Monthly Archives: July 2011

SIXTH DISTRICT DOG PARK COMMENTS

The following comments were submitted to the members of the Sixth District Dog Park CAC:

SIXTH DISTRICT DOG PARK COMMENTS

July 25, 2011

CAC Members:

I like dogs and I support a sixth district dog park, but I would not want a dog park in the backyard of the Historic Theodore Wirth Home.

I know that in winter the hill behind the house is used for sledding. In the summer the hill is used as an amphitheater for movies in the park. The topography of the parkland behind the house is well suited for both.

A dog park cutting through the backyard of the Wirth Home will interfere with both the sledding and the enjoyment of movies in the park in the summertime.

There also is no parking on King’s Highway which is adjacent to the proposed dog park site. The better site for the dog park is to the north on the South Side Operations Center Parking Lot, which is a larger site that has space for parking.

Thank you.

Arlene Fried
Co-Founder of Park Watch

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NEIGHBORS WEIGH IN ON FINAL THREE DOG PARK SITES

The following article by Sheila Regan was published online in the July 26, 2011 issue of the Southwest Minneapolis Patch:

NEIGHBORS WEIGH IN ON FINAL THREE DOG PARK SITES

Neighbors of the 6th District showed up with their kids in tow for the Monday’s 6th District Dog Park Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting at Lynnhurst Park, which invited the public to share their comments and perspectives.

Many Tangletown residents showed up to voice opposition to a potential location along Minnehaha creek, citing problems of traffic congestion and attachment to the current landscape. Their concerns were echoed by opponents of other dog park sites.

It was the 10th meeting of the CAC, which has been meeting since March. After eliminating two of the sites originally under consideration (one near the Bird Sanctuary, the other near the Peace Garden), the CAC came up with a list of 30 sites using input from the community as well as sites that were looked at the last time the 6th District considered putting a dog park into the area. This summer, they’ve whittled that list down to three sites, including two at Lyndale Farmstead Park and one at Minnehaha Parkway and Pleasant Ave.

The three sites up for community review all fall into the service area between 36th Street and Minnehaha Creek and between 35 W and Lake Harriet.

The three sites include two at Lyndale Farmstead Park. The first site, South of the Operations Center along Kings Highway (site 1), has as its northern boundary the operations center wall and would be within the turf and tree area along Kings Highway. This site would be west of the path that runs diagonally from the athletic fields to the southwest corner of the park behind the Theodore Wirth Home and Administration Building. Site 32, at the Southside Operations Center, is within the Center’s parking lot, but would not include the stormwater pond.

The last of the three sites is along the South Side of Minnehaha Creek east of Pleasant Ave. South (Site 7). This side extends from Pleasant Avenue east to the base of the hill where Minnehaha Parkways splits. The trail within this area would be realigned as part of the project to allow for continuous trail use outside of the proposed site.

All three sites are each around an acre in size, according to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board planner Jennifer Ringhold.

Mark Ruhly, one of the original Kingfield Dog Park Task Members, a group that organized to ask for a dog park in the area, said he could be supportive of the Operations Center site, but was also concerned about the threat to dogs and their owners from pollution. He wondered if there could be a hybrid of the two Lyndale Farmstead sites.

The most neighbors that spoke at Monday’s meeting were from the Tangletown area, and most of them were against the site at Minnehaha Creek.

Steve Kenny, who lives on Pleasant Avenue, said he’s watched cars slide down the hill.

“I can’t imagine people walking,” he said.

John Peterson, a resident of Tangletown, said he was drawn to the neighborhood because of the serene park space, and that a dog park disrupts the area’s aesthetics.

“The creek is a very valuable part of my day to day life,” he said. “The dog park would eliminate the type of use that I have.”

Devin Thomas spoke in minority, in favor of the location.

“Parks are for everybody, even people with dogs,” he said.

He noted that he wouldn’t take his dog to the operations center site, because of the pollution problems.

Jessie Bacar, who lives across the street from the Minnehaha Creek site, stated that she, along with her neighbors, brought their children to the meeting. The increased increased traffic a dog park would bring made the Creek site a non-starter with her.

“Pleasant Avenue is already a narrow street,” she said. “It’s a one-way thoroughfare.”

She claimed that the street does not support more than 7 parking spots.

“When we have family gatherings,” she said, “we can fit no more than a few cars.”

Further, Bacar was concerned about safety issues raised by the increased traffic, particularly with all the children in the neighborhood.

“My children come before my dog,” she said.

Tangletown resident Kay McGuire said that, in winter, snow banks pose a problem for walkers in the area. The large snow piles created by plows made it impossible to walk over with a dog, she said.

Dave Davenport voiced concerned about the fate of existing trees, landscapes, and paths.

“If you start moving the bike path and cutting the space in half, you are going to have to clear some trees. That’s a huge concern for us,” he said. “Please don’t clear the bike path.”

Chris Romans, also a biker, admitted almost knocking someone over and almost being knocked over himself on the two hills by the site. The increased foot (and paw) traffic would increase the danger, he said.

“I think this site would be really dangerous,” he said.

A few neighbors spoke favorably of Site 1, praising its proximity to their homes, but they were met with other neighbors’ concerns with parking issues and the safety issues due to increased car traffic.

Melissa Witler, a resident of Lyndale neighborhood, noted that she would be able to walk to the site, thereby not contributing to traffic congestion.

Bob Scheutte, who lives on 39th and Aldrich, a block away from park spoke against the site. Not a dog owner, or dog lover, he takes his grandson frequently to the park, taking the diagonal path to the rose gardens. He noted that just as someone said it would be terrible to bike past a dog park, it would also be terrible to walk past one.

With this wide range of community reactions, Sarah Dunaway, from Kingfield, encouraged the CAC to think of creative solutions to mitigate the many neighborhood issues raised at the hearing.

“Every piece of grass is beloved by neighbors,” she said.

Dunaway said she was not part of the grassroots organizing that occurred in Kingfield expressing a need for a dog park, but she said she was supportive of it.

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The next CAC meeting will be on August 15 an Lynnhurst from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Residents have until Friday to fill out the survey about the dog parks.

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Minneapolis Park Board e-subscription service now available

For Immediate Release
July 14, 2011

Minneapolis Park Board e-subscription service now available
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board launched a new e-mail subscription service today to provide residents and park users with timely email updates on Park Board activities and services. The service allows subscribers to choose the topics they are notified about, including Board meetings, news updates, parkway closures, planning projects, activities, programs and events, facilities and seasonal brochures.

“Communication is crucial to creating and maintaining strong relationships with the communities we serve. Our e-subscription service will allow us to quickly and efficiently distribute information to email subscribers interested in specific services, programs and facilities,” explained Jayne Miller, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “Email subscription services will improve public access to information, reduce staff time, cut costs, and increase our “green” communication efforts.”

To subscribe, select the red envelope icon on the home page of www.minneapolisparks.org. By simply entering an email address on the e-subscribe page, subscribers can add topics, change topic choices or unsubscribe.

N P S GUIDELINES ON DONATION BOXES

NPS GUIDELINES ON DONATION BOXES

Shawn FitzGerald, Powderhorn resident and Park Watcher, came across the following National Park Service guidelines for donation boxes:

http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/donation_box_design.htm

DESIGN, PLACEMENT & OPERATION OF DONATION BOXES

In designing a donation box, consider the following:

