Monthly Archives: August 2015

Heads-Up for the September 2, 2015 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the September 2, 2015 Park Board Meeting

for discussion Regarding Proposed Workers Compensation Settlement and Proposed Settlement Agreement for 22 on the River

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”

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Tom Leader Studios to Provide Design, Engineering, and Construction Administrative Services for Phase One Development of Hall’s Island and the Park Proposed for the Former Scherer Brothers Site in the Amount of $722,000.00.

–Approving the Negotiated Full, Final, and Complete Settlement with 22 on the River, LLC as Discussed in a Closed Session on September 2, 2015

–Requesting the Board of Estimate and Taxation Set the Maximum Property Tax Levy for the 2016 Budget at an Estimated Amount of $54,314,400, an Increase of 4.4 Percent to be Allocated to the Park and Recreation Levy in the Amount of $52,582,400 and the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy in the Amount of $1,732,000.

–Approving the Concept Design for Water Works as a Subarea of Mill Ruins Park Within the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Community Advisory Committee Recommendation and Approving Concept ‘B’ for Meadowbrook Golf Course and Authorizing Staff to Seek a Commercial Mortgage to Support Improvements at Meadowbrook Golf Course and Return to the Board with Detailed Financial Projections Demonstrating Debt Service for the Mortgage Can be Accommodated Prior to Executing the Mortgage

–Minnehaha Parkway Trail Improvements Study Report

–Discussion: Lake Calhoun – Its Name, the History of Its Name, and the Process for Changing the Name of a Lake in Minnesota

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

Reminder: Residents invited to help plan the future of Minneapolis Parks

Reminder: Residents invited to help plan the future of Minneapolis Parks

Multiple projects are underway to shape award-winning park system for next 20 years – and beyond

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will begin its final series of city-wide meetings to share information and gather feedback on what may be the most comprehensive planning effort in its 130 year history. Minneapolis residents are encouraged to get involved and help the MPRB with three distinct, yet deeply intertwined projects: Closing the Gap: Investing in our Neighborhood Parks, RecQuest, and Service Area Master Plans.

RecQuest and Service Area Master Plans focus on what Minneapolis residents want in parks over the next 25 to 30 years. Closing the Gap is about funding these needs.

The final “wrap-up” meetings will be held throughout September.

Read more to see upcoming meeting dates and to learn how you can help.

Concerns about SWLRT and Public Safety

Concerns about SWLRT and Public Safety

The following observation was made by Bob Carney on Saturday, August 29.


I was at Kenilworth Trail & Cedar Lake Blvd Saturday, and on my cellphone video recorded about 70+ chemical cars going by — these were NOT empty, they all had the little fire rectangle symbol — two BNSF engines were pulling them.

Mpls. Park Board Attorney Doubts State Authority to Change Lake Calhoun Name

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the August 29, 2015 issue of the StarTribune.

Mpls. Park Board Attorney Doubts State Authority to Change Lake Calhoun Name


Legislature would have to act on change, parks lawyer says.


The behind-the-scenes legal wrangling over possibly renaming Lake Calhoun took another turn Friday when a new legal opinion for Minneapolis park commissioners said a change would require legislative action.

Attorney Brian Rice said in an opinion for next week’s Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board meeting that he doubts state law allows the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to change a lake name after 40 years, which contradicts another legal memo saying that DNR staff believes the agency can rename the lake.

Rice said he doubts a DNR change would stand up in court.


To continue reading, click on the link to the StarTribune

Cities Enter Second Round of Southwest Light-rail Talks

The following article by Erin Golden was published in the August 28, 2015 edition of the StarTribune.

Cities Enter Second Round of Southwest Light-rail Talks


A second round of public hearings on the planned Southwest light-rail line began Thursday with a mix of concerns over environmental disruption and safety hazards and praise for the plans to provide rail service to more communities.

The hearing at Minneapolis Central Library, hosted by the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority, was the first in a series to be held in each of five communities along the proposed line.

It’s a second go-round for each of the cities, which previously took public input and gave their consent to the project. But after the cost of the plan swelled to $1.74 billion and later to $1.77 billion, officials from each of the municipalities agreed to make $250 million in cuts. Now, the Metropolitan Council is seeking feedback on the revised plan.

To continue reading, clink on the link to the StarTribune

A Terrible Minneapolis Park Deal Just Got $2 million Worse

The following article by Cory Zurowski was published in the August 28, 2015 issue of City Pages.

A Terrible Minneapolis Park Deal Just Got $2 million Worse

Is that the sound of sleigh bells coming from The Commons?

Is that the sound of sleigh bells coming from The Commons?

We had a deal.

Past tense.

The city of Minneapolis was paying $20 million to developer Ryan Companies for The Commons, the 4.2-acre park abutting the new Vikings stadium.

Twenty million bucks, the deal done no later than July 1, 2016.

As for the $2 million being fronted by Minneapolis taxpayers to architect Hargreaves Associates to design the park, “the city would be reimbursed” months later with money raised through the park’s fundraising campaign.

Scratch that.
Continue reading

MPLS Park Board Comment and Motion to FERC RE: Crown Hydro

 MPLS Park Board Comment and Motion to FERC RE: Crown Hydro

Attached is the Park Board’s comments and motion to intervene sent on August 28, 2015 to FERC regarding the Crown Hydro project.

In my opinion, the document provides the most thorough history of the Crown Hydro project and objections to it to date. Well worth reading.

Submitted to Park Watch by Doug Verdier


The following Action Alert by David Tinjum is from the Mill City Times:


Dear Friends, Neighbors and Community Leaders,

Time is running out for public comments – the deadline is Sunday, August 30 – on the new proposal from Crown Hydro that threatens St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge.  Please take just a few minutes to submit your comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – the easy 3 step process is outlined here (you can even copy/paste our sample comment)

While there are many issues and unanswered questions regarding this new proposal, three stand out:

1. This is a Completely New Project, It Should Require a New License

The new proposed location and design of this project differs in every way from the current license held by Crown Hydro, issued in 1999, including:

– Location of the Headrace (Water intake)

– Location of the Powerhouse

– Location of the Discharge Tunnel

– Location of the Tailrace (Water outflow)

– Location of the Electrical Transmission Line

The new proposal bears no resemblance to the currently licensed project. Rather than amending their existing license, as Crown is proposing, they should be required to seek a new license.  By seeking a new license, Crown would be required to conduct environmental, water quality, historical preservation and other studies and approvals based on the new location of the project.

2. Crown Hydro Could Shut Off St. Anthony Falls

Under the terms of the current license, Article 404, Crown Hydro LLC, a private developer, would have the authority to, for all practical purposes, shut off St. Anthony Falls for 12 months per year during times of low flow.

Back in the 1990’s when this project was conceived and licensed, the economic impact of a dry falls would have been negligible, given the fact that the Central Riverfront was not yet a major tourist attraction and public amenity.  Today, a dry falls would be devastating to both the tourism industry and the use and enjoyment of the Central Riverfront by the general public. What is the definition of “some water”? See photo below.

*CROWN HYDRO LICENSE ARTICLE 404 FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC): The licensee shall operate the Crown Mill Hydroelectric project so that some water always flows over St. Anthony Falls except as follows:  (A) during any periods of very low flows when the project could not operate at 200 cfs without drying up St. Anthony Falls, the project will operate only from nightfall until dawn; (B) between December 15 and March 15 the project will operate with whatever flows are available even if it dries up the falls; and (C) during low flows in July and August, the project will operate with up to 500 cfs during daylight hours even if it dries up the falls…

3. The Risk to the Stone Arch Bridge

Crown Hydro proposes to build a 930 foot long discharge tunnel, which was not part of their existing license, underneath the Stone Arch Bridge.  The geology of the riverbed in this section of the river is highly fragile.  This area is also well known for having a history of catastrophic tunnel collapses due to the geologic instability of the area.  Should the Stone Arch Bridge suffer a collapse or even major structural damage, it may not be possible to repair this National Historic Landmark, and no contingency has been made to fund such remediation even should it be possible.

Your opinion counts!  FERC will take notice if we can show community engagement – visit to get started.  I promise it will only take a few minutes.

Best regards,

David Tinjum
Publisher, Mill City Times

PS.  We need all the help we can get – forward this email to a friend or colleague and ask them to join in.

Background – Download Letter to FERC from Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:

Crown Hydro 081413 MPRB Re License Amendment

Proposal for Turbines at St. Anthony Falls is Already Generating Plenty of Opposition

The following article by Peter Callaghan was published in the August 25, 2015 issue of MinnPost:

Proposal for Turbines at St. Anthony Falls is Already Generating Plenty of Opposition

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the Minneapolis City Council are concerned the project threatens the continued redevelopment of the area for parks and historic interpretation on the west bank of the river.

A Minneapolis-based company thinks its proposal for a new hydroelectric facility at St. Anthony Falls is exactly what the region is seeking: renewable and sustainable energy that could replace electricity now being generated by fossil fuels.

At the spot where the city’s industrial founders used water power to make Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world, Crown Hydro has proposed “to provide clean energy for generations to come,” by redirecting Mississippi River flows to new turbines located near the now-mothballed navigation lock, the company states in promotional materials touting the project.


Crown Hydro, LLC

Proposed site of the hydroelectric facility at St. Anthony Falls.

To continue reading, click on the MinnPost link: