Monthly Archives: December 2014

Heads-Up for the January 2, 2015 Park Board Annual Meeting

5:00 P.M.  MPRB ANNUAL MEETING. The meeting (which will be short) will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza. The purpose of the Annual Meeting is to elect officers for the board and make appointments to committees.

The complete agenda for the MPRB Board of Commissioners Annual Meeting on January 2, 2015 is at   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:

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 The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Elise Morton’s Reflections on the 12/17 Mpls. Park Board Meeting

The following letter to Commissioner John Erwin dated December 22, 2014 is from Longfellow Resident Elise Morton and was later posted on  The MPRB meeting agenda subject being discussed at the meeting and referred to here was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the Park Board and Bird Safe Glass.

Commissioner Erwin,

Thank you for your comments. It’s over now so there is not much use in going through all this, but your statements seem contradictory to me.

1. The city, Ryan, and the Vikings may have continued to construct their facilities, but it would have been illegally (4.)

2. The Park Board did refuse to accept and protect the green space, and its wildlife.

3. The Park Board did undermine its authority in the charter by refusing to manage and operate the park.

4. The Park Board would have done this because of 1, which is why it would have been in the City’s, Ryan’s, and the MSFA’s interests to negotiate on your terms.

5. The Park Board did give up leverage on park design.

If you have no control over the stadium, how is it that City Council does?

Your questions to Counsel seemed to me, to be constructed in a way to get the answers you wanted, and avoid the answers you didn’t.

I understand that this mess was not created by the Park Board and that it feels unfair to you that the public comes running to you to clean it up. However, this is what we have to do sometimes. That being said, I think the majority of people appreciated the conflict you were facing, and the risks, which seemed to me to be significant.

Furthermore, if it’s all City Council and the Governor, why didn’t you go to them? Is it because you feel like Olson who shouted at us “it’s not my problem!”? Which is perhaps also why he did not even feel it was worth his time to sit in the room during Open Time. !!?? What is he doing on the Park Board?

I am sorry that you were all put in this crappy situation. Really. But yes, what will you do, what is in your power to do, moving forward?

John Erwin’s Reflections on the 12/17 Mpls. Park Board Meeting

The following item was submitted by MPRB Commissioner-at-Large John Erwin to on December 21, 2014.  Commissioner Erwin is a resident of Seward.  The agenda subject being discussed at the meeting and referred to here was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the Park Board and Bird Safe Glass.

I would like to personally express my appreciation to everyone who took their time to write me, and/or took time to come to the Park Board meeting the other night.  A special thanks to those who spoke.  I appreciated all your comments and took them all very seriously.  Your commitment and passion is commendable and is very much appreciated.  As an environmentalist, and a biologist by profession, I am very concerned for bird safety as many others.

This was a difficult decision for all the Commissioners.  I believe every Commissioner would like to force the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to install ‘bird-safe’ glass.  Yet, it was very, very clear that the Park Board does not have the leverage to force them to do so.  Either the two City Council members or the three Governor’s appointees on the MSFA (5 total) have the authority to make this decision and have repeatedly chosen to ignore  public requests for ‘bird-safe’ glass.  Park Board Counsel repeatedly said this. . . . . I asked him this question at least twice during the meeting, and received a very clear ‘No’.

Should the Park Board have voted ‘No’, I believe the following would have occurred:

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Phyllis Kahn’s Reflections on the 12/17 Mpls. Park Board Meeting

The following item was submitted by State Representative Phyllis Kahn to  on December 22, 2014. The agenda subject being discussed at the meeting and referred to here was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the Park Board and Bird Safe Glass.  The statement here is the statement Rep. Kahn provided at Open Time to the Park Board Commissioners.

The solution is so simple. If MSFA, the Wilfs, etc. are asking for a yes vote, then just vote NO. The park will be an extra attractant killing field for migratory songbirds.

(Video) Bird Lovers, Viking Stadium Opponents Lose Bid to Stop Downtown Park at Park Board Meeting

The following item dated December 22, 2014 is courtesy of David Tinjum and  MillCityTimes and relates to the December 17, 2014 Park Board meeting.  Watch the video of both the Open Time segment with the public addressing the commissioners AND then the MPRB Commissioners discussing and voting on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the MPRB re the Downtown East land.  The MOU vote passed 7 to 2.  Commissioners Young and Bourn were the only two commissioners who voted against the MOU.


