Monthly Archives: May 2013

Golfers' Issues with M P R B / Loppet M O U

The following document was submitted to the Park Board on April 27, and was provided to Parkwatch by the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3:

Golfers’ Issues with MPRB/Loppet MOU

MOU Version submitted for May 1, 2013 committee meeting

Submitted by the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3
April 27, 2013

Issues Regarding the Wirth Par 3:

1) MPRB staff to continue to manage the Par 3:  The new documents do not contain the statement that MPRB staff will manage the Par 3 activities out of the new Welcome Center.  This was a key issue discussed at the meetings in February and golfers had been given full assurance that the management of the Par 3 would not be put in the hands of Loppet personnel. While this might be covered in the details of a subsequent document it is important enough to be included as a specific statement in the MOU and in the resolution adopting the MOU.

2) Golfers not represented on the Silent Sport Center/Building Management Committee:  At the meetings in February the MPRB staff indicated that Par 3 golfers would be among the Welcome Center user groups that would be represented on the Silent Sports Center/Building Management Committee. The new MOU includes only the Loppet Foundation, MPRB staff and vendors on the committee.  Golfers and other user groups must be represented on this committee.

3) Snow making and grooming for winter activities must be moderated to prevent additional harm to the Par 3 course and Par 3 revenues: It is an objective fact that winter activities on golf holes, especially snowmaking and grooming, has a negative impact on a golf course and on golf revenues.  This has been part of the rationale for relocating the 17th and 18th holes on the 18 hole course. And yet the MPRB continues to expand ski trails and increase snowmaking on the Par 3.  Past history indicates that the Par 3 is ready to open for golf in the spring at the same time that the front 9 of the 18 hole course is ready. This spring, 2013, when the front 9 opened, the Par 3 was not ready because there was still snow on areas where snowmaking occurred for ski trails.  It appears that more aggressive snowmaking during the winter has caused this additional delay. And now the MOU talks about “greater consistency of early-season snowmaking” which is likely to have the effect of shortening the golf season in the fall as well.  To the best of our knowledge the MPRB has no written standards for winter maintenance, snowmaking, grooming, etc. Such standards would help protect the golf courses as well as other park grounds and eliminate significant revenues losses, especially in view of the prospect that Loppet staff may replace MPRB staff for these functions.. If the MPRB plans to continue to expand snowmaking and trails at the expense of the golf courses then, at the minimum, they should impose a surcharge on winter activities to replace lost golf revenues and cover the increased golf maintenance expenses.

4) Adequate separation between Par 3 holes and Silent Sports Center activities must be maintained:  While the 22 acre area is an estimate and the map attached to the MOU is only intended to be a rough representation we must repeat our concern about separation.  The woods behind the 8th green and 9th tee, and along the north edge of the 9th hole of the Par 3 are a necessary buffer between the course and any silent sports activities in the area.  This separation ensures playability for golf and a safety zone protecting skiers, bikers and other park users. These trees should not be removed and event and hiking trails should not be put in these woods. Similarly, group activities in the silent sports center area must be far enough away from the existing Par 3 1st tee so as not to cause any interruption in play.

5) The Welcome Center Building must include some essential Par 3 requirements: The MOU lists a Concierge/ticket counter for golf which may be included in the building but fails to list golf club rental and golf cart (hand and motorized) rental functions which also must be included in the facility.  The other public facilities, including the locker rooms, must also be available to golfers.

6) The Par 3 building can not be demolished prematurely: Section IV-C indicates that the Par 3 building should be demolished after the Foundation has raised the $3 Million in donations. But the Par 3 building can not be demolished until after the new Welcome Center Building is completed and in operation.

Issues Regarding the Wirth 18 hole course:

1) Alternative Financing Strategies for funding the 18 hole course redesign should not come from the limited resources of the Enterprise Fund: MPRB management, staff and various Commissioners have acknowledged that required renovation, as well as some maintenance, of the MPRB golf courses has been delayed for a long time.  Enterprise Fund profits from golf and other activities have regularly been transferred from the Enterprise Fund to pay off bonded debt, to help reduce the tax levy, and to help cover the regular losses incurred by Winter Activities.  In 2013 the MPRB will finally initiate a program to study the needs of the golf courses and develop a plan to bring them back to the standards that should be maintained. But if there are no available monies in the Enterprise Fund then there is little chance that this restoration work can be done.  Were it not for the plan to have a Welcome Center and Silent Sports Center area, a redesign of the back 9 of the 18 hole course would not have even been considered.  From a golfer’s perspective a renovated back 9 is desirable. No redesign is needed.  If the redesign does occur, funding must come from a source other than funds which normally would be available for the golf courses.

