Monthly Archives: April 2013

Booze at Lake Harriet Advances

The following article by Eric Roper was posted on the Star-tribune Blog on April 18, 2013:

Booze at Lake Harriet advances

Is alcohol coming to Lake Harriet?

The Minneapolis Park Board signed off on a resolution Wednesday night to support bringing booze to Lake Harriet’s two-year-old Bread & Pickle eatery.

The City Council still needs to approve the liquor license — a process that could take weeks — but it’s likely the business will be able to sell alcohol sometime this summer. Bread & Pickle hasn’t opened yet for the season.

Allowing the concession stand to sell beer and wine would bring it in line with Tin Fish and Sea Salt, at Lake Calhoun and Minnehaha Falls.

But don’t take that glass of beer too far. Alcohol is not allowed in city parks, except in specified areas. The size of that area was constrained by the Park Board at last night’s meeting (see two diagrams below).

“It’s a smaller area,” said owner Kim Bartmann, who first started pursuing the license in fall 2011. “I believe it’s going to be very hard operationally. But I believe that unless I do it, it won’t be able to be expanded later.”

Arlene Fried, a co-founder of Park Watch, spoke at Wednesday night’s Board meeting against the original delineations for where drinking would be allowed. She said that planters and tables will create “barriers and congestion” for people walking through.

“Allowing one use to dominate this compact and very popular public area is poor planning; and, in this case, just plain dangerous,” Fried said in prepared remarks: “The Lake Harriet concessions stand was never meant to be a wine and beer garden any more than it was meant to be a Dairy Queen.”


The Park Board passed the resolution Thursday night, with this revised drinking area:

Opposing Proposal to Expand Lake Harriet Seating

The following letter was presented at Open Time during the April 17, 2013 Park Board meeting:


April 17, 2013


I am here today to speak against the proposal to expand the seating at the Lake Harriet concessions stand for a wine and beer garden, which will seat 150 patrons. I laud Kim Bartmann for all she has done with her concessions stand at Lake Harriet, but I have serious reservations about her proposal to expand seating.

I am quite familiar with this area and I was there this cold afternoon to imagine what it would look like on a beautiful summer evening. It is a prime piece of lake-shore real estate that is highly congested during the summer season, especially during the evening and weekend concerts that can attract as many as 2,000 music lovers.

The lake-shore plaza area is loved by many and attracts a variety of users. Cluttering it up with additional tables and seating, along with the required planters, will create barriers and congestion for parents with kids in strollers, people walking dogs, and individuals who may be using wheel chairs or scooters.

Allowing one use to dominate this compact and very popular public area is poor planning; and, in this case, just plain dangerous.

The Lake Harriet concessions stand was never meant to be a wine and beer garden any more than it was meant to be a Dairy Queen. Please respect Lake Harriet and its history for what it is–a public park.

Thank you.

Arlene M. Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis to get $9 M Makeover

The following article by Brian Arola was published in the April 15, 2013 StarTribune:

Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis to Get $9M Makeover

Genny Burdette of Woodbury and Anders Wisnewski of Minneapolis practiced at the Parade Ice Garden, set to undergo a nearly $9 million renovation.

Photo: Richard Sennott • 

Faced with renovation or closure of Parade Ice Garden, Minneapolis Park Board overcame “sticker shock” and approved an overhaul.

To the thousands of people who use Parade Ice Garden year round, the three ice rinks are a convenient, if game worn, place to play hockey, figure skate or just take a few laps for fun and exercise.

But it’s what is unseen that is causing most of the problems.

The refrigeration system is old, mechanically and environmentally. On top of that, it leaks.

Faced with either expensive renovation or closure of the popular 40-year-old arena, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted recently to go ahead with a nearly $9 million renovation.

“[They] were in a bind, and it’s really a terrible decision to be faced with,” said Arlene Fried of Minneapolis Park Watch, which monitors the Park Board’s activities.

The extensive renovations of the Kenwood-area arena, which are already underway, include replacing the outdated refrigeration system, the rink floors, boards on the south rink and the dehumidification system.

“It’s a complete renovation,” said Bruce Chamberlain, the Park Board’s assistant superintendent for planning. “All the mechanical systems are being replaced.”