• Keep it simple, but distinctive enough to attract visitors’ attention.
• Theme it tastefully to your park setting and mission.
• Keep the donations visible. Seeing the donations directly conveys the fact that others have given and you can too. Use see-through materials such as Lexan, Lucite or Plexiglas. Make sure it is secure from theft and vandalism.
• Salt the box. An empty box rarely attracts donations. “Salting” the donation box with five and ten dollar bills on top often motivates visitors to contribute like denominations. People are more apt to give larger denominations when they know others have.
• Capitalize on state pride. Park visitors come from all over. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association replaced their single donation box with one with separate receptacles for all fifty states, providing the opportunity for individuals to represent their home state when they give. Donations increased 100 percent in the following year. Other parks have used this design concept to their advantage. You could also take this approach with international visitors.
• Use the donation box for a dual purpose. Staff at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park attributes their success, in part, to the fact that their donation box also provides a visitor service. A small, separate box holding free park brochures is attached to the front of the donation box. The brochures attract visitors and make them notice the donation box and its purpose. Staff have noticed that visitors will reach for a brochure and make a donation. Often this donation is considerably more than what visitors would actually pay if there was a fee for the brochure.
• Make your donation box tamper-proof and durable. Expect a lot of handling. Use durable materials, especially those that are vandal-proof. Don’t overlook weatherproofing if the box is to be set outdoors. Consider spending a little more for the right materials and design features that will meet your standards for durability, appearance, and security. Careful planning should help you reduce long-term maintenance and replacement costs.
• Make it secure. You will need design ingenuity to discourage thieves. Besides built-in design features, take extra precautions such as locating the box where staff are stationed. They can help keep an eye on the box while answering questions and providing information. Do not let too much money accumulate at any one time.
• Locate the donation box where the visitor cannot miss it. Choose a high foot traffic area yet one that does not unnecessarily intrude upon the visitor’s park experience. Often boxes are situated in visitor centers, at entrance and egress points where visitors congregate or wait. Consider that visitors are more inclined to donate right after they have had a great visitor experience in the park.
• Provide receipts. While donation boxes are designed for small contributions, some donors may be inclined to give more if a receipt for their tax records is provided. Nevertheless, some people will give only if they can get a receipt for their tax deduction records. If staff is nearby and the donor can see that receipts are available, larger contributions may result. At Channel Islands National Park, the donation box is located on the counter in the visitor center. Staff can write receipts upon request.
• Ensure easy access by staff. Remember that staff will need relatively easy and quick access in order to empty the donation box frequently. Don’t make their job harder by over-designing the security features (locks, etc.)

Letter to F E R C from Friends of the Riverfront

The following letter from Friends of the Riverfront was submitted to FERC on July 20, 2011:

Friends of the Riverfront
P.O. Box 580545, Minneapolis, MN 55458-0545
Tel: 612.379.2662 ednab@mac.com

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20426
July 20, 2011

Re: Crown Hydro, P 11175-024

Dear Ms. Bose:

On June 23, 2011 Crown Hydro requested an extension of time to answer FERC’s show cause letter based on its hope to get legislation passed during a special session of the Minnesota Legislature that Crown was unable to get passed during the 2009 and 2011 regular sessions.
Friends of the Riverfront would like to bring to FERC’s attention that the Minnesota Legislature ended its special session at 3:45A this morning and the twelve agreed upon budget bills were signed into law by Governor Dayton at 9:00A1.

None of the bills had the provision that Crown sought2.

As the basis for Crown’s extension request, its hope for legislation at a special session did not occur, Friends respectfully requests FERC to deny Crown’s extension request and to take steps to terminate its license.

Sincerely,

Edna C. Brazaitis

1 von Sternberg, Bob, (2011, July 20) Shutdownʼs over with Daytonʼs signature on 12 bills. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Retrieved from: http://www.startribune.com/politics/blogs/125884423.html

2 The twelve session laws may be retrieved at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?
view=session&year=2011&type=1. Chapter 2, the Environment, Energy and Commerce Omnibus Bill, may be retrieved at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=2&doctype=chapter&year=2011&type=1

July 20, 2011 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE JULY 20, 2011 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. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

Looks to be a long meeting with many items of interest. Two items of significant concern on the regular meeting agenda are 2.2 and 2.3 under Consent Business. Consent Business is generally business that is routine and needs no discussion. But items 2.2 and 2.3 are both Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for Enterprise projects. One of these items is the re-renting out of the event center at headquarters and the other is for a new vendor with construction at Lake Nokomis. Neither of these items are routine items. As with the Lake Harriet project, the Nokomis project has many questions that need to be answered. Both of these projects need to be reviewed in committee before going before the full board for a vote.

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 is at www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=64&calid=783.

MPRB meetings are telecast 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 retelecast 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 www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is www.minneapolisparks.org. The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-Founder of Park Watch

HEADS-UP FOR THE JULY 20, 2011 PARK BOARD MEETING

HEADS-UP FOR THE JULY 20, 2011 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. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

Looks to be a long meeting with many items of interest. Two items of significant concern on the regular meeting agenda are 2.2 and 2.3 under Consent Business. Consent Business is generally business that is routine and needs no discussion. But items 2.2 and 2.3 are both Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for Enterprise projects. One of these items is the re-renting out of the event center at headquarters and the other is for a new vendor with construction at Lake Nokomis. Neither of these items are routine items. As with the Lake Harriet project, the Nokomis project has many questions that need to be answered. Both of these projects need to be reviewed in committee before going before the full board for a vote.

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 is at www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=64&calid=783.

