Monthly Archives: January 2013



5:05 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 can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time.”

6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARING. Reuse Proposal for 2529 13th Ave. S.

The following topics are some agenda highlights, one of which deserves a lot of attention:

–Approving a Memorandum of Understanding and Proposed Lease Agreement with the Loppet Foundation for the Silent Sports Center at Theodore Wirth Regional Park Center at Theodore Wirth Regional Park

(This Administration and Finance Committee item has 27 supporting pages including a very complex Memorandum of Understanding and lease agreement between the Park Board and the Loppet Foundation. This is another ready-to-be-inked Park Board project that brings to mind the words “Sweetheart Deal” and “Privatization.” The Park Board has privatized the Nicollet Island Pavilion, a prime parcel of parkland and, subsequently, that parkland is inaccessible to the public. It also privatized a slice of prime parkland on Nicollet Island when it allowed DeLaSalle to close off Grove Street for a football stadium. Now the Park Board is preparing to enter into another arrangement that smacks of privatization. This one is for 20 years. And it is doing so without any citizen involvement. This agenda item needs a lot more attention before any vote on it.)

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for the Minnehaha Family Play Area Project in Minnehaha Regional Park

–Approving the Allocation of $80,000 Toward a New Gymnasium Floor in the Brian Coyle Community Center

–Progress Update on Schematic Design of RiverFirst Projects

–Memorandum of Understanding with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Legacy Council and Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center for Installation of an Interpretive Marker and Three Metal Fabrications for Benches at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Park

–Approving the Submission of a Grant Application to Conservation Corps Minnesota for 2014 For Two – Four Person Crews Contingent Upon Funding Being Available When the 2014 Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board General Fund Budget is Adopted and Contingent Upon a Mutually Beneficial Evaluation of the 2013 Program

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 is at

Also of interest and now available to the commissioners and the public are the monthly reports that Superintendent Miller has initiated for construction permits and for Planning Department projects. The availability of these reports is one of the important changes instituted by Superintendent Miller. Look for the links to these reports under Petitions and Communications in the agenda for the first Regular Meeting of the month.

View Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast Cable. You may also view live meetings online on the Channel 79 webpage:

Regular meetings are typically telecast on Channel 79 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 5 p.m. Telecast schedules are subject to change.

Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the MPRB website two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the recent two months, at

Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on two business days prior to meetings.

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

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Park Board to Hold Two Open Houses for Review of Brownie Lake Area Plan

The following notice was issued on January 5, 2012 by the Park Board:


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has been working with a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) to develop recommendations for an area plan for Brownie Lake. Two open houses will be held, one January 17 and the other February 14, for review of those recommendations before they are forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for approval.

Both open houses will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Kenwood Community Center, 2101 W Franklin Ave. The first open house will offer community members an opportunity to comment on possible options for the area plan. Comments and ideas expressed at the open house will guide the CAC, park staff, and design consultants as they develop a preferred option. This preferred option will be presented for review and discussion at the second open house. Once the area plan has been approved by the Board, it will provide direction for improvements around the lake.

“Brownie is a small lake that packs a big punch,” said Fourth Park District Commissioner Anita Tabb. “I am delighted that so many community members and residents have participated in the CAC process. We have all learned a lot about the varied lake uses as well as its environmental aspects, and I look forward to the recommendations that come out of this very dedicated group.”

Brownie Lake, a secluded water body surrounded by steep wooded slopes, is located at the north end of the Chain of Lakes. This natural area is enjoyed by hikers, bikers, skiers, canoeists, and an occasional fisherperson. Amenities will support existing recreational uses, as well as cycling along Cedar Lake Parkway. Measures for environmental restoration, such as invasive species removal and slope stabilization, will be included in the plan.

The section of the Cedar Lake Parkway bike trail that runs along the east rim above Brownie Lake is a key link in a network of regional trails and receives over 370,000 visits per year. Originally built in 1976 as a combined-use trail, its six-foot width does not meet the current Grand Rounds standards.

The plan will encompass areas surrounding Brownie Lake bounded by Cedar Lake Parkway on the east, BNSF railroad tracks and N. Cedar Lake Regional Trail on the south, Target offices and parking on the west, and S. Wayzata Boulevard on the north.

Funding for the Brownie Lake Area Plan and Site Improvements was made possible through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008. The amendment increased the general sales and use tax rate by three-eighths percent, and 14.25 % of the revenue generated by this increased sales tax is dedicated to the Parks and Trails Fund to support parks and trails of regional significance. Funds for the bike and pedestrian trail along Cedar Lake Parkway are provided by the federal Transportation Enhancement Act.

CAC members represent the range of park user groups. In addition to appointments by park commissioners and other elected officials, the CAC includes members appointed by the Cedar Lake Park Association, the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association, the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association, and the Kenwood Isles Area Association.

For more information about the project, please visit the project page: or call 612-230-6438. Click here: to sign up for email project updates.

Heads-Up for January 11, 2013 Annual Park Board Committee of the Whole Meeting


8:00 A.M. LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST. The meeting will be held at The Nicollet Island Inn at 95 Merriam Street. The meeting follows a buffet breakfast.

The meeting will not be telecast.

MPRB Staff will be presenting Key Capital Projects and Significant Legislative Issues for 2013

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

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

M P R B to Begin Offering Free Swimming Lessons

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the December 18, 2012 issue of the Southwest Journal:


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board plans to begin offering free swimming lessons in 2013 and add more lifeguards to city beaches under an 11th hour budget addition from Park Board President John Erwin.

