Monthly Archives: May 2015

Key Environmental Review of $2B Southwest LRT Project Released

The following report was aired on KSTP TV on May 22, 2015.

Key Environmental Review of $2B Southwest LRT Project Released

Concerns over cost are shifting to environmental worries for the nearly $2 billion dollar Southwest Light Rail project.

On Thursday, a much-anticipated review of recent changes to the project’s design found potential problems — but nothing that looks likely to hold the project back.

To continue reading and access the video, click on the following link.  It takes a couple
of minutes to connect.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S3804074.shtml

Greening Downtown Minneapolis Names Director to Raise Money for The Commons Park Near Vikings Stadium

The following article by Kristen Leigh Painter was published in the May 15, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune.

Greening Downtown Minneapolis Names Director to Raise Money for The Commons Park Near Vikings Stadium

 

The Minneapolis Downtown Council has named its first executive director of Greening Downtown Minneapolis, a newly created entity charged with raising the money needed to create The Commons, a 4.2-acre park planned near the new Vikings stadium.

By naming Winthrop (Win) Rockwell, a partner at the Minneapolis heavyweight law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels to the role, the Downtown Council has taken its first tangible step in spearheading fundraising efforts for the estimated $20 million needed to create an ambitious park design.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune

http://www.startribune.com/director-named-to-raise-money-for-commons-park-near-vikings-stadium/303519681/

Heads-Up for the May 20, 2015 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the May 20, 2015 Park Board Meeting

4:30 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION
–Discussion of proposed contract dispute settlement agreement with CM Construction

4:45 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION
–Discussion regarding Lake & Knox LLC settlement

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

–Public Hearing Accepting the Non-Appointed CAC Recommendations for Trail Improvements Along William Berry Parkway
–Public Hearing for Bossen Field Park Master Plan

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Accepting the Recommendation from the Non-Appointed Community Advisory Committee and Approving the Concept Plan for Trail Improvements Along William Berry Parkway

–Accepting the Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving the Concept Bossen Field Park Master Plan and Phasing Plans

–City Wide Survey Presentation, Morris Leatherman Company

–Approving Settlement Agreement with CM Construction, Inc. for Contract Dispute

–Approving the Negotiated Full, Final and Complete Settlement with Lake and Knox LLC Discussed at a Closed Session on May 20, 2015

–Approving a Professional Services Agreement with Revolutionary Sports to Provide Sports Specific Instructional Programming in Recreation Centers for 80 Percent of Gross Revenues, Up to $280,000, for the Period of June 15, 2015 to December 31, 2016

–Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Perkins+Will to Provide Design and Planning Consulting for the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Master Plan Project Up to the Amount of $249,000.00 for the Period of May 21, 2015 to December 31, 2016

–Accepting and Approving the Updated Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Financial Management Policies

–Bridges at Kenilworth Channel

–Community Engagement for Closing the Gap, RecQuest and Service Area Master Plans

–Staff Strategy and Response to Demonstrations, Protests and Disturbances

–2016 State Bonding Request

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on May 20, 2015 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

A New Parking Fee on Downtown Ramps and Lots?

The following article by Tim Harlow was published in the April 21, 2015 issue of the StarTribune.

A New Parking Fee on Downtown Ramps and Lots?

It’s far from being a done deal, but a provision in the state Senate’s
omnibus transportation bill would allow the cities of Minneapolis and
St. Paul impose a parking facility fee on ramps and lots in the
downtown areas.

The fee to be set and collected by the cities could be uniform
throughout the defined area, or could vary based on zoning, location
or “other factors determined by the city,” according to a section of
Senate File 2098.

To continue reading, click on the link to the StarTribune article.

Met Council Seeks to Slash Price of $2-Billion Light Rail Project

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published in the May 6, 2015 issue of the SouthWest Journal.

Met Council Seeks to Slash Price of $2-Billion Light Rail Project

 

A 20-percent increase in Southwest light rail’s projected cost set off a scramble to find savings

The Southwest Light Rail Transit project’s charge toward $2 billion has local policymakers twirling their budget lassos.

When it meets again May 20, the Met Council is expected to review a list of ideas for reining-in project costs. The sticker shock was widespread when the agency’s latest analysis of the light-rail project, released in April, revealed the price tag had grown $341 million from the previous estimate of $1.65 billion, a 20-percent increase.
Continue reading

Response to “Evolving plans for the ‘Commons’ park in Minneapolis..”.

The following letter-to-the-editor was published in the May 8, 2015 issue of the StarTribune.

Dear Editor:

 
In a recent commentary, the Star Tribune Editorial Board celebrates the development of the Commons (“Evolving plans for the ‘Commons’ park…”).  The editorial says “Expectations are high.”  But many sensible citizens following the development of the Commons believe that the expectations for the Commons are unrealistic.
 
The “creative governance” agreement applauded by the Editorial Board is nothing more than a very thinly veiled evasion of the City’s Charter by the City Council.  The evasion of the City’s Charter has allowed this project to bypass the MPRB’s planning process and the City Council’s budget process.

The duly elected Park Board rejected adding the Commons to the park system in the summer of 2014 because development of riverfront parks and maintaining neighborhood parks are much higher priorities.

In December 2013 Judge Mel Dickstein stated that “common sense and the advancement of effective government” make it clear that City founders never intended that “two separate bodies potentially working at cross purposes, could each develop the Minneapolis park system.”
 
Millions of unbudgeted dollars are now going to be expended on a “park” that is a priority because the Vikings will have a grand space that they can use for free. 
 
It is time for someone – anyone – to stand up and put a halt to this expensive fiscal folly.

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

Heads-Up for the MPRB 2016 Budget Retreat on May 13, 2015

Heads-Up for the MPRB 2016 Budget Retreat on May 13, 2015


5:00 – 9:00 P.M.  BUDGET MEETING. The meeting will be held in the
Theodore Wirth Pavilion, 3275 Glenwood Avenue in Theodore Wirth Park

The agenda for the MPRB Board of Commissioners Budget Meeting on May 13, 2015 is athttp://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx
The meeting is open to the public.  It will not be videotaped.

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

 

Evolving plans for the ‘Commons’ park in Minneapolis aren’t commonplace

The following editorial was published in the May 4, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune:

Evolving plans for the ‘Commons’ park in Minneapolis aren’t commonplace

There’s work to do, but the Downtown East plan is taking shape. 

Not so many months ago, the concept of a park in the Downtown East district of Minneapolis was a muddled mess. Two city blocks next to the new Vikings stadium had been set aside for green space, but quarrels erupted on nearly every front.

Could the city own and operate the park, or did the Park Board have exclusive rights? Could the park be a true public space if the football team dominated its use for much of the year? Was this really going to be a park, after all, or something closer to a plaza? Confusion reigned even on what to call it. (The “Yard” was discarded in favor of the “Commons.”)

To continue reading, click on the link to the complete StarTribune article.