Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mpls. Parks Boss Shakes up Improvement Plans, Delays Many Projects

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the October 27, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.

Mpls. Parks Boss Shakes up Improvement Plans, Delays Many Projects

 

It seemed that youngsters at Matthews Park in Minneapolis never got tired of taking a whirl or giving a push on this swing Monday.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune


It seemed that youngsters at Matthews Park in Minneapolis never got tired of taking a whirl or giving a push on this swing Monday.

Luxton and Matthews parks and the Washburn Avenue tot lot were supposed to get playground renovations next year. Phelps Park was to get a wading pool replacement. Lyndale Farmstead and Painter parks were slated for building improvements.

But those and 12 other projects would be put off a year as part of a revamped proposal by Minneapolis Park Superintendent Jayne Miller.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune
http://m.startribune.com/mpls-park-board-boss-shakes-up-improvement-plans-delays-many-projects/337311811/

Park Budget Plan Raises Golf Fees, Taxes

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the October 23, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.

Park Budget Plan Raises Golf Fees, Taxes

Golfers walked the course near the edge of Pond E at Hiawatha Golf Course at the end of September. The proposed 2016 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board budget would raise the cost of golf at six courses, including Hiawatha.

Photo by Aaron LavinskyGolfers walked the course near the edge of Pond E at Hiawatha Golf Course at the end of September. The proposed 2016 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board budget would raise the cost of golf at six courses, including Hiawatha.

Minneapolis parks Superintendent Jayne Miller has proposed a 2016 budget that seeks 4.4 percent more in property taxes, raises the cost of golf at six courses and plants fewer young trees to prune more of those already planted.

The cost of a round of golf would rise the most at Gross, up $1 to $4 per round. Park officials call it a premier course. The proposed fee increase ranges from $1 to $3 per round at Columbia, $1-2 at Wirth’s 18-hole course and $1 at its nine-hole course, $1 to $2 at the nine holes at Hiawatha, and $1 at Fort Snelling.

Golfers would not see increases for all rounds; the bigger jumps would be paid by those who play after 4 p.m.

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

Minneapolis park budget would raise golf fees – Star Tribune

Council Approves Southwest Light Rail Transit Design

 

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published in the October 8-21, 2015 edition of the Southwest Journal.

Council Approves Southwest Light Rail Transit Design

 

File photo

 

Designs for Southwest Light Rail Transit won Minneapolis approval despite lingering concerns
over plans to tunnel through the Kenilworth Corridor.


The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve the pared-back design for the $1.7-billion Southwest Light Rail Transit project.

The city’s OK was granted despite lingering doubts over the Metropolitan Council’s plan to run the light rail trains through a tunnel beneath Minneapolis’ Kenilworth Corridor. Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) predicted failure resulting in light rail trains running at-grade alongside freight trains, the exact outcome the city sought to avoid when it went into mediation with Met Council last summer.

Goodman, though, was on the losing side of the 10–3 vote to grant municipal consent for the 14.5-mile Green Line extension from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) and Council President Barb Johnson (Ward 4) joined her in voting against.

Met Council has now secured approvals from all five cities along the light rail route, as well as Hennepin County, for a second time. The agency initiated a second round of municipal consent votes after cutting two stations and more than a mile of track from its plans this summer.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Southwest Journal
Council approves Southwest Light Rail Transit

“Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding” explores neighborhood park funding strategies in other cities

The following item has been distributed by the MPRB.

“Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding” explores neighborhood park funding strategies in other cities

“Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding” looks at neighborhood park funding

Closing the Gap forum

(L to R) Panel moderator Linda Mack, New York City Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Liam Kavanagh, Portland Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Warren Jimenez, Former Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Director Joe Wynns and Seattle Parks Foundation Executive Director Thatcher Bailey

How did other cities address neighborhood park funding shortfalls?

Closing the Gap Insider Insights crowd

Park advocates from across the country share their experiences


Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) staff hosted more than 30 public meetings throughout Minneapolis this summer to discuss how insufficient funding has impacted its highly-used, aging network of neighborhood parks.

While MPRB processes feedback received from the community, four distinguished park and recreation advocates from large urban park agencies across the country were invited to Minneapolis on September 29 to share how their cities tackled similar funding challenges.

“Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding” featured representatives from Indianapolis, New York City, Portland and Seattle participating in a 90-minute panel discussion on creative park funding strategies, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Each city’s park agency deals with its own unique challenges, complicated by vastly different methods of governance, but common themes still emerged.

For a full recap of the fascinating discussion please see the full news release.

read more button


Watch a video of the forum

Superintendent Presents Proposed 2016 MPRB Budget

The Park Board has issued the following item.

Superintendent Presents Proposed 2016 MPRB Budget

 

Public comment opportunities scheduled Nov. 4 and 18, Dec. 2 and 9

 

Because of your interest in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), we want you to know that MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller presented her recommended 2016 budget at tonight’s Board meeting and that there are opportunities to review and comment on it.

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2016 Budget focuses on sound fiscal management, addresses increased park use and demands for programs and services, is responsive to changing demographics and needs of the community, and maintains the park system within available resources.

Opportunities for public comment are scheduled for November 4 and 18, and December 2 at MPRB Headquarters, and December 9 at Minneapolis City Hall.

Prior to her recommended 2016 budget presentation to the Board, Miller presented a report on “Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks” that stressed the need to address the growing funding shortfall for neighborhood park capital and maintenance.

For full details about Proposed 2016 Budget public comment opportunities, 2016 budget initiatives and the Closing the Gap report, read the full news release on our website.

read more button

Budget Presentation

The proposed budget and related documents are available for viewing at www.minneapolisparks.org/budget or by calling 612-230-6400 between 8 am and 4:30 pm.

Closing the Gap Presentation

The Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks report and related documents presented to commissioners October 21 are available atwww.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap.

 

A TRIBUTE TO MIKE KASZUBA

A TRIBUTE TO MIKE KASZUBA

Park Watch has just learned that long-time Star Tribune reporter Mike Kaszuba has retired after 35 years with the Star Tribune.  He was a topnotch investigative reporter.  One example:  He extracted information from the Gurban era Park Board that Park Watch was unable to get and he followed up with an article that exposed Park Board staff’s $153,340 extortion of Flatiron Constructors Inc., the company that was reconstructing the I-35 Bridge.  We are reprinting the article that was published in the September 13, 2008 issue of the Star Tribune and posted on Park Watch.—————————–

TIP OF THE ICE BERG – WHERE’S THE MONEY?

Bridgework at park has its price

As the builders of the new Interstate 35W bridge raced this spring to get the project completed, one unexpected obstacle appeared: a dispute with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Flatiron Constructors Inc., the Colorado-based builder, had gotten permission from the state to use a site just downstream from the bridge as an assembly point for the structure’s major components.

But the Park Board, which owns the property and had already given the state a permit to use it, insisted that Flatiron obtain a separate permit and pay a fee — of $153,340.

When Flatiron moved its equipment to the site after receiving state permission, the Park Board ordered the company to vacate the property, known as Bohemian Flats, and notified the park police about what Flatiron had done.

With the most closely watched construction project in Minnesota hanging in the balance, Flatiron agreed to pay what it considered the excessive fee in order to avoid major delays.

“Let’s say it was a business proposition, just like the Mafia does,” said Peter Sanderson, Flatiron’s project manager. “They threatened to [take] our equipment and [arrest] our operators.”
Continue reading

Heads-Up for the October 21, 2015 Park Board Meeting

4:30 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION. Discussion of Proposed Settlement Agreement for 22 on the River

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”

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approve Schematic Plans for Phillips Community Center Aquatics Facility

–Authorizing Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Staff to Apply for Grants through the 2016 Hennepin Youth Sports Program in the Amount of $300,000 for Renovation of Folwell Park Tennis Courts, $75,000 for McRae Park Athletic Field, and $225,000 for Bossen Park Athletic Field

–Closing the Gap: Investing in Our Neighborhood Parks

–Superintendent’s Recommended 2016 Budget

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on October 21, 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
http://www.mplsparkwatch.org

SWLRT: Lakes & Parks Alliance Files Interrogatories and Document Requests with Federal Court

SWLRT: Lakes & Parks Alliance Files Interrogatories and Document Requests with Federal Court

 
Attached are interrogatories and document requests that were filed in Federal Court by Lakes & Parks Alliance attorneys in early October.

Downtown East Commons Meeting on Wednesday, October 14

The following item has been issued by the City of Minneapolis.

Downtown East Commons Meeting on Wednesday, October 14

Rendering of Downtown East Commons

Downtown East Commons Meeting on Wednesday, October 14

Please join Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Council Member Jacob Frey, the Hargreaves Design Team, and City of Minneapolis staff for an update on the Downtown East Commons.

Wednesday, October 14, 6:00-7:30pm
Downtown Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Pohlad Room, 2nd Floor

Agenda:

  • Welcome by Mayor Betsy Hodges and Council Member Jacob Frey
  • Project status update
  • Design progress
  • Conversations with designers and staff

Need a project recap?

Review project details prior to the public meeting by visiting the Downtown East Commons website and clicking on the new What’s been happening? tab.  Or visit the Gallery to review the concept design images, photos of previous meetings, and each of the presentation decks.