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”
Some agenda items of interest are:
The following Commentary by Bob “Again” Carney Jr. was published in the May 26, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.
2016: Legislature: Here’s the Win-Win Solution to Southwest Light Rail
In order to get the state bonding bill back on track this year, start by scrapping the route’s embattled Kenilworth corridor and tunnel.
Star Tribune file photo
A rendering shows a Metro Transit light-rail train passing through the Kenilworth lagoon in Minneapolis.
The 2016 legislative session almost made it. Tax and supplemental spending bills (with the exception of a mysterious tobacco tax cut) are widely acceptable to both parties and to Gov. Mark Dayton.
However, the problem-plagued Southwest light-rail project remained unfunded. With a midnight deadline minutes away, a powerful, panicking herd of developers — downtown business interests, construction companies and unions — pushed a funding amendment through the Senate. Too late. Amid confusion, the billion-dollar bonding deal fell apart.
Without a reasonable transit compromise, our opportunity to have a 2016 bonding bill will be lost. This would be a major injury to the entire state. It’s no surprise that a special session is now widely seen as a needed remedy. But to reach a compromise, we need to fix a fatal design flaw with the light-rail route.
To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune Here’s the win-win solution to Southwest light rail
The following article by Janet Moore was published in the May 26, 2016 issue of the Star Tribune.
Without State Funding, Southwest Light Rail’s Future in Doubt
$130M has been spent so far on the light-rail line.
Photo: Met Council, Star Tribune
A rendering of the Southwest Light Rail train passing through the Kenilworth Lagoon.
The fate of the Southwest light-rail line is in doubt after it failed to win $135 million in funding from the Legislature — and no one can say how the controversial line will move forward without that critical state support.
The state’s share of the $1.79 billion project, which would link Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, was supposed to be the final piece of local funding needed to win $895 million in federal matching dollars. But partisan infighting at the Capitol this session skewered any hope of compromise on transportation — for now.
Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said if the Legislature fails to “act in any affirmative way” to fund the final 10 percent share for the Southwest line, “it’s dead.” Dibble, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said efforts over the past two years to craft a compromise package on transportation funding has been a “fool’s errand.”
To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune http://strib.mn/1Ucdd4h
The following letter to the editor was published in the May 24, 2016 issue of the Star Tribune:
One Word: Appalling
The Legislature failed to pass a bonding bill as the session ended. Despite the House doing its job and looking out for all of Minnesota, Senate DFLers dug their heels in. Sen. Ron Latz even tweeted: “No light rail funding, no bonding bill. When will the House figure this out?” With roads, bridges and water towers crumbling in Minnesota, Sen. Latz, and others, refused to pass a bonding bill unless it contained funding for light rail. They owe the taxpayers of Minnesota a collective “sorry.”
Chris Lund, Hamburg
In Support of MPRB President Liz Wielinski
I was at the May 18 Park Board meeting which became a platform for Nekima Levy-Pounds and her efforts to disparage the Park Board and pressure Park Board President Liz Wielinski to resign. KARE 11 covered the meeting but focused on Levy-Pounds’ unsupported criticisms of the Park Board. KARE’S coverage was not fair and balanced journalism. There was no footage or mention of my Open Time speech which was in support of President Wielinski. Here is my speech which was intended to provide balance to Levy-Pounds’ attack on Liz and the PB.
In Support of MPRB President Liz Wielinski
I am deeply shocked, saddened and disturbed about the vitriolic and mean-spirited attacks that have recently been directed at Park Board President Liz Wielinski.
I have known Liz since 2004 when she, I and three others co-founded Park Watch.
Park Watch was founded to reform the previous Park Board administration and to recreate a Park Board that would be transparent, administratively accountable and ensure citizen participation. And with the new Park Board in 2009 and the hiring in 2011 of Superintendent Miller, there have been significant improvements.
Since her election to the board in 2009, Liz has worked tirelessly to benefit our parks
and park system. She deserves to be treated with respect–not insults.
Co-founder of Park Watch
The following letter to editor was published in the Star Tribune on May 21, 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS PARKS: Historic Funding Agreement Ensures Vitality for Generations
Wednesday was a historic day for Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board unanimously approved a 20-year neighborhood parks funding agreement negotiated with the city. Together, these concurrent ordinances will ensure that we remain a “city of parks” for future generations.
The agreement secures an additional $11 million for parks annually for the next 20 years to be invested in long-term maintenance needs in our neighborhood parks. The agreement includes $3 million annually dedicated to operations so that our parks remain well-kept and maintained.
The following press release has been issued by Minneapolis on May 20, 2016.
City Approves Historic Funding Plan for Streets and Neighborhood Parks
Mayor Hodges and the City Council approved a landmark agreement that will equitably address needed funding to repave City streets and maintain neighborhood parks far into the future. The measure will provide $800 million over the next 20 years to help the City and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board keep up with needed maintenance and operations costs in an equitable fashion.
Under the plan, there would be $33 million in funding for City streets and neighborhood parks for up to 20 years to meet urgent, ongoing needs. About 82 percent of the funding would be paid through property tax increases, providing for:
- Street maintenance
- A guaranteed minimum annual funding of $21.2 million a year above the current City general fund expenditures for street capital projects.
- $800,000 increase in base budget for street maintenance beginning in 2017.
The following article by Susan Du was published in City Pages Online on May 23, 2016.
Look at the Stats, and the Minneapolis Parks Board Doesn’t Seem Very Racist
Star Tribune Photo
The NAACP’s Nekima Levy-Pounds and the University of St. Thomas’ Community Justice Project believe Minneapolis Parks and Rec is racist. What are their specific allegations, and is there evidence?
When Nekima Levy-Pounds of the Minneapolis NAACP crashed the Parks and Recreation budget meeting on May 11, she unloaded a slew of racism charges against the nation’s largest parks system.
She accused the board of allocating more money to the parks in white neighborhoods than those in black and brown neighborhoods. She accused the board of hiring few people of color, and then treating them differently on the job.
Looking around at the nine board members, all she could see were white faces – indicative of white supremacy, Levy-Pounds concluded.
Caught by surprise, Parks board president Liz Wielinski flipped out and fired back. She screamed at Levy-Pounds for stealing center stage during a meeting where there had not been time set aside for public testimony.
To continue reading, click on the link to City Pages
The following letter to the editor was published in the May 21, 2016 issue of the Star Tribune.
Letter to the Editor: LIGHT RAIL AND SALES TAXES
If this idea still survives, woe to those with lower incomes.
The sales tax is one of the most unfair taxes (“Sales tax increase is sought to pay for light rail,” May 20). Low-income and most middle-income families spend all of their income to live day to day. Hence, they pay a much larger percentage of their income toward sales tax than do the wealthy. That disparity is huge and unfair.
Don Eisenschenk, Minnetonka