MPRB meetings are telecast 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 retelecast 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 www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is www.minneapolisparks.org. The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-Founder of Park Watch

WIRTH PARK PAR 3 FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the July 11, 2011 issue of the Southwest Journal:

WIRTH PARK PAR 3 FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE



On one of the first truly beautiful days of the summer in late June, Scott Wylie and Boyce Mohn teed up to play nine holes at the Theodore Wirth par 3 golf course.

The friends, both retired and in their early 60s, are admittedly shoddy golfers. Mohn, when asked by a trailing threesome how he was doing, replied: “The weather is nice and I’m getting great exercise. Don’t ask about the golf.”

They’re not an uncommon golf party on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board-operated course. Wirth par 3 is home to golfers of all types: From 10 year olds to seniors, beginners to experts and underrepresented golfing groups such as the disabled and minorities.

Mohn, of Northeast Minneapolis, and Wylie, of Golden Valley, play the course because it’s a casual atmosphere where they can hack away while yakking away with course workers and friendly golfers. Others pick Wirth because they can’t afford to play 18-hole courses, can’t walk a full course, or want a short course to learn the game.

The 49-year-old par 3, however, is not filling up the way it once did. In 2000, when golf was booming as Tiger Woods electrified the sport, golfers played more than 31,000 rounds on the course. Last year, they played 15,000 rounds.

A group of stakeholders has been meeting for the past several months to decide on a wide array of changes to the park. One idea, floated by the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, includes using par 3 land as a staging area for cross country skiing as well as building a larger indoor center for silent sport athletes on the grounds of the current par 3 clubhouse. That plan would likely put an end to Wirth par 3 as a playable course.

Word of this idea reached Wylie and other golfers, who promptly started a “Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3 Golf Course” group that has put up a fight over any significant changes to the course.

Wylie points out a few reasons to keep the course in play. The First Tee program uses the course to teach roughly 500 inner city youth each summer to play golf. It’s the only par 3 course in the city. It’s one of the most affordable golf experiences in the metro ($11 for 9 holes for adults, $9 for seniors).

And then there are golfers like Robert Dwyer, 69, and his friend Orville Erickson, a retired 93-year-old paratrooper of North Minneapolis who served in World War II and Korea. They play Wirth three times a week because the par 3 is shorter than most metro courses.

“The point we try to make is there is wide variety of users,” said Dwyer, a Southwest resident and member of the Friends of Wirth group.

While the course is an important place to many golfers, it’s also an important piece of property for the growing silent sport community in Minneapolis.

Wirth boasts a slew of outdoor activities for all seasons. It has hiking trails, biking trails, cross country ski trails, off-road biking courses, a snowboard park, a sledding and tubing hill, and a disc-golf course.

John Munger, executive director of the Nordic Ski Foundation, says the park has potential to be a regional center for year-round sports.

Munger and the foundation laid out a vision for the park in December, which includes improved trails with a new lighting system, new snowmakers, a cross country staging area and, the headliner: A $2.1 million welcome center complete with a bike shop, restaurant, warming room and office space. The Park Board has already added the welcome center to its bonding requests at the state legislature, which will take up a bonding bill in 2012.

“What [Minneapolis] does not have is a park devoted to lifetime activities — also known an active or silent sports. The northern portion of Theodore Wirth should be that park,” the Nordic Foundation wrote in the vision.

While Munger said making Wirth into a silent sport hub may come at the expense of the par 3, he said the idea is not meant to hurt golf. Wirth Park also boasts an 18-hole course, and the Nordic Foundation is pushing for a renovation of the 17th and 18th holes to improve the grass and drainage.

“We want to get away from the idea that it’s our vision versus [the golf] vision,” Munger said. “A lot our elements improve golfing. Moving [the 17th and 18th] holes makes a lot of sense for everyone.”

While par 3 advocates tout the course’s service to youth, so too does Munger tout the trails as amenities for youngsters to get in shape and have fun. Hundreds of junior high and high school kids use the trails after school. The Minnesota State High School league is starting a mountain biking league and Munger says Wirth would be great place for competitions.

Munger says a welcome center will not only be an added amenity for trail users, it will also help the park to attract more events to the city.

Wirth Park’s “silent sports” have increased Park Board revenue in recent years. Last winter, through ski passes, snowboarding passes and other revenue, the park brought in $322,000 at Wirth Park. Six years ago Wirth Park generated just $24,000 in revenue.

