Monthly Archives: December 2015

Heads-Up for the January 4, 2016 Park Board Annual Meeting

5:00 P.M.  MPRB ANNUAL MEETING.  The meeting (which will be short) will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza. The purpose of the Annual Meeting is to elect officers for the board and make appointments to committees.

The complete agenda for the MPRB Board of Commissioners Annual Meeting on January 4, 2016 is at

The Park Board’s website is . The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Park Pique: Hennepin County to Withhold Grants for Parks to Protest Development Fee

The following article by Peter Callaghan was published in MinnPost on December 12, 2015 .

Park Pique: Hennepin County to Withhold Grants for Parks to Protest Development Fee

The money was to help pay for reconstruction of ballfields at Bossen Field.

The money was to help pay for, among other things, reconstruction of ballfields at Bossen Field.

The Hennepin County commission was in a giving mood earlier this week.

Up to a point.

In its last meeting of the year, after approving its 2016 budget, the commission turned to a twice-a-year process of doling out grants to cities, schools and park districts for youth sports projects. The money comes out of the proceeds from the countywide sales tax imposed primarily to build Target Field.

But when it came to grants for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, the commissioners balked. County administrators and all seven commissioners are not happy, it seems, about a dedication fee imposed by the city on behalf of the parks.

To continue reading, click on the link to the MinnPost article
Park pique: Hennepin County to withhold grants for parks to protest development fee

Vikings Will Help Pay for Park Near New Stadium

The following article by Kristen Leigh Painter and Rochelle Olson was published in the Minneapolis StarTribune on December 15, 2015


Vikings Will Help Pay for Park Near New Stadium

           Hargreaves Associates and the City of Minneapolis

Rendering of the park with a view to the new Vikings stadium Downtown East Commons

Rendering of the park with a view to the new Vikings stadium Downtown East Commons

The Minnesota Vikings are nearing terms for a donation to the new Commons park in downtown Minneapolis, which is still less than halfway funded.

The team, which helped pay for the land for the park near its new stadium, will also contribute to its construction, Vikings Executive Vice President Lester Bagley said Monday during a meeting of the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities. He said the team would ask some of its partners to help pay for the park, too.

Terms of an agreement between the Vikings and Green Minneapolis, the conservancy organization charged with park fundraising, are likely to be finalized this week. A source familiar with the discussions said the team will contribute $2 million. The Vikings and the conservancy declined to discuss specifics.

To continue reading, click on the link to the StarTribune

2016 MPRB Budget

The following press release has been issued by the Park Board.

2016 MPRB Budget

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) approved its 2016 budget for the park system, which serves more than 22 million visits annually. The 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.

The MPRB’s 2016 Budget totals $70,982,445 for the general operating fund, $1,743,242 for the special revenue fund dedicated to trees, $9,468,696 for the enterprise operating fund and $21,697,600 for capital project funding.  In 2016, of every dollar Minneapolis residents pay for property taxes, eight cents will go to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

The 2016 budget and all related documents are available at or by calling 612-230-6400 between 8 am–4:30 pm, Monday–Friday.

This fall, Commissioners also discussed the “Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks” report that stressed the need to address the growing funding shortfall for neighborhood park capital and maintenance. Commissioners are expected to make a decision in January 2016 regarding a solution for neighborhood park funding.

read more button

Read the full news release on our website.

Park Supt. Wants $14 Million a Year Under Referendum

The following article by Eric Best was published in the November 19, 2015 edition of the Southwest Journal.

Park Supt. Wants $14 Million a Year Under Referendum


Minneapolis Park Superintendent Jayne Miller wants to ask taxpayers for at least $14 million per year over a decade or two in order to maintain the system’s 157 neighborhood parks.

Miller expects the Park Board to give her direction by the end of the year in closing its growing $140 million gap in funding for the city’s aging park infrastructure, which could mean asking for hundreds of millions of dollars over several years. While commissioners have considered other options in meeting the system’s funding needs, they said the next step is most likely a referendum on the ballot in the next couple years.

The superintendent told commissioners Nov. 4 that Minneapolis park assets face a $12.3 million gap per year in capital and operating funds in today’s dollars, so $14 million per year under a referendum would be the minimum to ask taxpayers for.
Continue reading

Letter from FERC to Crown Hydro on 10-8-15

The attached letter, dated October 8, 2015, from FERC to Crown Hydro has been provided to Park Watch by Doug Verdier.  See below his introduction to the FERC letter.


Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2015 21:20:06 +0000
From: [email protected]
Subject: Crown Hydro Update

Just received the attached request for additional information from FERC to Crown Hydro. Schedule A contains specific items FERC is requiring from Crown within 60 days. I was particularly struck by item 26 regarding Crown’s proposed 700-foot-long underground transmission line that appears to run beyond the Corps of Engineers property. Other items should also be of interest to stakeholders.

You are receiving this email because you have previously expressed an interest in updates regarding this project. If you no longer wish to receive such information, please reply to this email and put in the Subject line “Crown Hydro – Remove from List.”

Doug Verdier


Heads-Up for the December 16, 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.”

This is the last meeting of 2015.  Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

Continue reading

Park Commissioners Take Step to Demolish Fuji-Ya Building

The following article by Eric Best was published in the Southwest Journal on November 25, 2015.

Park Commissioners Take Step to Demolish Fuji-Ya Building

Rendering courtesy of Minneapolis Parks Foundation

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has worked for years on Water Works, its overhaul
of the Mississippi riverfront.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioners took another step in a longstanding effort to demolish the Fuji-Ya building in order to build a new riverfront park.

The board’s Administration & Finance Committee approved Nov. 18 an agreement with
Minneapolis-based MacDonald & Mack Architects to provide services to demolish the building, having long been considered a blight on the Mississippi riverfront. The Fuji-Ya building, which has sat vacant for nearly 25 years, could be demolished as early as 2017 or even sooner as part of the board’s overhaul of the Central Riverfront Regional Park, dubbed Water Works.

The two-story building at 401 1st St. S. opened in 1968 as an iconic Japanese restaurant, but, following the death of founder Reiko Weston, the Park Board bought it in 1990. The building was built on top of the Bassett Saw Mil, a contributing resource to the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.

The board will selectively demolish the building to move forward with Water Works, a landmark project under its RiverFirst initiative to transform the riverfront near downtown Minneapolis into a destination park.

Commissioners adopted a concept for the park in September and are currently working on fundraising agreements to pay for the approximately $27 million project.

Tom Evers, executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, a nonprofit that handles philanthropic efforts for the board, told The Journal at the time that the organization is looking to raise about half the total cost. The nonprofit has already raised $3.5 million from philanthropic sources, which the board will discuss in its Dec. 2 meeting. The full board will also take up the nearly $50,000 services agreement during that meeting.

The first construction phase is expected to begin in 2017 around the time the board demolishes the Fuji-Ya building. The board anticipates Water Works to be completed in 2023.

“We’ve been waiting around a long time for this one,” said Commissioner Anita Tabb, whose district includes the future Water Works site. “Let the games begin.”

Read the Journal article…

Park Board Approves 2016 Budget

The following article by Eric Best, dated December 11, 2015, was published in the Southwest Journal.

Park Board Approves 2016 Budget

Park commissioners quickly and quietly passed the system’s 2016 budget Dec. 9 following a lengthy Minneapolis City Council hearing.The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted 8-1 to approve Superintendent Jayne Miller’s nearly $71 million recommended 2016 budget. Commissioners took just a few minutes to pass several items pertaining to the budget after a roughly three-hour round of public testimony before Council members.

The budget is based on a 4.4 percent increase to the board’s property tax levy, which includes a 4 percent increase for the board and a .4 percent increase for the Tree Preservation & Reforestation Fund, a special fund to address tree loss across the park system. The levy comes to $52.6 million for the board and $1.7 million for the tree fund.
Continue reading

Heads-Up for the December 9, 2015 Park Board Special Meeting

6:05 P.M.  SPECIAL BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held at City Hall, 250 South 4th Street, in room 333.  

The following is an explanation for the MIA agenda items by Park Board Commissioner Annie Young:

The Minneapolis Institute of Art sits on Park Board property and there is a tax levy associated with that.  We do this every year. It also should be noted that the Park Board was instrumental in getting admission to the Institute free to the public.  It should also be noted the incredible contributions of the MIA Board of Directors both to the Arts and Parks over the years.  It is a mutually beneficial relationship for both organizations.

The agenda is as follows:

Continue reading