The refrigeration system replacement is the most costly part. Currently, the arena uses an R-22 refrigeration system, but R-22, a greenhouse gas, is being phased out by the federal government by 2020.

The R-22 refrigeration system at Parade is also leaky. Last year, the system’s leaks cost the city $130,000.


The city is hoping energy savings, as well as increased revenue from more ice time on all three rinks throughout the year, will pay off the $8.8 million project in the long run.

Energy cost savings are about $93,000 annually, Chamberlain said, while annual operating and rehab costs could be reduced by $430,000.

Despite the projected savings, the cost of the project left some with sticker shock.

Andy Baltgalvis, manager of the Bloomington Ice Garden, said the suburban ice arena underwent similar renovations in 2007 at a fraction of the nearly $9 million cost.

“I’m kind of like wow, what are they doing for $9 million over there?” said Baltgalvis, who said he is a concerned citizen of Minneapolis.

Baltgalvis acknowledged that the project at Parade was on a larger scale. He said his sons played at the arena in high school.

“I’m not against this project, it’s just that I’m kind of going ‘is it really going to cost this much money?’?” he said.

Baltgalvis said the Park Board has been open to his concerns, and he’s looking further into the finances of the project. Chamberlain said the cost ballooned after initial estimates of $6 million didn’t fully take into account the scope of renovations needed


Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb said the renovations are needed, but the board isn’t thrilled with the cost. “Absolutely we had sticker shock,” she said. “It was very, very hard to take.”

Tabb said she’s comfortable with the financial projections showing the arena can pay the cost off, and the venue is in use enough by people across the city to make the renovations necessary.

Paul Larson, president of the Minnesota Storm Hockey program, said the project isn’t excessive and is simply making the facility functional. Losing the facility, he said, would affect the 700 kids in the hockey program, as well as figure skaters and adult hockey leagues that use Parade as their primary home. “It would greatly impact our program, because Parade is the most convenient arena,” he said

Demolition is underway on the north rink. Renovations on it should be done in time for hockey season in the fall. The south and studio rinks will be renovated in 2014, which ensures ice time will be available throughout construction.

Heads-Up for the April 17, 2013 Park Board Meeting


CLICK HERE for a link to the webcast of the 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:

–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

–Supporting a Liquor License Application to the City of Minneapolis from Bread and Pickle for an Alcohol Serving Area at the Lake Harriet Refectory According to the Diagram Enclosed as Attachment “A”

–Approving a Six-Month Contract with the Regents of the University of Minnesota for Research Services to be Performed to Analyze the Historical Significance of the Grand Rounds in the amount of $7,000 with Funding from the Minnesota Historical Society

–Mandating Recycling at All Events that Are Held on Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Properties Beginning January 1, 2014 and Requiring Staff to inform All Permit Holders and Event Coordinators of This Requirement During 2013

–Discussion of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Request for Proposals for Design of the Water Works Area as it Relates to the Central Riverfront Master Planning Process

–Presentation of Theodore Wirth Regional Park Forum Concepts

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, April 17 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 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

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

Lake of the Isles Update

The following report was provided to Park Watch by Harvey Ettinger:


In April 2011, the Citizens Joint Review Committee for the Lake of the Isles Renovation Project (2001-2009) submitted a comprehensive report to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board reviewing this project including specific recommendations to address needed remedial work and maintenance concerns. With the continuing deterioration at Lake of the Isles during the ensuing period, the Committee approached Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb, for assistance in obtaining support from Park Board staff.

Last fall, Commissioner Tabb met directly with Lisa Beck, Director of Park Board Operations, and made a site visit to the lake to review the situation. Following additional discussion with Commissioner Tabb and MPRB staff, Ms. Beck involved Marcia Holmberg, Natural Resources Coordinator, to investigate the Committee’s concerns and draft a long term vegetation maintenance plan that would focus primarily on: a) poor quality of parkland turf, (b) tall shoreline plantings obscuring open views to the lake (including extensive overgrowth of cottonwoods along the south shore of Lake of the Isles and Kenilworth Lagoon), and (c) maintenance of ornamental shrub beds around the lake.

The Committee met with Commissioner Tabb and Ms. Holmberg on March 11, 2013 at which time a comprehensive plan was presented to address the issues discussed above. Committee members were impressed with Ms. Holmberg’s extensive knowledge and experience with park vegetation and her proposal which would direct crews to initiate substantial cutting of tall shoreline plantings around the entire lake, including extreme overgrowth on the south shore, to begin sometime in April. Unlike the mechanized rotary cutter that has been used in recent years which resulted in the shredding of shoreline plants and turf, Civilian Conservation Corps crews will perform this work using both hand and small electric cutters. Because of the scale and complexity of this process, work will likely not be completed until the Fall.

As part of their review of problems with parkland turf, the Committee referred Ms. Holmgren to Sam Bauer at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Department of Soil Services in Andover who expressed serious interest in working with the MPRB as a “Joint” partner to develop an effective,long range turf renovation plan using student and U of M staff. Ms. Holmgren indicated that she had recently spoken with Mr. Bauer regarding such a possibility.

Regarding the status of the ornamental shrub beds, Ms. Holmgren confirmed to the Committee that an inventory has been taken of all of the plantings in each bed and an ongoing maintenance plan will be put in place this Spring. However, due to costly maintenance requirements, staff is considering possible elimination of several beds which would allow them to maintain remaining plantings at a higher level. The MPRB would like community input to determine whether the number of beds should be edited or whether the community was interested in developing an ongoing volunteer group to assist in the shrub bed maintenance.

In conclusion, the Committee requested that Ms. Holmgren forward a more detailed summary of her plan for publication in an upcoming edition of the Hill and Lake Press, the Uptown Neighborhood News and the South West Journal.

Thanks to Committee members representing the four neighborhoods around the Lake: Pat Scott-Kathy Low (KIAA) and Harvey Ettinger (EIRA-Committee Chair), who attended the meeting, as well as Marty Broan (LHRA) and Bob Corrick (CIDNA) for their on going participation. Please direct comments/questions to Harvey Ettinger at The full Committee report and Ms.Holmgren’s specific shoreline renovation plans can be viewed at

The Committee also wishes to thank Commissioner Tabb for her persistence and hard work in keeping this issue a priority at the Minneapolis Park Board leading to concrete action to resolve outstanding issues relating to the Renovation Project

Wirth Park Planning and Development Update

Park Board staff has issued the following information sheet for the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Planning and Development Project:

Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Planning and Development Update

The following projects have progress to report in Wirth Park:

Storm Seeding: The majority of woody removals have taken place, including some this winter in the wetland SE of Wirth Parkway and Glenwood. Temporary seeding was placed last fall in prepared areas. Next spring the project will continue with ongoing weed control and seeding of appropriate native seed mixes in all areas.

Wirth Beach Parking Lot and Trails (Phase 3): Though most of this work was completed in 2011, a few things remain. Over the winter, all of the railings along the Glenwood Ave trail and two boardwalks were removed and re-painted due to paint defects. This is scheduled to be complete by the end of March and the trail loop will be able to be re-opened. Additional seeding and plug planting in the bio-retention area west of the parking lot will be completed in spring along with final restoration and any seeding touch ups needed. Vegetation management will continue for one more year in the project area.

Wirth Pavilion Rehabilitation: The Pavilion Rehabilitation is underway. The project was awarded to CM Construction. This project includes complete renovation of the teaching kitchen and restrooms in the building. Building systems will be updated; wiring, plumbing, fire protection and sanitary sewer connections. New storm windows, insulation heating and air-conditioning along with a functioning fireplace will keep the building comfortable. New tables and chairs will make this space flexible for different group set ups. A grand re-opening is being planned for June, stay tuned for more details!

Winter Recreation Hilton Fund-Winter Recreation and Golf Cart Storage Building: This fund, which is dedicated to Winter Recreation improvements, will be used to replace two small aging golf cart storage buildings with a more durable and functional structure which can accommodate indoor storage of ski trail grooming equipment in winter and golf equipment in summer. Conceptual designs have been developed with a staff technical advisory group and will be available for review at the update meeting.

Sustainable Trail Planning: Schoenbauer Consulting will lead staff and trail development partners in a workshop style trail planning in spring 2013. Using the Wirth Park concept plan as a guide, Schoenbauer will focus on the pedestrian trails and the off-road bicycle connection in South Wirth as well as planning and design of the event trail loop in North Wirth. Schoenbauer Consulting worked on the consultant team which developed the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail System for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Master Plan Document: Staff are wrapping up the text and some graphics for the plan. The public comment period is planned to go to the full board on April 20th. At that time the plan will be available for public review and comment for 45 days. It will be posted online, as well as printed for review at MPRB headquarters and selected Recreation Centers. A full list of locations will be posted when the document is released. After the formal public comment period ends, the plan will be edited and submitted to the MPRB Board for adoption and Met Council review.

Fundraising Agreement with the Loppet Foundation: Negotiations continue toward a fundraising Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Loppet Foundation for the Welcome Center Building. The MOU, along with a draft lease to the Loppet Foundation for the Welcome Center building and an operations agreement for roughly 22 acres of land around the building is expected to be submitted to the Park Board of Commissioners for consideration in April. In the process of preparing the agreement, meetings have been held with the Wirth golfing community to understand their interests and, to the extent possible, address them in the agreements with the Loppet Foundation.

Bottineau Transitway – Theodore Wirth Regional Park (TWP) Forum The Theodore Wirth Regional Park Forum, a multi-day collaborative visioning process organized by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County (HC), was completed on March 2, 2013.

A multi-disciplinary design team gathered and utilized stakeholder input to explore possible connections between Theodore Wirth Regional Park and the proposed D1 Alignment of the Bottineau Transitway. There were over 50 attendees, and a wide range of input and ideas were generated. Many of the ideas informed the concepts for the two Bottineau Transitway Station options in the area of Theodore Wirth Regional Park (at Plymouth Avenue and Golden Valley Road) as well as areas along the corridor between these stations adjacent to Theodore Wirth Regional Park.

The next step will be to document the input received and the range of ideas generated by the forum. As materials are available the will be posted on the Wirth Park Forum for Bottineau Transitway page.:

For more information about the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Planning Process, please visit the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Improvements Page: or contact Andrea Weber, Project Manager, 612-230-6466

Beer and Wine at Lake Harriet? It's Up for Debate

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the April 2, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal just before the April 3 meeting. Don’t know how we missed getting it up sooner…

Beer and wine at Lake Harriet? It’s up for debate

Two years after opening near the shores of Lake Harriet, the Bartmann sisters want to start serving beer and wine at their Bread & Pickle food stand.

To make space for a half-dozen local brews and several wine options, Kim and Kari want to spend $100,000 or more upgrading the refectory, a project that includes raising a beer cooler above the breezeway and hoisting kegs up there.

There’s clearly support from the city to give Bread & Pickle a beer and wine permit, but the two sides are in disagreement over how large of a seating area the Bartmanns should have.

Originally, Bread & Pickle wanted to allow patrons to take beer and wine to the nearby band shell, where patrons could listen to live music or watch movies, Kim Bartmann said. But the city made it clear it’s not going to allow that, she said.

“I gave up on that discussion quite a while ago,” she said.

Bartmann has scaled back her request to about 150 seats that wrap around the south and east sides of the concessions stand (see maps below). That would be smaller than a similar vendor, Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun, which seats 245 and sells wine and beer.

The city, however, has proposed a much smaller area. A map shows a small semi-circle around the south doors of the refectory with room for just a few tables.

“If it’s only the smaller area, I won’t do it. It’s not going to happen. I am willing to compromise on some of that area, but if it’s just that small area that’s drawn, it’s not happening,” she said. “There’s no reason for it to be that small, and no one will be happy.”

Here’s where Bartmann and the city don’t see eye-to-eye. Business Licensing Manager Grant Wilson cited Minnesota statute 340A.410, which says, “A licensing authority may issue a retail alcoholic beverage license only for a space that is compact and contiguous.”

“The service area must be compact and contiguous, meaning that your servers kind of have some kind of control over where (alcohol) can be,” Wilson said.

Bartmann argues that her proposal is compact and contiguous, and no larger than similar Minneapolis venues like Tin Fish and Sea Salt.

Here’s where things get tricky, because the city, according to Tin Fish owners Sheffield and Athena Priest, require their staff to be responsible for stopping people from leaving their area with alcohol, and they don’t have concerts just a stone’s throw away.

“This one just doesn’t fit very well, because I don’t believe we have another on-sale beverage alcohol place that the public can intermingle with people where she wouldn’t have control over what they do,” Wilson said.