Revenue at the par 3 has dipped in recent years. In 2000, it peaked at $313,000, but decreased to $158,000 in 2010.

The two courses at Wirth Park share several expenses, so it is difficult to tabulate how much net income the par 3 generates on its own. When the two courses are combined, however, they generated $315,000 in net income from 2005 to 2009.

M P R B FREE SUMMER YOUTH SOCCER CAMPS

MPRB FREE SUMMER YOUTH SOCCER CAMPS

The Sanneh Foundation is partnering with the MPRB to offer 8 FREE summer soccer camps beginning this month and running into mid-August for boys and girls from 6 to 12 years old. Each camp runs for one week and is three hours long.

Registration is underway now at your neighborhood recreation center. The eight parks offering the free camps are:

□ Camp 1: MATHEWS PARK (612-370-4950)
July 11 thru July 15, 2011 9:00am to 12noon
2318 28th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN. 55406

□ Camp 2: KENNY PARK (612-370-4901)
July 11 thru July 15, 2011 1:00pm to 4:00pm
1328 W. 58th St. Minneapolis, MN. 55419

□ Camp 3: KENWOOD PARK (612-370-4941)
July 18 thru July 22, 2011 9:00am to 12:00pm
2101 W. Franklin Ave. Minneapolis, MN. 55405

□ Camp 4: COYLE CENTER/CURRIE PARK (612-338-5282)
July 18 thru July 22, 2011 1:00pm to 4:00pm
420 15th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN. 55454

□ Camp 5: PEARL PARK (612-370-4906)
August 1 thru August 5, 2011 9:00am to 12noon
414 E. Diamond Lake Rd. Minneapolis, MN. 55419

□ Camp 6: SIBLEY PARK (612-370-4954)
August 1 thru August 5, 2011 1:00pm to 4:00pm
1900 E. 40th St. Minneapolis, MN. 55407

□ Camp 7: NORTHEAST PARK (612-370-4920)
August 8 thru August 12, 2011 9:00am to 12noon
1615 Pierce St. NE. Minneapolis, MN. 55413

□ Camp 8: FARVIEW PARK (612-370-4922)
August 8 thru August 12, 2011 1:00pm to 4:00pm
621 29th Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN. 55411

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ABOUT THE SANNEH SOCCER CAMPS

Tony Sanneh grew up in St. Paul. After high school, where he was selected twice to the All-State Team, he played soccer for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As a striker he became the school’s all-time scoring leader, and was named an NCAA Second Team All-American in 1993. In 1996, Sanneh joined D.C. United, leading the team to two consecutive MLS Cups. In 1999, he signed with Hertha Berlin of the German Bundesliga, and has played for a variety of teams since then. He is a member of the USL Hall of Fame and a member of the USA All-Decade 2000-2010 team.

Most recently Sanneh was a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy. After 15 years of elite professional playing experience, Sanneh wanted to share his knowledge and experiences with kids from his native state of Minnesota as well from across the region.

Thus, Sanneh Soccer Camps began in 2009.

Since it’s inception, the camps have grown to reach an international audience extending as far as the US Virgin Islands. While playing professionally, Tony established the only camp in the Midwest designed and implemented by a player with experience competing in the World Cup, Major League Soccer and the prestigious UEFA Champions League. The goal of the camp has always been to provide an environment where players of all levels can come together to learn about the game and improve their soccer skills.

The camp atmosphere is such that players from all communities can be united through their excitement for the sport while making working on the game as fun as it is rewarding. Tony has assembled a staff of local and national coaches to teach soccer based on the experiences and methods that Sanneh himself has accumulated throughout his extensive career at the highest levels of the sport. The same ideology is used to adapt the training to individual camper’s ability and ambition. The camp aims to provide a fun and fulfilling atmosphere for all campers while focusing on appropriate levels of skill and intensity for individual campers.

Lastly, Sanneh Soccer Camp understands the importance of shaping the development of young men and women beyond the field and actively works to incorporate guidance and information about health, education, drugs and alcohol, and cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Wirth C A C Meeting, July 19, 2011

WIRTH CAC MEETING ON TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011

The next meeting of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Citizen Advisory Committee appointed to prioritize improvements throughout Theodore Wirth Park will be held Tuesday, July 19.

All are welcome to attend the meeting; time will be set aside for public comment.

Time: 6:30 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, July 19
Place: Board Room, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 W River Road