Monthly Archives: February 2012

Parade Parkway Reconstruction Open House


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will seek public comment on a refined reconstruction plan and schedule for Parade Parkway and adjacent parking lots at an open house March 13. The open house will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kenwood Community Center, 2101 W Franklin Ave.

Parade Parkway is a short segment of street from Dunwoody Boulevard to Kenwood Parkway. Both the parkway and adjacent parking lots that serve the Parade Ice Garden are in need of reconstruction. The project is included in the MPRB 2011 Capital budget.

A public open house to review plan options for the project was held August 22. While there were varying comments received, the community consensus was to shift the street roughly 60 feet to the east allowing parking for the Ice Garden to be consolidated and made safer. Based on that input, the Park Board added parking lot reconstruction funding in its 2012 budget to allow the consensus option to be built. It is this option that will be presented at the March 13 open house for further comment.

To receive updates on this project, visit the MPRB website, and click on the red envelope.

Request to Terminate Crown Hydro's License


The following letter dated February 3, 2012 was submitted to FERC by Friends of the Riverfront:

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE

Washington, D.C. 20426

February 3, 2012

Re: Comments – Crown Hydro, P 11175-024

Dear Ms. Bose:

On June 1, 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in dismissing Crown’s application for an amended license, adopted staff’s findings that land that Crown proposed to channel the tailrace water is part of a public park. The Commission’s order that eminent domain could not be used to acquire the property is final as Crown’s appeal to the Eighth Circuit was dismissed on May 21, 2010.

Crown’s January 20, 2012 response to FERC’s May 25, 2011 show cause letter failed to concrete documentary evidence that FERC required that either proved that Crown had received perpetual rights from the Minneapolis Park Board for park land to channel the tailrace water or proved how the tailrace water discharged from its turbines would not require park land.

As Crown has failed to provide the concrete documentation that it has acquired the necessary property rights to move its project forward, we respectfully request that FERC takes the necessary steps to terminate Crown’s license.


Edna C. Brazaitis


NOTE: Online filing information at FERC is as follows:

Docket(s): P-11175-024
Filing Type: Comment on Filing
Description: Comment of Friends of the Riverfront regarding Crown Hydro’s Failure to Show Cause, under P-11175.

To view the document for this Filing, click here

Crown Hydro's To-Do List


The following item by David Fehlan was posted on the Issues List on January 26, 2012 and reprinted here with permission:

Zombie Hydro. I thought this thing finally died last summer, but apparently not. After browsing through a few documents on the FERC website (thanks for the link, Bill Kahn), it looks like the decision to terminate the license has not been made. As of one week ago, there are more promises by Crown Hydro to catchup on their paperwork and they’re proposing yet another location (I think it’s the fourth one). The to-do list:

1. Overcome all the engineering concerns raised by the Army Corps (the list is long),

2. Get the Army Corps to give up part of its real estate for construction (temporary)and a powerhouse (permanent),

3. Convince FERC? Xcel? to leave them some water. I believe Xcel’s desire to take more water is a separate regulatory request, also opposed by many.

4. Find the money to build the power plant.

Re item No. 4, the home of Crown Hydro’s Bill Hawks went through foreclosure and was sold in the summer …… but someone still believes in the project and is putting up the money for expenses like lawyers, engineers, consultants, storage fees on the mothballed turbines and generators (I read that they were purchased in 2002) and whatever else it takes to keep the proposal alive after 13 years.

David Fehlan

Uptown/East Isles

Crown Hydro's Latest Effort


On January 20, 2012 attorneys for Crown Hydro submitted another “progress report” to FERC. Crown Hydro is now attempting to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to relocate its proposed hydro power plant so that it can bypass the MPRB and local control. Park Watch, however, has heard that this proposal involves the tail races and, if so, there could be no construction without Park Board approval.

To access the Crown Hydro letter to FERC, click on the following link provided by David Tinjum of the Mill City Times:

The following is a link to the Mill City Times article:

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Walker Planning Changes to Cowles Conservatory

The following article by Nick Halter was published on January 27, 2012 in the online edition of the Downtown Journal:


The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is wildly popular, most can agree. But it’s also quite expensive to operate.

In 2011, the garden and Cowles Conservatory combined to bring in $33,000 in revenue generated primarily through event fees. But the Park Board and the Walker Art Museum spent $246,000 to operate the garden and conservatory, losing about $211,000, even though 325,000 people visit each year.

One of the biggest expenses, according to Park Board Assistant Superintendent of Planning Services Bruce Chamberlain, is the big, glass conservatory, where an outdated heating system has to pump in hot air in order to keep plants alive in the winter. Over the past two years combined, Cowles utility bills have cost nearly $100,000.

The Park Board has requested $8.5 million in state bonding for a larger renovation plan for the Sculpture Garden, and part of that money would go to a new heating and air conditioning system at Cowles.

That might not be the only change at Cowles. As part of the Park Board’s overall plan to renovate the Sculpture Garden, the Park Board is looking at new uses for the structure and Chamberlain said that will likely mean the end of its use as an arboretum.

“It’s going to be different than it is today,” Chamberlain said. “The building itself probably won’t change. But the way it’s used is probably going to change.”

Chamberlain said the Park Board and the Walker are working closely on a new plan for the building. Details aren’t worked out yet, but Chamberlain said the space would be reconfigured to be better used for events and programs.

If lawmakers approve of the bonding request, the Park Board says the project would begin in August and take about 13 months.