Bartmann will be required to post signs telling patrons not take alcohol out of the designated area. She’ll also have to add some time of landscaping to mark the zone, such as planters.

Bartmann stressed that people who aren’t drinking or eating will still be welcome in the area.
The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council ha sent a letter of support to the city of Minneapolis after meeting with Bartmann. The neighborhood board supports a beer and wine license for Bread & Pickle.

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park Board will hold a discussion on the proposal. The Park Board does not have authority over beer and wine licenses, but it could make a recommendation to the city.

Can A Park Reboot Your Brain?

The following article by Jeff Strickler appeared in the StarTribune on April 7, 2013:

Can a park reboot your brain?

Need a quick cure for stress? Head for the nearest park. Even if you only can get close enough for a peek, your brain will thank you.

This came as a surprise to a Scottish company that was testing a portable EEG (electroencephalogram) machine that measures brain-wave activity. In comparing the data that the machines produced, the company realized that every time one of its volunteer testers walked through a park for as little as 10 minutes, their brain waves became calmer and more meditative.

It doesn’t surprise John Erwin, president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and a horticulture professor at the University of Minnesota. Studies done by horticulturists over the past few years have found different ways that foliage affects the people around it.

In one study, just having trees or plants in a persons sight line resulted in a drop in stress hormones, Erwin said. In another study, people who drove to work on a parkway as opposed to a highway scored higher on creativity tests for an hour and a half [after arriving at their destinations]. And hospital patients with access to gardens have been found to recover significantly faster.

The portable EEG findings, reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, aren’t definitive because there were only 12 people in the test group and the study focused on how the machines were functioning, not the volunteers. But it still was enough for the researchers to conclude this has implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment.

Minneapolis is way ahead of the curve. When the park system was laid out 130 years ago, city planners wanted to ensure that every citizen was within walking distance of green space. To this day, no home in the city is more than six blocks from a city park.

Parks have a clear physical, mental and emotional impact on people, Erwin said.

The Chinese Garden and the Draft Washburn Fair Oaks Park Master Plan

The following letter was presented during Open Time at last Wednesday’s Park Board meeting:

April 3, 2013


I am speaking here today about the Draft Washburn Fair Oaks Park Master Plan. I want to urge you to reconsider the placement of the Chinese Garden in this park.

Neighborhood parks are intended to serve those who live within 6 blocks of the park. The proposed placement of the Chinese Garden within Washburn Fair Oaks Park has been controversial. Why put it where it is not wanted or appreciated?

It is a gift that should be situated where it is valued by those living closest to it. Consider Thomas Lowry Park and how its neighborhood values and nurtures it. Consider Loring Park and how its neighborhood values and nurtures it.

The Chinese Garden needs to be located where it too will be valued and nurtured. Please reconsider this project and find a site other than Washburn Fair Oaks Park for the Chinese Garden.

Thank you.

Arlene Fried

Free Lecture: Cultural Landscapes, Design and Historic Preservation

Charles Birnbaum, founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), will be speaking at a free lecture from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the U. of M., 100 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE.


This lecture will reveal both the opportunities and constraints in this area of converging disciplines. Special attention will be placed on the segmented divide between design and historic preservation and nature and culture – and how this information is consumed by the general public. Within this context, the limitations of available research (physical and financial), how we assign significance, and the quest for authenticity will also be explored. Additionally, larger philosophical challenges such as holistic stewardship and the recognition of a cultural landscape’s palimpsest (historic layers) will all be explored. Examples will be both local and National in scope.

About Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, FARR, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF):

Prior to joining TCLF, Birnbaum spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. His recent projects include two web-based initiatives: What’s Out There (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms. His has authored and edited numerous publications including the Modern Landscapes: Transition and Transformation series (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), Shaping the American Landscape (UVA Press, 2009), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (UVA Press 2005), Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture (1999) and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible (2004, both for Spacemaker Press), Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill 2000) and The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (National Park Service, 1996).

In 1995, the ASLA awarded the HLI the President’s Award of Excellence and in 1996 inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society.

He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Birnbaum was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent spring/summer of that year at the American Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture.

That same year the ASLA awarded him the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal and in 2009 the President’s Medal. Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning + Preservation and a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post.

Additional event information:

Download .pdf event flyer: