The following post contains excerpts from the blog created by Cam Gordon, second ward Minneapolis City Council Member. These excerpts are from a blog titled “Whose Yard Is It?” which was posted on June 6, 2014. Here is the link to the entire blog: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2014/06/whose-yard-is-it.html
“Whose Yard is it?
“SHOULD SERVE ALL MINNEAPOLITANS
“I agree (in part) with a recent Star Tribune editorial: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/261324051.htm that it is time “tackle the Yard.” David Brauer : http://www.southwestjournal.com/voices/voices/downtown-easts-yard-gets-increasingly-privatized and former Mayor Rybak: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/261320871.html are right to be worried about the future of this new downtown east park.
“So far it looks like the Vikings are ahead 21 – 3 midway through the third quarter and if we don’t up our game now this park will fall far short of its potential to be a real public jewel that would serve all Minneapolitans – and not just as an extension of the large commercial enterprise venue now under construction.
“Yes, the Yard must welcome game-day visitors, tourists, and people who work downtown. But if these are the only people who feel welcome there and use the park, we will have missed an enormous opportunity to improve the lives of our residents.
“NOT A FREE PARK
“And let’s be crystal clear, unlike what the Star Tribune indicated when they wrote, “The city is getting, essentially, a free park…” the City and the people of Minneapolis are paying for this park. The Yard is not some gift from Wells Fargo, Ryan Corporation or the Vikings. We are using revenue from parking, in a ramp we are paying to build, to buy the land as an extension of the Vikings Stadium deal that will cost Minneapolis millions and millions of dollars. Minneapolis taxpayers are taking on risk for the Yard, and will have most, if not all, of our sales tax revenue obligated, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, for decades to come because of the stadium deal that made it possible.
“WE NEED TO REVERSE THE GIVEAWAY OF PARK TIME TO THE COMMERCIAL USES OF THE SPORTS TEAMS
“We need to halt and reverse the giveaway of park time to the commercial uses of the sports teams and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Granting them exclusive use and access to a minimum number of events makes some sense, but additional days beyond the maximum of 62 already approved by the City Council is unacceptable. Letting them apply for additional days and events and compete with other alternatives within a fair and open process like everyone else makes more sense. Allowing one user to tie up the space for 3 days for one 2 hour event is unnecessary, inefficient and inequitable. Last December the Council approved a term sheet that (by my math at the time) would have granted use of the park area to the Vikings or the Sports Authority for 62 days out of the year. In February Ryan and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority signed an agreement that appears to give a possible them exclusive rights to a whopping 118 days. This is unacceptable and is not what City policymakers approved. Let’s fix this now.”