A coalition of bird advocates and Viking Stadium opponents turned out in force at the December 17 meeting of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) to oppose the the the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Minneapolis and the MPRB for MPRB ownership and leaseback to the City of the planned park in Downtown East Minneapolis adjacent to the new Vikings Stadium.  Watch the passionate (some misguided, some spot on) pleas from advocates and the contentious discussion between MPRB Commissioners, who eventually voted to approve the MOU:

(Video) St. Anthony Falls Regional Park Master Plan Overview

The following item is posted here courtesy of David Tinjum and MillCityTimes.


Watch video of the area being planned for and hear from Committee Chair Ted Tucker and some of the committee members.  Another community service video produced and directed by Peter Zenner:

Judge Dickstein’s December 20, 2013, 12-page Ruling on the Downtown East Park

Here is the link to Judge Dickstein’s December 20, 2013, 12-page Ruling on the Downtown East Park:

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch


What the Downtown East Lawsuit Means

The following item was posted on Park Watch on December 30, 2013 following Judge Dickstein’s ruling on the Downtown East Park:


What the Downtown East Lawsuit Means


During the Court Proceedings on December 20, 2013, the city claimed that “The Yard” was a “square” and not a “park.” Therefore the city would have jurisdiction over the “The Yard.”

But MPRB Attorney Brian Rice stated that “If it looks like a park, acts like a park and smells like a park, it should be treated like a park.” And the judge did agree with this assessment that it is a park.

In his ruling, Judge Mel Dickstein found that the council has the authority to buy the land for the park in the Downtown East project, but the city charter gives the Park Board and not the city the authority to run parks.

He also said, “The city must eventually turn the land over to the MPRB.”

His concluding statement states that,” If the City continues to work with the Park Board, and the Park Board eventually takes over operation and control of the Downtown East Park, there is no apparent reason for the Court to intercede—only time will tell whether Plaintiffs or the Park Board have good reason to seek injunctive relief..” _____________________________________

So to sum it all up:

The property called the Downtown East Project can be purchased by the city, but the city must eventually turn the land over to the Park Board because the city can not develop or maintain a park and the Downtown East Project is intended to be a park.

Here is the link to Judge Dickstein’s December 20, 2013, 12-page Ruling on the Downtown East Park:

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Lake and Knox LLC, City Reach Settlement Agreement

The following article by Michelle Bruch was published in the December 16 issue of the Southwest Journal.


Lake and Knox LLC, the developer of the 1800 Lake on Calhoun apartments, has reached a settlement with the city that involves flooding the lowest level of its basement with groundwater that is currently pumping into the Chain of Lakes.

Pending City Council approval of the settlement, the developer could pay $300,000 to the city and stop pumping by March 31.*

To offset the lost parking, the developer wants to build underground parking in a new mixed-use project on two lots east of the site, 1708 and 1714 W. Lake St., connected by a tunnel to 1800 Lake. City approval of a new development project is not part of the settlement agreement, said City Attorney Susan Segal.
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Park Board Approves Downtown East Park Deal

Park Board Approves Downtown East Park Deal

The following article by Eric Best was posted in the December 18, 2014 on-line edition of the Downtown Journal:



Ryan Cos.

Commissioners reluctantly supported the agreement after pleas from critics.

The Park Board voted 7-2 Wednesday to approve a memorandum of understanding with the City of Minneapolis to acquire and own the Downtown East Commons, the new park planned adjacent to the future Vikings stadium.

The vote comes after years of the speculation and legal battles on what entity would own the nearly two-block park developed by Ryan Cos.

“This is a very ugly thing. We didn’t make this deal,” Commissioner Anita Tabb (4th District) said.

Many of the board’s commissioners voiced a reluctance to approve the agreement at the Dec. 17 meeting due to concerns with the stadium’s design and their lack of involvement with the park. The City Council approved the deal last week.
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