Monthly Archives: January 2015

Viability of Southwest LRT, Current Kenilworth Alignment Questioned

The following article by CIDNA resident Michael Wilson was published in the January issue of the Hill and Lake Press. 

Viability of Southwest LRT, Current Kenilworth Alignment Questioned as Challenges Accumulate

Here is the link to the article which starts on the bottom of Page 1:

MINNEAPOLIS AFTER THE LOCK — January 22, 2015 Meeting

MINNEAPOLIS AFTER THE LOCK — January 22, 2015 Meeting

The following videos provided here are courtesy of the Mill City Times:


More than 200 people packed the Mill City Museum to learn about the future of the Minneapolis Riverfront after the closing of the Upper Lock at St. Anthony Falls, which will be no later than June 10 of this year.  The Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership convened an expert panel to explore the possibilities.  We’ve broken the event video into separate clips, followed by the entire event with a running time 1:29:02.  A few highlights:


Whitney delivers an impassioned plea to faithfully implement the Above the Falls Master Plan, protecting it from being eroded by private interests to the detriment of the common good.


John explains how the St. Anthony Falls Locks failed to live up to hopes for economic viability, and the invasive carp threat were just the final trigger for closure.


Tom recaps key moments in recent history of the Central Riverfront, culminating in the lock closure.


Nan details the logistics of the lock closure, shares possibilities for the future, and gives an update on hydro projects at St. Anthony Falls.

Here’s the link to all of the videos:



On January 27, 2015,  Eric Roper wrote in the Star Tribune that Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing to withhold state funding for the Minneapolis Park Board in retaliation for slowing progress on the Southwest light rail project.  Here is the Park Board’s response to that threat:

MPRB Response to Gov Dayton’s Recommendation to Cut MPRB Funding
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Liz Wielinski, President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), is issuing the following statement in response to Governor Dayton’s recommended funding cuts to the MPRB and statements about the MPRB’s actions related to the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT):

I am extremely disappointed that the Governor wants to punish the Park Board and more than 15 million users of regional parks in Minneapolis because the Met Council did not do their job in their pursuit of taking park land.Today Governor Dayton recommended reducing $3.77 million in funding for the regional parks that the MPRB operates and maintains for local and non-local visitors. I am dismayed that he is recommending this reduction in funding to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board “due to the Board’s continuing efforts to obstruct progress on the SWLRT project,” when the Park Board has provided the Governor with ample information to the contrary. In addition, the Governor has been misinformed about the Park Board using state money to do the engineering studies; the Park Board has not and cannot use state money for these studies.
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Heads-Up for the January 21, 2015 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the January 21, 2015 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”

6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARING for the McRae Park Athletic Field Concept Plan. Interested individuals wishing to speak can sign up at the meeting

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Accepting Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving Plans for the McRae Park Athletic Field

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

–Southwest Light Rail Transit Kenilworth Channel Crossing Alternatives

–Approving a License Agreement with the Trust for Public Land for Beta Use of ParkScore Park Access Evaluator and ParkScore Park Optimizer Model

–Approving the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary Management Plan 2015-2025

–2014 Annual Audit Entrance Meeting Notes

–Draft of Trail Standards Development – Marking and Signage

–Approving the Design and Engineering Concept for the Permanent Repair of the Failed Slope Along West River Parkway

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on January 21, 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

On January 2, 2015, MPRB President Liz Wielinski sent a letter to Marisol Simon, the Federal Transportation Administrator for Region 5, regarding SWLRT and requesting a meeting with the FTA.

On January 2, 2015, MPRB President Liz Wielinski sent a letter to Marisol Simon, the Federal Transportation Administrator for Region 5, regarding SWLRT and requesting a meeting with the FTA.

 Here is a link to that letter.

FTA Letter

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch



January 22 at the Mill City Museum / 6:00PM – 7:30PM

Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership

The lock is scheduled to be closed in June 2015.  Its closure will change river management practices and have an environmental and an economic impact far beyond the Falls and the local area.  The Forum is designed to help us better understand both the immediate and longer-term consequences of the closure and to hear ideas about how the site and the river can be used in new and different ways.

Pressure on Minneapolis Park Board mounts over Southwest light rail

The following article by Peter Callaghan was published in the January 8, 2015 edition of MinnPost.

Pressure on Minneapolis Park Board mounts over Southwest light rail

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

The Park Board, led by Liz Wielinski, above, hired an engineering consultant to show that extending the shallow tunnel beneath the channel is feasible.

Pressure is being applied from several directions on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to halt its path toward a legal challenge to the approved route for the Southwest light rail transit project.

It hasn’t worked so far.

Gov. Mark Dayton used a radio interview broadcast Wednesday — but recorded last month — to drop a bit of a bombshell, or perhaps a warning, about the future of the extension known as Southwest LRT.

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Park Board Goes Deeper Into Light Rail Tunnel Study

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published online in the Southwest Journal on January 7, 2015.

Park Board goes deeper into light rail tunnel study

Commissioners vote to extend a contract with the engineering firm studying tunnel options for Kenilworth Corridor

File photo:   The channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake in winter.

Under pressure to step out of the way, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board instead pushed ahead with its independent study of tunneling options for the Southwest Light Rail
Transit line in January.

Since it won a $245,500 contract in November, engineering firm Brierly Associates has developed two potential options for tunneling beneath the waterway that connects Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. Jan. 7, on a 5–2 vote, the Park Board approved spending another $248,275 for a second phase of work that will further assess those two options, particularly their potential to impact the lakes, groundwater and nearby parkland.

Parks officials maintain the Metropolitan Council, the lead agency on the nearly $1.7-billion light rail project, did not thoroughly examine tunneling options before settling on a new set of bridges that will carry light rail trains, freight rail trains and pedestrian and bicycle traffic over the channel. Parks Commissioner John Erwin said his vote in favor of the Brierly contract wasn’t an attempt to delay or derail the project.
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