In recent years, kids have drowned in Minneapolis lakes because they didn’t know how to swim and because beaches didn’t have lifeguards. Erwin originally wanted to roll out a $225,000 summer camp program that taught kids to swim, fish and cook, but because of budget constraints, is offering a swimming lesson-only proposal.

“What we recognized is an increasing population of kids in certain places that don’t have an opportunity to get swimming lessons, so we are trying to fulfill that need,” Erwin said.

The Park Board plans to offer free, late-morning swimming lessons with transportation from recreation centers to Wirth Lake and Lake Nokomis. Erwin had originally proposed adding lessons to Harriet or Calhoun, but said budget constraints and inadequate storage facilities wouldn’t allow for lessons at one of those lakes. Kids from Southwest will still be able to take lessons at Nokomis or Wirth, Erwin said.

The Park Board also added $68,000 to the lifeguard budget, which adds about 8,000 lifeguard hours. Erwin said that the money would staff lifeguards seven days a week at Harriet, Wirth and Nokomis.

The lessons and lifeguards together will cost about $92,000.

The Park Board has increased lifeguard hours dramatically over the past few years. In 2010, the Park Board funded about 11,000 lifeguard hours at beaches and Lupient Water Park. In 2012, that number jumped to 19,092 hours. Now, the lifeguard hours system should increase to 27,500.

With the addition of swimming docks in 2011 and 2012, coupled with warm summers, Erwin said beach use has “gone through the roof.”

The Park Board began offering swimming lessons again in 2011 at Nokomis and Lupient, but those lessons come with a fee.

“We want to make sure money is not a barrier to any child learning to swim,” Erwin said.

Park Board Budget Passes With 3 Percent Hike

The following item by Nick Halter appeared in the December 18, 2012 issue of the Southwest Journal:


As was expected, Park Board commissioners on Dec. 12 approved a 3 percent tax levy hike. The tax levy passed on a 7-2 vote, with Anita Tabb (District 4) and Bob Finn (at-large) voting against the hike.

In addition to adding free swimming lessons and lifeguards, the 3 percent levy increase also maintains recreation center hours across the city, plants 5,000 trees, adds $300,000 for parkway paving, continues aquatic invasive species inspections and increases staffing for the Night Owls program.

The 2013 tax levy will be $48.6 million, up from $47.2 million in 2012.

Park Board Selects Officers, Committees, and Representatives for 2013

The following item was issued by the MPRB following its 2013 Annual Meeting:

Park Board selects officers, committees and representatives for 2013

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) held its annual meeting Wednesday, Jan. 2, and elected its officers for 2013. Commissioners elected John Erwin as President for the fourth consecutive year and Liz Wielinski as Vice President for the second consecutive year.

The Board also elected Michael P. Schmidt to continue serving as Secretary to the Board and Attorney Brian Rice and firm Rice Michels and Walther LLP as General Counsel.

President Erwin appointed the following Commissioners to serve on Standing Committees of the Board (one-year terms):

* Administration and Finance Committee – Chair Scott Vreeland, Vice Chair Anita Tabb, Bob Fine, Jon Olson, Liz Wielinski

* Recreation Committee – Chair Bob Fine, Vice Chair Brad Bourn, Carol Kummer, Anita Tabb, Liz Wielinski

* Planning Committee – Chair Anita Tabb, Vice Chair Bob Fine, Jon Olson, Scott Vreeland, Annie Young

* Operations and Environment Committee – Chair Jon Olson, Vice Chair Brad Bourn, Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, Annie Young

* Legislation and Intergovernmental Committee – Chair Carol Kummer, Vice Chair Jon Olson, Bob Fine, Anita Tabb, Liz Wielinski

* Standards and Conduct Committee – Chair Liz Wielinski, Vice Chair Annie Yount, Scott Vreeland, Carol Kummer, Bob Fine

* Innovation and Development Committee – Chair Annie Young, Vice Chair Jon Olson, Scott Vreeland, Liz Wielinski, Brad Bourn, Juli Wiseman

Park Board Commissioners, ten citizens and Superintendent Jayne Miller were appointed to serve on the following external boards, commissions and panels. All terms are one year unless otherwise noted.

* Planning Commission – Liz Wielinski (second year of two-year term)

* Board of Estimate and Taxation – Bob Fine

* Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission – Citizen appointee Ali Warsame (two year term expires July 2013)

* St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board – Scott Vreeland, Liz Wielinski, John Erwin, citizen appointee Stephanie Gruver, Superintendent Jayne Miller

* Youth Coordinating Board – Brad Bourn

* Minneapolis Institute of Arts Board – Anita Tabb

* Mississippi Watershed Management Organization – Scott Vreeland, alternate Annie Young

* John H. Stevens House Organization – Carol Kummer

* Minneapolis Parks Foundation – John Erwin, alternate Bob Fine

* Minneapolis Tree Advisory Committee – Scott Vreeland, citizen appointees Peggy Booth, Gay Noble, Jeanne LaBore, Don Willeke

* Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership – Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, Anita Tabb

* Minneapolis DID Gate Committee – John Erwin

* Minneapolis DID Greening Design & Infrastructure Committee – John Erwin

* Southwest LRT Community Works Steering Committee – Anita Tabb

* Bottineau Transitway Policy Advisory Committee – John Erwin

* Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee – Citizen appointees Janice Gepner, Matthew Hendricks, Joshua Houdek (two-year term expires May 2014)

* Internal Audit Committee – Citizen appointee Mark Oyaas (three year term)

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board typically meets at 5 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of each month for regular meetings. Board meetings are broadcast live from 5 to 9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online on the Channel 79 webpage.

Meeting agendas and related information are typically posted on two business days prior to each meeting.