Monthly Archives: October 2015

Cattail Project Update

The following article was written by Dave Hile, President of Friends of Loring Park, and published in the the FLP September Newsletter.

Cattail Project Update

With the cattail removal project underway, it and public interest piqued; it is a good time to review the situation, past and present.

The hybridized cattails that are spreading and filling in the ponds of Loring Park are a cross between the native cattail and the narrow-leafed cattail – a native of Eurasia.  These cattails are very aggressive and thrive in a wide range of conditions. Hybrid cattails spread through their roots, and can quickly form floating mats. State regulations that didn’t differentiate between invasive and native species prevented early control, and now the north lake is almost completely filled with a floating mat, and the plantings of native emergent aquatic species in both ponds have been crowded out, decreasing plant diversity and wildlife habitat.

In 2014, legislation was passed allowing MPRB to manage the invasive cattails and plant native aquatic emergent vegetation in Loring Ponds. In the fall of 2014, the MPRB contracted with Applied Ecological Services (AES) to cut the cattails at the surface of the water and then raise the level of the water to suffocate the invasive plant. There is evidence this year that where the cattails were cut andflooded the plants for the most part died. Unfortunately, the shoreline can’t be flooded, and neither can the floating mat.

This August the Park Board awarded a new three year contract to AES to continue to control the cattails. ln late August continuing into autumn, AES will cut the cattails in areas that can be flooded, suffocating the remaining cattails, and then returning in the fall of 2016 to cut and flood surviving plants.

Since the cattails on shore and in the floating mat can’t be suffocated by raising the water level, the Park Board has pro posed applying the herbicide Aquaneat to each individual shore cattail and spraying the floating mat cattails. When this solution was presented at an open house at Loring Park on August 11th, there was a contingent of citizens strongly opposed to the use of the herbicide, also known as Roundup. At the present time AES has been cutting cattails and the herbicide issue is under review.

It is hoped that if and when the cattails are at 10% of present levels, MPRB maintenance staff will be able to control them and not let them get out of hand in the future. When the cattails are under control (unfortunately it is unlikely they will ever be entirely eliminated) native aquatic and shore plants will be re-planted.

Re: Changing the Name of Lake Calhoun

The following is a letter to the Editor of the Star Tribune that was submitted on September 29th, but not published.

Re: Changing the Name of Lake Calhoun


We are writing to respond to a statement in an article in the September 26th Star Tribune about Lake Calhoun.

“The growing debate surrounding the lake’s name has intensely divided Minneapolis residents.”

We do not believe Minneapolis residents are divided at all. Those who desire to change the name of Lake Calhoun to a name that is hard to spell and difficult to pronounce are in the minority–a very vocal minority.
Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
Harvey Ettinger
Member of Park Watch

Harriet-Calhoun Panel Begins Discussing Potential Park Renovations

The following article by Steve Brandt was published online in the Star Tribune on October 1, 2015.

Harriet-Calhoun Panel Begins Discussing Potential Park Renovations


Five meetings into its work, an advisory committee for renovations at lakes Harriet and Calhoun got a chance Tuesday night to see some ideas from planners on options for how parkland there might be reshaped.

The remaining 25 members of the panel got a chance to consider whether they want a plan that emphasizes the ecological health of the lakes, emphasizes its play spaces or emphasizes the telling of stories of the cultures of Minneapolis.

Those choices aren’t mutually exclusive, assistant park superintendent Michael Schroeder told the group, but matters of degree of emphasis. That emphasis will shape more specific recommendations presented later for how the remaining $3 million of the project budget will be spent on actual construction. But Schroeder said the group should also feel free to recommend more expansive ideas that could be priorities if additional money can be raised in the next 20 years.

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

Heads-Up for the October 7, 2015 Park Board Meeting

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 for the Phillips Community Center Aquatics Facility.  Those wishing to speak can sign up at the meeting.

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

—Approving RiverFirst Project-Level Fundraising Agreement #1 Between the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to Raise $14.9 Million in Philanthropic Funding Toward Implementing the 26Th Avenue North Family of Projects and Water Works on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis

–Discussion Item — METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) Light Rail Transit Project Pre-CMC

–Approving a Grant Agreement with the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the Amount of $500,000 to Design and Construct Improvements at Sheridan Memorial Park

–Amending Professional Services Agreement #C-38072 with Loucks Associates Related to the Northeast Park Athletic Fields Park – Phase I Fields in the Amount of $24,500 for a New Contract Total of $120,015

–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

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on October 7, 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



Attached is a fact sheet from LRT-DONERIGHT.ORG that was
e-mailed to the Minneapolis City Council prior to the vote
on Municipal Consent for SWLRT on September 25, 2015.

The title of the four-page fact sheet is:

SDEIS summary for City Council final

Company Takes a Second Shot at St. Anthony Falls Hydro Project

The following article by Peter Callaghan was published on October 1, 2015 in MinnPost.
The subject of this article is Symphony Hydro, a company that is submitting an amended plan after its first plan was rejected by FERC.

Company Takes a Second Shot at St. Anthony Falls Hydro Project

Upper lock at St. Anthony Falls

The now-drained lock is an empty box: 56 feet by 400 feet by 50 feet worth of air that bars upriver migration of invasive carp.


Since it was closed to navigation June 10, the upper lock at St. Anthony Falls has just kinda been sitting there.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the upper gates to hold back the Mississippi River, locking the lower gates in the open position. The now-drained lock is an empty box: 56 feet by 400 feet by 50 feet worth of air that bars upriver migration of invasive carp.

The water that once filled the lock to float traffic up and down the river now joins the flow either over the spillway or through an Xcel Energy hydropower facility on the east bank.

But a North Carolina engineer with Minnesota roots is hoping to reinvigorate a proposal to use the lock to generate electricity. Robert Schulte wants to mount two submersible turbine generators on panels inside the lock. Water passing through the turbines would generate 3.4 megawatts of power, or about 1,600 homes worth.

Council Seeks Funding Plan for Commons Park

The following article by Sarah McKenzie was published in the September 24, 2015 issue of the Southwest Journal.

Council Seeks Funding Plan for Commons Park

The City Council voted to approve agreements for the Downtown East Commons park on Friday, but asked for an updated use agreement with the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and called for a funding plan for ongoing maintenance for the park.

The Council’s action Friday approves San Francisco-based Hargreaves Associates’ design concept for the park, authorizes the nonprofit conservancy Green Minneapolis to undertake a fundraising campaign for the project and allows Ryan Cos. to move ahead with the initial phase of construction. It also affirms that the city won’t be reimbursed $2 million for design and project costs through the park’s fundraising campaign as originally proposed in January — a provision that has generated scrutiny and debate among Council members.

Continue reading

Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote

Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote.

The following is an introduction and letter, dated September 24, 2015, from Bob Carney Jr. (bob again) to the Mayor and City Council regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote.


Hi everyone —

Below is a long (4 page) letter I dropped off today for all City Council Members, and Mayor Hodges, on tomorrow’s municipal consent vote.  A .pdf version is attached, I think it’s somewhat more readable than the e-democracy format.

Here’s the main point — I think the transcript sections from a 5/6/2015 Metro Council Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting represent a “smoking gun” — in the context of the Lakes and Parks Alliance Federal Lawsuit, in my opinion this amounts to predetermination of the current route as the de facto choice, eviscerating the environmental review process and any Federal remedy from that.  DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, not a member of Lakes and Parks Alliance, and don’t speak for them — but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion (but not their own facts).


East Harriet Farmstead
Stadium Village (formerly the City of Minneapolis)
“Candidate-Journalist”, writer-wing republican, registered Lobbyist for We the People (informal association), etc.

Continue reading

Minneapolis City Council Gives OK for SWLRT — Again

The following article by Janet Moore was published in the September 26, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.  The three council members who voted against the SWLRT design were Council President Barb Johnson and Council Members Lisa Goodman and Cam Gordon.

Minneapolis City Council Gives OK for SWLRT — Again
But $1.77 billion project still faces scrutiny in Legislature, lawsuits. 

The $1.77 billion Southwest light-rail line cleared an important hurdle Friday, winning approval for a second time from Minneapolis. But legal opposition and stubborn budget challenges continue to dog the most expensive transit project in state history.

The Minneapolis City Council voted 10-3 to approve the project, which is slated to connect downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. A second vote was required after a budget crisis last spring pushed the cost of the 14.5-mile line to nearly $2 billion, causing the Metropolitan Council to pare two stations in Eden Prairie and other amenities.

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