Park Board Approves SWLRT Agreement with the Met Council

The following item is an account by Cheryl Luger of the MPRB’s March 4 meeting discussion regarding the SWLRT MOU agenda item.

Park Board Approves SWLRT Agreement with the Met Council 

In a long, emotional and a bit ‘challenging’ meeting tonight, the Park Board approved the negotiated Met Council/MPRB SWLRT MOU.
It wasn’t unanimous

Given the incredible pressures brought by the governor, county, Met Council, unions and corporations …. tonight’s outcome was probably the only one having the political will of being  possible after discussion and questions raised by residents and commissioners, sending it back to committee for one cycle might have been a good idea.

Commissioner Tabb brought up a number of troubling issues not addressed in the MOU (broad, undefined, lots of wiggle room for future incursions into park land  and sovereignty).

There was an interesting discussion on what would trigger a new round of municipal consent requirements including a short discussion on the history of municipal consent in Minnesota ….county, municipalities included.  But an independently elected goverance unit is not (I think that was why the park board had no say around the Bottineau/wirth park project ?).

A last minute amendment by commissioner Meg F.  failed to separate the question and return it to committee for clarification.


Environmentalist and park historian Annie Young’s impassioned plea did not carry the motion.  Remaining commissioner comments ?  Well, no comment, a few carrots, too few commitments in writing by the met council.


It didn’t help that Met Council Chair Duinick didn’t bring the Met’s lawyer to answer a few questions posed by Commissioner Tabb.


It didn’t help the conversation when unidentified properties were brought up by Commissioner Tabb as potential targets for the blank check the Met Council could ‘cash’  for extra land should the Met Council need for construction or stations.


Probably didn’t help when there seemed to be a two step around the cart before the horse with designing the LRT before the environmental impact study had been completed.

Mitigation, capital project compensation, park board liability were briefly discussed …. but nothing is in the MOU document.

If you watch it on replay, the number of other agenda items as well as the time certain public hearings cut up the discussions….

Graco, ending Hiawatha beach, master plans, renaming park and need for a policy discussion vs. a suspension of the rules to make exceptions.

Usually the city webcast cuts off the park board at 9pm.this evening the broadcast went a few minutes later so the home audience could catch the last arguments and vote.

The three dissenting votes were cast by Commissioners Forney, Tabb and Young.