staff has not done its homework in providing for the commissioners’ background information about the projects in the budget. For details go to www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=646 and click on “Unfinished Business” on the “Regular” meeting agenda (pdf) and then on “Staff Report.”

The Planning Committee will be voting on the charge and composition of the Brownie Lake Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC). The Planning Committee will also be voting on the design for the development of Boom Island and BF Nelson Parks. However, the plan for Boom Island and BF Nelson Parks is not the one that was submitted by the CAC. The staff that was assigned to work with the CAC disregarded the CAC’s report and presented its own report. For details go to www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=646 and click “Planning” (pdf) and then on “Staff Report.”

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at the web site.

The complete agenda is on the Park Board’s website minneapolisparks.org under “Upcoming Meetings.”

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

Heads-Up for the June 2, 2010 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE JUNE 2, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME

6:30 P.M. Public Hearing on the redevelopment of Boom Island/B.F. Nelson Parks. Interested parties are invited to speak. Sign up sheet available at the meeting.

Some highlights of the meeting:

The Board will be voting to approve the amended Regional Parks Capital Improvement Budget for 2010 to 2015. Unfortunately, Superintendent Gurban is recommending that the Board approve the $45M budget as presented even though staff has not done its homework in providing for the commissioners’ background information about the projects in the budget. For details go to www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=646 and click on “Unfinished Business” on the “Regular” meeting agenda (pdf) and then on “Staff Report.”

The Planning Committee will be voting on the charge and composition of the Brownie Lake Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC). The Planning Committee will also be voting on the design for the development of Boom Island and BF Nelson Parks. However, the plan for Boom Island and BF Nelson Parks is not the one that was submitted by the CAC. The staff that was assigned to work with the CAC disregarded the CAC’s report and presented its own report. For details go to www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=646 and click “Planning” (pdf) and then on “Staff Report.”

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at the web site.

The complete agenda is on the Park Board’s website minneapolisparks.org under “Upcoming Meetings.”

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch