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Park Board Hires Firm to Study Southwest LRT Tunnel Option

Park Board Hires Firm to Study Southwest LRT Tunnel Option

The following article by Eric Best was posted on the November 21, 2014 online edition of the Southwest Journal.

The Minneapolis Park Board passed a resolution Nov.19 to move forward with a study on an alternative option for the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project.

The Park Board voted 7-0 with two abstentions to pay national engineering firm Brierley Associates $245,500 to study the possibility of building a shallow tunnel under the channel that connects the Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake.

The firm would examine if this option would be less disruptive than the option than the bridge option favored by Metropolitan Council planners, who are leading the $1.7 billion Southwest LRT Project. The Park Board would fund the study with reserve funds, according to an Oct. 1 resolution.
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Heads-Up for the December 3, 2014 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the December 3, 2014 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.  Visitors to Park Board meetings can find at the back of the meeting room the agenda book with all the printed materials for the meeting

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”

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Adopting the 2015 MPRB Budget

–Receiving and Filing Summary of Salient Points – 2013 Evaluation of Superintendent Miller

–Accepting the Non-Appointed CAC Recommendations and Approving the Concept Plan for Mississippi East Bank Trail.

–Authorizing the Formation and Charge of an Appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Bossen Field Park Master Plan Development

–Setting the 2015 Tax Levy for the MPRB

–Approving the 2015 Legislative Agenda of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Wading Pool and Playground Improvements at Bethune Park in North Minneapolis

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Hi-View Park Playground Improvements

–Authorizing a Forty-Five (45) Day Public Review and Comment Period Beginning December 4, 2014 for the Draft Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on December 3, 2014 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx .  Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on this web page two business days prior to meetings. Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the same web page two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the previous two months.

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. They are normally in the agenda packet 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 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.

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

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
www.mplsparkwatch.org

Bridge Designs for Kenilworth Corridor Unveiled

The following article by Peter Callaghan was posted on MinnPost on November 25, 2014

Bridge Designs for Kenilworth Corridor Unveiled   

Existing wooden railroad bridge: The bridge has six rows of wooden piers.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Council
Existing wooden railroad bridge: The bridge has six rows of wooden piers. Each side has different types of railing.

Three designs for a new bridge over the Kenilworth Channel for the ongoing Southwest light rail expansion project were released by the project office Monday, carrying descriptions such as Arched Pier Concept, Thin Deck Concept and Steel Pier Concept.

Once built, the new bridge will replace a mid-century timber rail bridge that now carries a freight rail line as well as runners, walkers and cyclists on the popular Kenilworth Trail. Beneath is the channel that connects Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles that is used by canoers, kayakers and — when it freezes over — cross-country skiers.

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December 4, 2014, Thursday – Pillsbury A Mill Hydroelectric Project Public Scoping Meetings

The following item was published in the Mill City Times.  The original article can be read at http://millcitytimes.com/mill-city-minneapolis-events/december-4-2014-thursday-pillsbury-a-mill-hydroelectric-proj.html .

December 4, 2014, Thursday – Pillsbury A Mill Hydroelectric Project Public Scoping Meetings

Times:  Noon and 5:00 pm

Location: Terrence Murphy Hall, Room 202, 1000 LaSalle Avenue

Minneapolis Leased Housing Associates IV (developer of the A Mill Artists Lofts project) will hold two scoping meetings for the A-Mill Artist Lofts Hydroelectric Project to receive input on the scope of the Applicant Prepared Environmental Assessment that the developer will be preparing.

A copy of the scoping document may be found here: https://app.box.com/shared/static/z3ows4jgamqlwofo8i0d.pdf

More info on the meeting: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-11-21/html/2014-27554.htm

There also will be an Environmental Site Review Meeting on Thursday, December 4, 2:00pm, at Xcel Energy Water Power Park, 206 Main Street SE.  This gathering will include tours of the intake and outlet areas.

SW LRT to be discussed on KFAI on Friday, November 21

This Friday at 9 am, on KFAI 90.3 FM, George Puzak, Mary Pattock & Susu Jeffrey will be guests on the radio show Catalyst: Politics and Culture.

George will represent Lakes & Parks Alliance.
Mary will represent LRT-Done Right.
Susu Jeffrey will address water issues.

http://www.kfai.org/catalyst

Website: www.lakesandparks.com
Website: www.kenilworthpreservationgroup.com

Heads-Up for the November 19, 2014 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 — Accepting the Non-Appointed CAC Recommendations for Mississippi East Bank Trail.  Individuals wishing to speak can sign up at the Hearing.

PUBLIC COMMENT during the regular meeting on the Superintendent’s Recommended 2015 Budget; also 2015 Budget Discussion

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Columbia Park Picnic Shelter Rehabilitation

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Concept Plans for Hi-View Park Wading Pool Improvements

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations to Approve the Concept Plan for Stevens Square Park Playground Improvements

–2015 Budget Discussion

–Authorizing the Formation and Charge of an Appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the South Service Area Master Plan

–Receiving and Filing the Financial Status Report of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as of the Third Quarter, 2014

–Authorizing the Superintendent to Execute a Preliminary Memorandum of understanding with the City of Minneapolis for a Promise Zone Initiative Application, Contingent on Board Approval of the Final Memorandum of Understanding if the City is Awarded A Promise Zone Designation

–Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Brierley Associates for Engineering Services Related to the Feasibility and Prudence of Kenilworth Channel Crossing Alternatives in the Amount Up to $245,500

–Accepting the Non-appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving the Concept Plan for the Mississippi East Bank Trail

–Authorizing the Formation and Charge of an Appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Bossen Field Park Master Plan Development

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on November 19, 2014 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx .  Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on this web page two business days prior to meetings. Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the same web page two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the previous two months.

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. They are normally in the agenda packet 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 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.

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

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
http://www.mplsparkwatch.org

Minneapolis Picks Architecture Finalists for Stadium-Area Park

The following article by Sam Black was published in the November 6, 2014 issue of the 
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.

Minneapolis Picks Architecture Finalists for Stadium-Area Park

 

Downtown East City Day

A 2013 rendering of the Downtown East development when its completed. The Commons park in the center of the site was previously known as The Yard.

Three landscape architect-led teams have been named finalists by the city of Minneapolis to design the new two-block long park called the Commons near the new Vikings stadium.

The 4.2-acre site is bordered by Park Avenue, 4th and 5th Streets, and a proposed building on 5th Avenue South. Last month, 14 companies submitted proposals to the city.

The three finalists are:

  • The Olin Studio, Philadelphia and Snow Kreilich Architects, based in Minneapolis
  • Hargreaves Associates, San Francisco, Damon Farber Associates, Minneapolis and VJAA, Minneapolis
  • WORKSHOP Ken Smith, New York and Perkins + Will, Minneapolis

The three teams will be interviewed by a review panel that is made up of representatives of groups surrounding the project. The Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development plans to pick a team by mid-November and seek a formal selection by the City Council before the end of this year.

In October, Minneapolis business leaders formed Greening Downtown Minneapolis, a nonprofit that will oversee the park. The Minneapolis Park Board had initially considered running it.

CROWN HYDRO RESOLUTION AND LETTER FROM THE DMNA MEETING

CROWN HYDRO RESOLUTION AND LETTER FROM THE DMNA MEETING

The following item is from the November 6 meeting of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association meeting.

Crown Hydro Resolution Passed. A resolution opposing the Crown Hydro project passed and will be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and our elected officials at the City, State and Federal government. Here are the links to the resolution and to the supporting letter.

Download the resolution…
Download the supporting letter…

Minneapolis Park Will Green a Brown Part of Downtown, But at What Cost?

The following article by Rachel Kaufman was published in the November 6, 2014 edition of Next City, an on-line publication.

Minneapolis Park Will Green a Brown Part of Downtown, But at What Cost?

 

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Minneapolis Park Board voted not to take responsibility for a park that’s planned outside the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium.

When is a free park not a free Park?

The saga of Minneapolis’s Downtown East Commons, an ambitious planned park in a part of the city lacking in green space, is enough to make one’s head spin.

Next to a planned football stadium that will replace Minneapolis’s aging Metrodome, the Downtown East Commons is envisioned as a two-block, 4.2-acre “front yard” for the new stadium and a planned mixed-use complex all built by developer Ryan Companies.

Initially the space was proposed as a smaller plaza, a staging area for game-day events. The city asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to turn the plaza into a park that the MSFA and the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings could use on game days.
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Letter to Star Tribune from MPRB President Liz Wielinski Re SWLRT

The following commentary regarding SWLRT by MPRB President Liz Wielinski was submitted to the Star Tribune in response to a letter-to-the-editor written by Paul Linnee.

October 23, 2014

ln his commentary piece “Help me understand this light rail bridge logic”,,, Paul Linnee asks why the old bridge is so important to the park Board.

The old bridge is not the issue. The importance of this location is the parkland under, above and around the old bridge and whether the park like setting can possibly be preserved as the LRT, fright rail and trail are co-located in the Kenilworth Corridor.
Under a provision of federal transportation law referred to as 4(f), no federal dollars can be spent on a transportation project that impact$ park land unless there is no “feasible and prudent alternative”. No federal funds can be expended on this project unless the public agency responsible for the park (the Park Board in this case) determines that the transportation impacts are “de minimis,” i.e. insignificant.
One tunnel is required already. We believe a short extension of that tunnel under the Channel, would be feasible and prudent to protect park resources. Over 100 years ago, after fighting the railroads all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board acquired an easement on this property to facilitate the connection of Cedar Lake with Lake of the lsles. ln effect, the Park Board created the Chain of Lakes in
Minneapolis.
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