Monthly Archives: February 2015

Understanding on SWLRT Kenilworth Channel Crossing Reached Between Metropolitan Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The following press release was issued on February 27, 2015 by the MPRB.

 Understanding on SWLRT Kenilworth Channel Crossing Reached Between Metropolitan Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski announced today that the two agencies reached an understanding on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (Green Line Extension) crossing of the Kenilworth Channel.

With its engineering studies complete, Park Board staff and legal counsel are recommending to Park Board Commissioners support of a light rail transit bridge over the channel.  The agencies have an agreed upon memorandum of understanding (MOU) that provides for a more direct Park Board role in the design of the proposed bridges over the channel and earlier involvement in any light rail transit project to address impacts to park land and park resources owned by the Park Board.
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Public Hearing on Central Mississippi Riverfront Proposed Master Plan

Public Hearing on Central Mississippi Riverfront Proposed Master Plan

There will be a Public Hearing on March 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm at MPRB Headquarters for the Central Mississpppi Rverfront Proposed Master Plan.

Public Hearing on Central Mississippi Riverfront Proposed Master Plan

For additional information, click on this link.

Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan


The information in this post is excerpted from a news release dated February 23, 2015 and  circulated by Bob Carney, Jr., a former candidate for mayor in Minneapolis and a registered Lobbyist representing “We the People”


The LPA’s Lawsuit challenging Met Council’s Southwest Light Rail process has two upcoming Federal Court Hearings: Motion to Dismiss on February 25 and Motion for Summary Judgment on March 9; Lawsuit could stop, delay, or change Met Council’s plan

On February 25th at 10:00 AM Federal District Court Judge John Tunheim will hear the Metropolitan Council and FTA’s motion to dismiss the case.  On March 9th at 3:00 PM, Judge Tunheim will hear the LPA’s motion for summary judgment.

Both hearings are open to the public, and are at the Federal Court Building, Chamber 13E, 300 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis.  LPA has stated it has moved for summary judgment because all facts are a matter of public record and are not in dispute, consequently the case could be resolved immediately by the Judge, by applying the law to the facts.

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Graco is Unfairly Holding Trail Hostage

The following commentary by Jenny Fortman was submitted to and published by the Star Tribune on February 22, 2015.  Jenny Fortman is a board member of the Sheridan  Neighborhood Organization.

Graco is Unfairly Holding Trail Hostage

The company got what it wanted 15 years ago. Now it’s time to honor its commitment for an easement.

Graco Inc. is taking advantage of a quickly approaching funding deadline to manipulate the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to sell riverfront parkland or risk losing the funding for a much-needed and long-awaited trail connection. In his Feb. 18 commentary (“Graco is happy to negotiate on land Park Board wants for trail”) defending Graco’s bullying of the Park Board and the community, Bill Blazar of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce suggests we look at history.

In 2000, Graco was granted special permission to build its headquarters right on the Mississippi River, very close to the water. In exchange, Graco was asked to provide an easement for a pedestrian and bicycle trail behind the building. In a letter on Aug. 4, 2000, Robert M. Mattison, Graco’s vice president, general counsel and secretary, said:

“Graco hereby undertakes to work with the city of Minneapolis and/or the Minneapolis Park Board to locate a corridor and grant an easement for a parkway, including bicycle/pedestrian path and vehicle road, on the property of Graco west of the Riverside facility. This easement will be granted for such a corridor to run under the Broadway bridge next to the Mississippi River, and will be granted when the city of Minneapolis and/or the Minneapolis Park Board is ready to proceed with the construction of such a path/road….”Even Blazar’s article concedes that “[Graco] has said on numerous occasions that it is willing to provide an easement.” He neglects to mention that it has never before tried to attach any requirements to purchase parkland to expand its headquarters.

For 130 years, the Park Board has been working to create and protect our shore land and waterways as public amenities. In Minneapolis, there are very few private properties on shore land. The Park Board buys up shore properties and creates parks, as properties become available, focusing on certain areas for planning and development.
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The Facts About Southwest Light Rail

Attached is a Facts outlining the facts about Southwest Light Rail
circulated by the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis, Inc.


Re: [Mpls] Mill City Times- Graco’s broken promise

The following piece was posted on the Issues List on February 23, 2015 by Bob Carney, former candidate for Minneapolis mayor and Lobbyist for “We the People.”

Re: [Mpls] Mill City Times- Graco’s broken promise


I’m glad to see the Star Tribune published Jenny Fortman’s Commentary article, but to me three things are missing.  First, it’s important to keep in mind that Graco’s commitment to provide the easement was part of a Tax Increment Financing deal in which Graco received financing that I think was valued at about $1 million.  Second, the Planning Commission’s document established as a condition of that deal that Graco WOULD provide the easement — actually two easements, one for a trail, the other for a road.  The point is that this deal was, and is, a contract, in writing, involving land.  Graco has a legal obligation according to the contract — counter arguments can be made, but I think the starting point is clearly that a contract exists.

Third, in 2011 Graco provided a letter to the Park Board supporting the plan that is going forward now, and stating Graco had ALREADY provided a trail corridor.

I don’t have any problem with trying to be nice and encourage Graco to “do the right thing” — but I think this situation has reached a point where we need to start talking about Graco’s legal obligation, and the harm Graco could cause if the Federal money is lost.


I’ll plan on following up on this with a more detailed post.

Minneapolis Park Board Votes on Taking Back NE Riverfront Property from Graco

The following story was reported by Beth McDonough for KSTP-TV on February 18, 2015.

Minneapolis Park Board Votes on Taking Back NE Riverfront Property from Graco


Link to video:

A stalemate between the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and manufacturing giant, Graco came to a head Wednesday.

The site is next to Graco’s headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis along the Mississippi River.
At a public meeting Wednesday, the Park Board considered taking the land through eminent domain.

Right now, Graco owns the land. The Minneapolis Park Board wants it as an easement to expand a recreational trail from Boom Island further north. It’s an issue close to home for Northeast resident Jenny Fortman, “it’s a critical piece to connect Minneapolis into the bike trail system and make the river an amenity it should be.”

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Comment by MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland

Comment by MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland

The following item is a pertinent excerpt from a recent post on the Issues List by MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland regarding Graco.

“I would prefer that this not be litigated. I want Graco to grow and
prosper. I want them to return to be the good neighbor they have been in the
past. If you look at the satellite image at this location, there are 6 city
blocks that are primarily Graco surface parking lots that could be used for
expansion of their current business.

They could have a great new building that is overlooking a great new park
amenity rather than on top of it.”

Board, Graco At Odds Over Trail Expansion

The following article was aired and posted on WCCO-TV on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

Click the link below for associated video:

Board, Graco At Odds Over Trail Expansion

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board approved a resolution Wednesday night to help settle a land dispute that is holding up plans to expand the trail system along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

The decision means the conflict, which centers around a stretch of land on the east bank of the river, will likely end up in the hands of a judge.

The area is between Sheridan Park and Boom Island Park. The property is owned by Graco, a northeast Minneapolis manufacturing company.
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Park Board, Graco Lock Horns Over Mississippi Trail, New HQ

The following article by Mark Reilly was published in the February 17, 2015 edition of the
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.

Park Board, Graco Lock Horns Over Mississippi Trail, New HQ

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is considering seizing land owned by Graco Inc. through eminent domain while the manufacturer seeks a deal that will let it expand its riverside headquarters.

Finance & Commerce reports on the stalemate, which centers on nearly 2 acres of Graco property at its headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis. The Park Board wants to use it as an easement for a trail along the river. When Graco (NYSE: GGG) last expanded its headquarters in 2000, it offered to provide land for the easement. But that deal was never finalized, the Star Tribune notes, and the company says the city waived the requirement years ago.

Now, Graco is offering the land again, but as part of a package deal that gives it some Park Board property on the former site of Scherer Brothers Lumber Co.