2) The Theodore Wirth Golf Association should be represented on the 18 hole Golf Course Project Management Team:  For the Welcome Center and Silent Sports Center area the Loppet Foundation is represented on both the Project Management Team (through construction) and Project Management Committee (design phase). But the MOU states that the Theodore Wirth Golf Association members will be represented only on the 18 hole Golf Course Project Management Committee (design phase) and not on the Project Management Team (through construction). That Project Management Team will consist only of MPRB staff. Who does the MPRB staff expect to go to if a user related issue comes up during construction?  The Theodore Wirth golfers have contributed more funds, by a wide margin, in golf fees to support their course than the Loppet Foundation has ever raised in contributions or paid in fees for its activities.  There is no excuse for not having the golfers represented during the full term of the 18 hole Golf Course Project for the back 9.

3) The MOU appears to presume that construction may proceed on the Silent Sports Center area and the 18 hole course redesign before or whether or not the $3 Million is eventually raised for the Welcome Center building. If there is no Welcome Center building there is no need to relocate holes 17 and 18 and therefore there should be no Silent Sports Center area on that ground:  The Welcome Center and Silent Sports Center Area project started out as a plan which would shorten, or require the redesign, of the back 9 on the 18 hole course AND eliminate the Par 3. After objections from the golf community and confronting some realities the plan was recast to emphasize the primary importance of building the Welcome Center.  In an effort to gain support among golfers we were told that the Welcome Center could be built without making the changes to the Back 9. And, if a redesign of the Back 9 eventually did occur, golfers would be fully represented and fully satisfied with that effort. But again there proved to be too many problems with that plan. Now we have a new version of the plan that says we should go ahead with the bike event trails and the Silent Sports Center area plan even if the Welcome Center can not be built.

It is as though any part of the Foundation’s plan is more important than the golf course and justifies the disruption, revenue loss, and loss of historic golf holes which would occur.  This is not acceptable. To put is simply, this approach makes it clear that Loppet activities are important and golf is not. And yet this new plan still has too many unresolved problems to list here. The MPRB and the Loppet Foundation should start from the beginning and come up with a fresh plan which meets needs that is simpler, lest costly, is certain of funding, is not destructive,  and is developed on a cooperative basis with other park users.

Uncertainties and Unknowns in May 1st Version of Welcome Center M O U

The following item was provided to Park Watch by the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3:

Uncertainties and Unknowns In the May 1st version of the Welcome Center MOU

100% of the Fundraising will not be secured before some significant activities begin or are completed.

The nature of a Fundraising “Commitment” is unknown.

No source of funds for the Back 9 Redesign has been identified.

There is no agreement yet on the design of the changes to the Back 9.

The amount and source of necessary additional funds have not been identified.

There apparently is still a potential issue with respect to State bond financing and any lease or management agreement.

A new draft of the Lease Agreement for the Welcome Center Building has not been provided.

A new draft of the Management Agreement for the Silent Sports Center area has not yet been provided.

The Foundations business (financial and management) plan has not been provided.

The MPRB Finance staff’s preliminary evaluation of the Foundations business plan has not been provided.

The MPRB Finance staff’s in depth analysis of the Foundations business plan has not been completed or provided.

The MPRB Legal council’s report on the approval of the Foundation’s business plan has not been provided.

The Foundation’s Business plan has not yet been approved by the Minnesota Commissioner of Operations Management and Budget.

Loppet / M P R B Concerns

The following letter was presented during Open Time at the May 1, 2013 Park Board meeting by Robert Dwyers of the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3:


I represent the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3. We have a cooperative with the Theodore Wirth Golf Association and we support their objectives

I apologize for having to come before you again regarding the Memorandum of Understanding for the Welcome Center and surrounding area

But there are items which we hoped had been resolved in previous meetings which are now missing AND there are fundamental changes in this version of the MOU.

I have provided you with an email about our concerns. Please read them carefully.

Golfers have receive little recognition for their sympathy with the value of the Welcome Center and their willingness to accept a redesign of the Wirth Back 9

But this version of the MOU says that the redesign should go ahead even though the Welcome Center may not be built. This is NOT acceptable.

The loss of two historic golf holes is NOT justified by biking trails for which no environmental impact study has been provided for a biking program which is not yet developed. and where no search for alternative sites has been evident.

It is NOT acceptable to begin work on changes to the golf course without 100% of the Welcome Center project funding being secured.

In Addition: There are at least 13 major uncertainties and unknowns in this MOU, any of which could result in having to cancel the project or start over. Commissioners may not wish to proceed with this plan without greater knowledge about these items.

Loppet Timetable from the Proposed M O U

The following e-mails between Scott Wylie of Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3 and Assistant Superintendent Bruce Chamberlain are posted here with Mr. Wylie’s permission. The timeline chart mentioned in these e-mails is attached.

From Scott Wylie to Bruce Chamberlain, May 13, 2013:

Dear Mr. Chamberlain,

Please forgive me for neglecting to send you a timeline that I put together for the Loppet MOU. You may have noticed Commissioner Young referring to it during the May 1 committee discussion. I have attached a copy. You may find it useful in better understanding the very large number of deadlines contained in the latest version of the Loppet MOU.

The timeline shows demolition of the Par 3 clubhouse long before a replacement facility will be available. The reason for this appears to be the 6/30/15 expiration date of the 2011 Grant. You have stated that your intent has always been to not remove the Par 3 building until a replacement facility is available.

The MOU document contains the following language:

Section IV. Construction

Demolition. Demolition of the Park’s current Par-3 building will occur only if the Foundation succeeds in raising the $3 Million to cover the costs of construction of the Building and donates that amount to the Park Board. The demolition of the Par-3 building will occur as soon as practicable after the Park Board’s receipt of the Foundation’s donation.

I am hoping there is some way you could find it in your heart to amend the second sentence to read: “The demolition of the Par-3 building will not occur until a replacement facility is available for use.”

It would mean a lot if you could do this one small thing for golfers.

For the Friends of the Theodore Wirth Par 3,

Scott Wylie


From Bruce Chamberlain to Scott Wylie, May 22, 2003:

Park Board staff’s intention is to keep the current par-3 building in operation until the new building can be occupied. If we run up against the bonding deadline, we’ll have to use another funding source to demolish the building.

Bruce Chamberlain, ASLA

Assistant Superintendent for Planning


Parkwatch notes on the attached timeline:

–Roman numerals such as VI.B.1 under SOURCE refer to paragraphs in the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MPRB and the Loppet Foundation.

–X marks in the column headed SSC refer to items relating to the Silent Sports Center. X marks under WC refer to the Welcome Center. X marks under BACK 9 refer to proposed changes affecting the back 9 holes of the 18-hole golf course. X marks under PAR 3 refer to proposed changes in the Par 3 golf course.

Mr. Wylie prepared this timeline based on the version of the MOU that was discussed at the MPRB meeting of May 1, 2013.


Heads-Up for the May 22, 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. Marshall Terrace Park Playground Concept Approval.

This meeting will probably be a long one. In addition to the regular meeting, there are six committees on the agenda. The following topics are some of the agenda highlights:

–Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Loppet Foundation for Development and Fundraising Related to the Proposed Silent Sport Center Area and Welcome Center Building at Theodore Wirth Regional Park

–Approval of Support for the Development of the Mississippi River Trail (U.S. Bicycle Route 45)

–Entering into an Agency Agreement with the Department of Transportation for Completion of Brownie Lake Trail Improvements

–Legislative Update Report

–Strategy for Capital Budget Overage

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 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 re-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

Minutes of Bread and Pickle Liquor License Hearing

The following are the minutes of the 4/29/13 Bread & Pickle Public Hearing at City Hall. There were five citizens offering testimony–four against and one for.


Regular Meeting

Standing Committee of the Minneapolis City Council

Regulatory, Energy & Environment Committee

April 29, 2013

Present: Committee Members Glidden, Gordon, Goodman, Samuels, Schiff, Hofstede

7. Bread & Pickle, 4135 W Lake Harriet Parkway: Application for On-Sale Wine Class E with Strong Beer License.

Grant Wilson, Manager, Licenses and Consumer Services, reported on the license application. This was a request for a Charter On-Sale Wine Class E with Strong Beer License for the pavilion next to the Lake Harriet Band Shell on Park Board property. The interior of the pavilion has seating for 25 persons at tables and outside seating for 108 persons. The proposed hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. The design of the patio area was approved by the Park Board. Because this is a Charter Wine establishment, patrons will be required to order food before alcoholic beverages can be served and the business will be subject to a 70-30 ratio of food-to-alcohol sales. This establishment will be similar to two other restaurants: Sea Salt at Minnehaha Falls Park and Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun. Thirty-eight notices were sent to residents and property owners within 600 feet of the establishment as well as the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council and the Linden Hills Business Association. Eight responses were received: six opposed and two in support. The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council was in support of the application. The application meets the requirements of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances and staff recommended approval at this time subject to the public hearing.

The Committee discussed/questioned the following:

–The plan before the Committee was approved by the Park Board last week.

–To meet the City’s requirements, the plan must be compact and contiguous and there must be an approved Management Plan to control the space.

–In all applications of this type on park land, the City requires the businesses to allow individuals who are not purchasing anything to be free to use the table space since it is public land.

–Customers will not be able to walk outside the seating area with alcohol.

–There will be signage stating “No Alcohol Beyond This Point” with benches/planters delineating the seating area.

–The outside seating area does not include the Band Shell area.

–The benches and planters must be maintained to Park Board standards.

Glidden opened the public hearing. The Committee received the following comments:

a) Robert S. Carney, 4232 Colfax Avenue South, spoke in opposition to the application. The park system allows no advertising. Families with children use this area, and he was concerned that the area would be taken over by a drinking crowd. The area is very crowded in the summer when there are concerts, and the proposal will discourage people from walking by. He distributed a handout showing another location where the restaurant could be located instead. The character of the park system should not be changed.

b) Isaac Townsend, 4953 Thomas Avenue South, spoke in opposition to the application. He was a patron of Bread and Pickle and loved the food. Concerts take place every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day where a lot of families attend and enjoy the space. Equating this decision to the decision to allow wine and beer at Minnehaha Falls and Lake Calhoun is unrealistic because those locations don’t have a band shell that is used nightly. This is very much a family space different than the Lake Calhoun and Minnehaha Falls locations. It is currently difficult for two-way traffic to navigate the pathway, and congestion will be increased with benches and planters installed along the pathway. There should be foot-by-foot details showing how these planters will fit and if it will actually work. Signs will not stop people from walking around with drinks. If the application is approved, he requested that a mandated formal hearing be held again on this proposal one year from today.

c) Brad Rowe, 2421 Simpson Street, Roseville, stated that he worked for the owner and ran the daily operations at Bread and Pickle. A petition with over 550 signatures from local residents in favor of the application had been submitted to the Clerk for the record. He receives requests from regular customers daily asking that the establishment serve beer and wine.

d) Arlene Fried, 1109 Xerxes Avenue South, spoke in opposition to the application noting that she was co-founder of the Park Watch organization. The Lake Harriet concession stand is on a prime piece of lakeshore real estate that is highly congested during the summer season, especially during evening and weekend concerts that can attract as many as 2,200 music lovers. The lakeshore plaza attracts parents with toddlers and kids in strollers, people walking dogs, and individuals who may be using wheel chairs or scooters, in addition to walkers and bikers. The Lake Harriet concession stand is different than any other in Minneapolis in that every summer night it has up to 2,200 people crowding into the surrounding area. Cluttering up the area with the required benches and planters will create barriers and congestion. The concession area is not large enough to safely accommodate the existing traffic and the expansive wine and beer garden being requested. She asked the Committee to respect Lake Harriet and its history for what it is: a public park. (Ms. Fried also submitted her comments in writing.)

e) Jenny Halloran (sp?), 4216 Queen Avenue South, spoke in opposition to the application. This is different than any other park in Minneapolis because of the concerts and programs that are held their every night of the week during the summer. It sends a message to kids that people can’t have fun without alcohol.

Written comments were also received and included in the public record.

Glidden moved approval of the application. The Park Board made a decision about how they want the property to be used. Changes were incorporated into the plan at the direction of City staff to insure that it met certain requirements. Staff will have a role in reviewing and evaluating the use of the space to insure that it continues to meet the requirements of the City of Minneapolis.

Hofstede requested that it be entered into the record that she had received a telephone call from a business owner commenting that he is feeling additional pressure on a variety of avenues such as food trucks and others competing with established restaurants.

Gordon, Schiff, Goodman, and Hofstede spoke in favor of the motion.

The Glidden motion to approve the application was adopted upon a voice vote.

New Deputy Superintendent Named

The following press release has been issued by the Park Board:


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will soon welcome a new Deputy Superintendent, Jody Tableporter, who will begin her duties on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller announced Jody Tableporter as her selection after a national candidate search.

Working closely with Superintendent Miller, Tableporter’s role as Deputy Superintendent will be similar to that of a Chief Operating Officer. She will oversee the day-to-day functioning of the MPRB and focus on improving organizational performance and maintaining high quality standards for the nationally recognized system of parks.

Superintendent Miller, who has been praised by local units of government and organizations for her collaborative work and vision for serving the city, believes Tableporter brings the right skills to the position and that she will be successful in strengthening the organization and improving service delivery to the community.

“Jody’s breadth and depth of experience is impressive and will be a true asset to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board,” said Superintendent Miller. “Jody is a highly effective leader who has exceptional knowledge of operations, strategy development, fiscal management, community engagement and park redevelopment. Jody has also shown a strong commitment to public service and to protecting and managing shared natural resources.”

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board serves an estimated 18 million visits annually to its 197 regional and neighborhood parks. The park system, which celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, is locally and nationally recognized for enhancing the quality of life for residents and park visitors.

A resident of Minneapolis, Tableporter has served as the Executive Director of Voyageurs National Park Association since 2011. From 1999 to 2010, she held leadership positions within organizations in London and England that focused on the economic revitalization of cities and regions and the physical redevelopment of buildings and parks. Prior to that, she was at Cargill for approximately eight years.

“The Minneapolis park system is a gem that is loved by locals and admired nationally,” said Tableporter. “I am joining a team at the MPRB that has the privilege to serve current residents and preserve and develop the park system for future generations– what could be better!”

Free Lecture at Walker: Designing Governor's Island

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation has announced the following event:


This free lecture is the second of two lectures in “Next Generation of Parks™: Urban Design series.”

Adriaan Geuze of West 8

Thursday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.

Walker Art Center

Free tickets available from 6pm at the Bazinet Garden Lobby Desk

“America is in the blossom years of landscape architecture,” Adriaan Geuze has said. The cofounder of West 8 talks about his firm’s contribution to that flowering: an 87-acre master plan for parks and public spaces on Governors Island, a military site for more than 200 years in New York Harbor. West 8 took a multidisciplinary approach to addressing a host of complex design issues, including public access, ecology, historic preservation, and infrastructure. Their plan, currently under construction, builds on a fledgling but wildly successful arts and culture program that already has visitors claiming this place as their own. In 2011, Geuze and West 8, which is based in Rotterdam with offices in Belgium and New York, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Fonds BKVB, the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.

Citizen Comments on Bread & Pickle Liquor License

Park Watch Comment: The items in the accompanying attachment represent citizen submissions to the City’s Regulatory Committee regarding the license for wine and beer at Bread & Pickle which was the subject of a public hearing on April 29, 2013. They are of public record and were obtained through a data request.


Bread & Pickle Likely Getting Alcohol License

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the Southwest Journal on May 13, 2013:

Park Watch Comment: It is interesting to note that five individuals spoke at the Public Hearing; of the five, only one was in support of the wine and beer license–and that individual was an employee of Bread & Pickle. Of the individuals who submitted written comments earlier, the tally was six against and two for. Park Watch spoke in opposition and that statement was posted on Park Watch on April 29.


It shouldn’t be long until Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet begins serving beer and wine.

The city’s Regulatory Energy and Environment Committee on April 29 voted to give the restaurant a license to sell alcohol at its location near the park’s band shell. A full City Council approval will likely come on May 10.

Owner Kim Bartmann has been working with city and Minneapolis Park Board staff for over a year, she said, and hopes to soon offer a half-dozen tap beers and a few wine options.

The city’s vote came after the Minneapolis Park Board had debated Bartmann’s plan during two meetings in April. Bartmann plans to have seating for 133 patrons and, with the city’s urging, will set up a perimeter with planters.

Any park user can enter the seating area, but alcohol cannot leave the boundaries. Alcohol will not be allowed in the band shell’s seating area.

The Park Board narrowly signed off on Bartmann’s plans, voting 5 to 4 to side with the restaurateur who is also behind Bryant Lake Bowl, Barbette and Pat’s Tap. Voting against the final patio plan were commissioners Bob Fine, Anita Tabb, Liz Wielinski and Annie Young.

A few neighbors showed up a public hearing at City Hall, arguing that Lake Harriet is different than Calhoun and Minnehaha Park, where alcohol is sold at Tin Fish and Sea Salt Eatery. They said Lake Harriet is more of a family setting and further, the area will become too congested with tables and planters.

“My concern is this area is going to be taken over by a drinking crowd,” said Bob Carney Jr., an East Harriet resident.

City Council members, in voting for the beer and wine license, said they would go along with the Park Board’s decision.

“This is their decision to make and we are not in a position to be overriding them on a close vote,” said Lisa Goodman (Ward 7). “That seems a little political to me.”