Monthly Archives: March 2013

Heads-Up for the April 3, 2013 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE APRIL 3, 2013 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 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.”

The following topics are some agenda highlights:

–Recognizing and Thanking Michael P. Schmidt for His Years of Dedicated Service to the MPRB on the occasion of his retirement.

–Accepting the Draft Washburn Fair Oaks Park Master Plan, and Authorizing a 45-day Public Comment Period

–Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with Community Sports Development Council, Inc. and North Central University to Pursue the Development of an NCAA Regulation Soccer Field at Elliot Park

–Amending Chapter 2 of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Code of Ordinances and Adopt the New Policy on Alcohol in the Parks

–Approving the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Aquatic Invasive Species 2013 Inspection Rules, and Authorizing the Superintendent to Implement These Rules from April 15, 2013 to December 01, 2013; and Approving and Directing Staff to Implement the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force Recommendations for 2013 AIS Prevention

–Approving a Comment Letter to the National Park Service Regarding Proposed Change in Status of Fort Snelling Upper Post Property from the Federal Lands to Parks Program to the Historic Surplus Property Program

–Approving an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Minneapolis for Parkway Reconstruction & Lighting Replacement Projects to be Performed in 2013 Using Up to $1,040,000 of Budgeted MPRB Capital Funds

–Approving Additions to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 2013 Legislative Agenda Including a $1 Million Bonding Request for Construction of the Webber Park Pool Building and Expansion of the North Mississippi Regional Park Boundary to Include portions of Webber Park

–Reporting on the Status of current pending MPRB legislation

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com

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: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79

Regular meetings are typically retelecast 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 http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on http://www.minneapolisparks.org two business days prior to meetings.

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

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Eelco Hooftman to be Guest Speaker at the Walker

EELCO HOOFTMAN TO BE GUEST SPEAKER AT THE WALKER

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is presenting the Next Generation of Parks™ lecture on the topic of Urban Design.  Eelco Hooftman of GROSS.MAX will be speaking on Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:00 p.m. at the Walker Art Center.  Free tickets will be available from 6pm at the Bazinet Garden Lobby Desk.

http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/eelco-hooftman-grossmax#

Founding partner Eelco Hooftman focuses on one of GROSS.MAX’s newest projects: transforming the iconic Tempelhof airport in Berlin into the next great world park. Taking into account the vast, open site and the effects of sky, light, and weather, the design envisions “a contemporary prairie for the urban cowboy,” adding a fresh, bold layer to a place that is a “palimpsest of time.” Based in the UK, GROSS.MAX has created award-winning parks and other landscapes throughout Europe, bringing together a contextual approach with a contemporary idiom, one that incorporates British wit, Dutch experimentation, and German rigor. Hooftman also addresses the design studio’s history of collaboration with artists and architects, including Mark Dion and Zaha Hadid.

The latest lectures in the Next Generation of Parks™  series mark not only the 25th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden but also RiverFirst: http://mplsparksfoundation.org/projects/riverfirst/ a new 20-year master plan to redevelop Minneapolis’ Mississippi Riverfront. Organized as a way to engage citizens in imagining the future of our landmark parks system, the Next Generation of Parks™  series is co-presented by:

the Minneapolis Parks Foundation: http://mplsparksfoundation.org ,

the University of Minnesota’s Department of Landscape Architecture and College of Design: http://landarch.cdes.umn.edu ,

the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects: http://asla.mn.org/index.php ,

and the Walker Art Center: http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/next-generation-parks-urban-design

M P R B Begins Master Planning Process for Northeast Park

The following item has been issued by the Park Board [Note: Northeast Park is at 1615 Pierce St. NE]:

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Begins Master Planning Process for Northeast Park

Community Advisory Committee to be appointed—All encouraged to Apply by April 5, 2013

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is beginning the Master Planning process for Northeast Park and seeks community participation in the plan development. The Board will appoint a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) by April 12, 2013 to help engage and represent park users and the surrounding community in the planning process.

As part of the Master Planning process, current and potential facilities will be evaluated in relation to the community’s park and recreation needs as well as facilities provided in surrounding parks within the northeast Minneapolis area.

The CAC, which is to represent the range of park users, will be appointed by Park Board commissioners, other elected city officials, neighborhood associations, and advisory groups. Members will act as liaisons to the community and will work with MPRB staff and consultants to engage the community and develop a preferred park development plan, which, upon completion, will be forwarded to the Board for approval.  Click the link for a copy of the CAC application: http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/design/NEMasterPlan/NortheastMPCACApplication.pdf to help identify possible appointees.

MPRB welcomes everyone to get involved and to share their ideas—look for announcements and upcoming meetings by visiting the MPRB webpage: http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=52&prid=1964 . To stay in the know, sign up : https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNPARKREC/subscriber/new?topic_id=MNPARKREC_175 for the Northeast Park email list, or call 612-230-6464.

Minneapolis Looks to Ramp Up Inspections on City Lakes this Summer

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the Southwest Journal:

Minneapolis looks to ramp up inspections on city lakes this summer

The Minneapolis Park Board might get even tougher on keeping zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species out of city lakes this summer, as commissioners are considering a proposal to inspect boats 16 hours a day at each of the city’s three public launches.

Last July, the Park Board for the first time clamped down at its boat launches at lakes Harriet, Calhoun and Nokomis, staffing an inspector to check for invasive species. Boats could not launch without an inspection.

Last summer’s policy received backlash from the fishing community: http://southwestjournal.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/anglers-upset-by-new-minneapolis-lakes-restrictions/ who complained that because the Park Board didn’t staff inspectors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, anglers were being denied access to public lakes.

This spring, the Park Board is approving more inspection hours: from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day from April 15 through Dec. 1.

A Park Board committee will consider the new hours at a meeting on March 20.

Communications Specialist Robin Smothers said if approved, the Park Board would staff the launches with Conservation Corps of Minnesota crews at a cost of $160,000 for the year.

Smothers said the Park Board is applying for grants from “other local agencies” to help cover some of the costs.

A Park Board resolution says the threat of aquatic invasive species has “grown to a very high level,” noting that zebra mussels were found in Lake Minnetonka in 2010 and that 40 other species have been identified as threats to Minnesota waterways.

The Park Board, under the proposal, would begin locking the boat launches when they’re closed. Previously, they were chained but not locked.

The policy does not apply to canoes and kayaks, which are often launched from spots along the shore.

According to the Park Board resolution, last year staff did 1,000 inspections at Minneapolis lakes. Inspectors did not find any aquatic invasive species in boats being launched. 

Park Board Approves Trail Improvement Plans for Dean Parkway and West Side of Cedar Lake

The following Press Release has been issued by the Park Board:

PARK BOARD APPROVES PLAN TO IMPROVE TRAILS AT DEAN PARKWAY AND THE WEST SIDE OF CEDAR LAKE

Community Advisory Committee recommendations accepted, along with separated trail modifications between Benton & Cedar Lake Parkway

At the March 20 Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) meeting, the Commissioners unanimously voted to pass a resolution for the Dean Parkway-Cedar Lake Trail Improvement Plan. The “yes” vote accepted a Preferred Concept Plan and recommendations developed by an appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) representing regional trail users and local neighborhood groups. The resolution included a plan modification separating bicycle and pedestrian trails for a one block segment along Dean Parkway between Benton and Cedar Lake Parkway.

The split trail modification occurred after a group of neighbors expressed concerns at the Public Hearing on March 6. At that hearing, the Planning Board heard testimony from several neighborhood members. Planning Committee Chair Anita Tabb tabled the vote until the March 20 meeting in order to give MPRB staff time to meet with neighbors and CAC to address the neighborhood’s concerns.

On March 11, MPRB staff held an on-site meeting with the neighbors and the CAC. Staff suggested options for Dean Parkway trails between Benton and Cedar Lake Parkway to address home owner concerns about safety. The modifications provide separated trail alignments for pedestrians and bicyclists for a one block segment. From these options, a modification was selected and incorporated into the plan.

The approved concept plan focuses on improvements to known trail conflict areas, lighting, signage, and connections to regional trails. Proposed improvements are not expected to change the current use of the trails as a popular recreational and commuting route abutted by numerous urban amenities.

“The trails continue to grow in popularity for both pedestrians and for recreational bicyclists,” said 4th Park District Commissioner Anita Tabb. “Enhancing the investment in such a high-demand asset ensures that the Park Board provides a safe and attractive amenity, while encouraging enjoyment of this great city and fostering a healthy lifestyle.”

The trails along Dean Parkway are a critical part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system. They connect to Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Three regional trails intersect the project area: the Midtown Greenway, the Kenilworth Trail, and the Cedar Lake Trail. Project construction is expected to be underway by fall of 2013.

Funding for the Dean Parkway trail improvements is provided by the federal Transportation Enhancement Act and Regional Park Operations and Maintenance funding provided through Metropolitan Council and the State Legislature.

For background information and to view the approved improvement plan, please visit the project page at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/DeanCedarTrails or call 612-230-6438. Sign up to receive email updates on this and other MPRB projects.

Questions from media:

Dawn Sommers, Communications and Marketing Manager

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Office: 612-230-6407 / Cell: 612-221-9155

dsommers@minneapolisparks.org

Questions from the public:

Deborah Bartels, Project Manager, Planning

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

612-230-6438 dbartels@minneapolisparks.org

Heads-Up for the March 20, 2013 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE MARCH 20, 2013 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 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. Regarding the Preliminary Engineering Design for a Proposed Shared-Use Trail and Overlook Plaza on Ridgeway Parkway.

The following topics are some agenda highlights:

–Accepting the Concept Plan Recommended by the Appointed Community Advisory Committee for the Dean Parkway and Cedar Lake Trail Improvement Project

–Authorizing Construction Services Contracts with McKinstry for Rehabilitation of the Parade ice Garden and Energy Upgrades at Other Facilities in the Minneapolis Park System in the Combined Amount of $9,345,176 and Authorizing Administrative Use of a Construction Contingency Up to $454,824 for Necessary Construction Related Issues that May Arise with the Contract

–Approving Amendment #3 to the May 10, 2011 Fundraising Agreement with Minneapolis Swims for an Indoor Aquatic Facility at the Phillips Community Center

–Amending Chapter 2 of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Code of Ordinances and Adopt the New Policy on Alcohol in the Parks

–Approving the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Aquatic Invasive Species 2013 Inspection Rules, and Authorizing the Superintendent to Implement These Rules from April 15, 2013 to December 01, 2013; and Approving and Directing Staff to Implement the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force Recommendations for 2013 Als Prevention

–Approving Amending the Boat Docking Permit with Paradise Charter Cruises and the Minneapolis Queen to 1) Extend the Permit Termination Date to December 31, 2019 With an Increase in the Fee by 2% Each Year for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019; and 2) Include Up to Four Parking Stalls in the Bohemian Flats Pay Parking Lot for the Exclusive Use by Paradise for the Period April 1 to November 1 for Each Year through the Extended Permit Period for an Annual Fee of $200.00 Per Stall Per Year

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com

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: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79

Regular meetings are typically retelecast 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 http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on http://www.minneapolisparks.org two business days prior to meetings.

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

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Parade Ice Garden will get Major Renovation

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the March 4, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:

PARADE ICE GARDEN WILL GET MAJOR RENOVATION

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved its largest borrowing measure in many years, agreeing to spend $9.8 million to upgrade Parade Ice Garden near downtown and make energy improvements and city golf courses.

Board members unanimously approved the spending a couple of weeks after staff presented a consultant study showing that the Park Board spends hundreds of thousands annually to maintain and operate an ice arena with a leaky R-22 refrigeration system. Along with a new system, the funding will also allow for the installation of new floors and fix a falling roof.

Plan Would Connect Bike Trails Between Calhoun, Cedar, Isles

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the March 11, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:

Plan would connect bike trails between Calhoun, Cedar, Isles

For bicyclists navigating the city’s Grand Rounds trails, one of the loop’s most dicey areas is Dean Parkway, which connects Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.

A community advisory group has been brainstorming over the winter for a way to fix the area, making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The most significant part of the plan is to add off-road bike and pedestrian trails between the Kenilworth Trail near Cedar Lake all the way to Lake of the Isles.

While bike commuters use the area often, it’s also heavily used by recreational bicyclists, who prefer off-road trails. Under the current configuration, bicyclists share the roadway with cars on Dean Parkway.

The committee had three goals: improving safety, making the trails more usable and preserving as many trees as possible.

The area is home to many big, old and unique trees. Preliminary estimates say about 15 trees will have to come down, said Project Manager Deb Bartels.

The existing bike trails inside Dean Parkway — which are cracked and pockmarked — would be repaved.

The plan’s estimated budget is $870,000, which exceeds the amount the Park Board has budgeted for the project. Bartels said the committee will also recommend some cost savings options, such as reducing the number of benches, making a smaller pedestrian loop on the south part of Dean Parkway and opting for asphalt in a few places where concrete was planned.

Prior to a March 6 Park Board meeting, several Dean Parkway homeowners began organizing to protest the plan. They argued that they had not been properly notified of major changes and successfully petitioned for a delay in a decision.

“[This plan] threatens the safe accessibility of pedestrians, bikers and and drivers who might pass through this beleaguered Dean Parkway-Cedar Lake Parkway maze, as well as the safety and access to residents who live here and must navigate through this space every day,” said resident Claudia Swager.

If approved, construction would begin in August.

(Park Watch note:  Commissioner Anita Tabb and staff had a meeting with the neighbors and CAC members on Monday,  March 11 to address neighbors’ concerns.  It was decided that some changes would be made to the plan.  The item will go back to the board for a vote.)

To view the plan, visit http://tinyurl.com/axulcux

 

Sex Offender Amendment is a Deal Killer to Park Dedication Fee

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the February 27, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:

Park Board: Sex Offender Amendment is a Deal Killer to Park Dedication Fee

UPDATE: Bill author Frank Hornstein said that once the Senate passes a version of the park dedication fee bill, the legislation will go to a conference committee where amendments, such as Scott’s, could be removed.  “This is what is known as a gotcha amendment,” Hornstein said.

Last week, we wrote about a bill: http://www.journalmpls.com/news-feed/bill-calls-on-developers-to-chip-in-for-new-parks that would allow Minneapolis to use money from new development to build parks in surging residential areas.

The Minnesota House voted overwhelmingly in favor of that bill on Monday evening, but a surprise amendment from Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) may have killed the deal.

Scott’s amendment would not allow the Minneapolis Park Board to use the fee revenue to build new parks within 1,500 feet of where a level 3 sex offender lives.

Scott got 86 votes, including a few from DFLers. All Minneapolis lawmakers voted against Scott’s amendment.

Because many sex offenders in Minneapolis are homeless and list only zip codes for their address, the amendment would prevent new park construction in many areas, including the North Loop, according to Park Board Attorney Brian Rice.
 
“1,500 feet is 5 blocks. Most existing parks in neighborhoods are within 6 blocks,” Rice wrote in an e-mail. “Limiting new park locations based on this standard is a deal killer.”

The park dedication fee requires developers to pay the Park Board $1,500 for every new residential unit they build. That money could only be spent on building new parks or making capital improvements to parks within six blocks of where the fee was collected.

The bill would help fund new and improved parks in some of the surging areas of Minneapolis, such as the North Loop, the U of M area, Uptown and along the Hiawatha LRT line. Rice’s estimates have revenue citywide at roughly $1.5 million annually.
 
The North Loop would like to build a new park somewhere just west of Washington Avenue http://static.squarespace.com/static/502d491524ac98ff79e26443/t/5109a0fbe4b0086d33c2eb41/1359585531564/NorthLoopScopingStudy_Final.pdf between 7thth and 9th avenues. Several sex offenders report being homeless in downtown zip codes that are within a few blocks of that area.
  
Two years ago, the Journal studied where the state’s sex offenders live and found that Minneapolis is home to over half of the state’s level 3 sex offenders http://www.journalmpls.com/node/16562 even though it only represents 7 percent of the state population.

According to the Department of Correction, 34 level 3 sex offenders currently live in the 55411 zip code of North Minneapolis, so the amendment could also prevent park dedication fee funding in many areas of North Minneapolis.
 
A Senate version of the bill has passed through a committee, but hasn’t been scheduled for a full Senate vote.

You can search registered sex offenders by zip code, city or county on this website: https://www.doc.state.mn.us/level3/search.asp