Monthly Archives: July 2016

Heads-Up for the August 3, 2016 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”

Some agenda items of interest are:

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New Project Will Assess Calhoun Refectory to Determine Future Improvements

The following item has been issued by the Park Board.

New Project Will Assess Calhoun Refectory to Determine Future Improvements

Park users enjoy food and drink from Tin Fish, the current tenant at Calhoun Refectory
Local restaurant The Tin Fish has leased space at the Calhoun Refectory since 2004
People stand underneath the awning at the Calhoun Refectory

New study will assess current state, future needs of Calhoun Refectory

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is pleased to announce the launch of a new project that will assess the current condition of the Calhoun Refectory and surrounding area and recommend improvements based on its future needs.

The building opened in 1930 and has undergone numerous renovations since then, the most recent in 1988 when it was remodeled to operate as a seasonal restaurant. Improvements to the area around the Refectory were completed in 1998 and 2012.

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The Calhoun Refectory is enjoyed on a hot summer day

Public Open Houses

Community members and park users are encouraged to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas regarding the future of the Refectory at two open houses:

Open House #1

Date: Thursday, Aug. 11
Time: 7-9:30 am, Noon-2 pm, 4-6 pm

Location: Calhoun Refectory, 3000 Calhoun Parkway

Topic: MPRB staff and consultants will perform intercept surveys and host a community open house

Open House #2

Date: Thursday, Sept. 8
Time: Noon-2 pm, 4-6 pm

Location: Calhoun Refectory, 3000 Calhoun Parkway

Topic: Community open house

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Essential, Illegal, Misbegotten or Misunderstood? Ready or Not, Downtown Minneapolis’ ‘Commons’ is Set to Open

The following article by Peter Callaghan was published in the July 21, 2016 edition of Minnpost.

Essential, Illegal, Misbegotten or Misunderstood? Ready or Not, Downtown Minneapolis’ ‘Commons’ is Set to Open

Downtown East Commons park
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

The 4.2-acre park is wedged among a giant new stadium, a new apartment building, two new office buildings and the historic Armory.

The Downtown East Commons park in downtown Minneapolis gets an official opening Thursday, which will include — of course — a ceremonial tossing of the first Frisbee.

There will be speeches that will praise the park, as well as its designers and builders. Then the grassy fields and hardscaped areas will host its first event: an outdoor celebration, complete with food trucks, an Asian dance team and free yoga classes. (The event will go from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the opening programming beginning at noon.)

But what this 4.2-acre park — wedged among a giant new stadium, a new apartment building, two new office buildings and the historic Armory — might want more than anything is to be loved, to be understood. From its inception nearly three years ago, after all, the park has been the subject of debate and derision. Who would run it? Who would pay for it? Was it public or private or somewhere in between — the worst of both worlds?

To continue reading, click on the link to Minnpost

Essential, illegal, misbegotten or misunderstood? Ready or not, downtown Minneapolis’ ‘Commons’ is set to open

Heads-Up for the Park Board’s July 27, 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting

6:30 P.M.  The meeting, which is not a regular meeting, will be held at Bottineau Recreation Center, 2000 Second Street NE.   It is open to the public.  The subject for this meeting is “Our Parks.”

Facilitators from New Publica will lead a discussion allowing for specific input from community members regarding parks, the Park Board’s current efforts to achieve racial equity, and community suggestions for improvements and expansion of this significant work.  That discussion is the only item on the agenda.

Board meeting agendas and related information are posted at two business days prior to meetings.  Regular meetings are telecast.  This one will not be telecast, but there will be an audio recording for the record.

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

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Online Rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 Meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin

Online Rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 Meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin
Because of the recess called at the last Park Board meeting in response to the chaos (loud shouting and yelling by a number of the public who had come to the meeting to criticize the Park Board and do not respect meeting protocol), the rebroadcast has an extended pause which is confusing to viewers who were not present at the meeting.

For those wishing to watch the meeting, here is the online rebroadcast of the Park Board’s 7/20/16 meeting: Election of Anita Tabb and John Erwin.

The online version is up in its entirety at:  There is a ~6.5 minute recess.  All that is seen on the screen during this time is the “meeting splash page.” After the recess, the meeting and the rebroadcast continues.  Shortly after Open Time, most of the individuals who were responsible for the chaos leave.


Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

The following article by Janet Moore was published in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.

Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

But planners still need $135 million for the project.

Backers of the proposed Southwest light-rail line were nearly giddy Thursday after announcing that the federal government had granted the controversial $1.84 billion project a green light that moves it closer to construction.

“We’re not breaking out the champagne yet, but this is still outstanding news,” said Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the builder and ultimate operator of the 14.5-mile line slated to link downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie.

The announcement, considered a key milestone in transit planning, was made at a Southwest Corridor Management Committee meeting, an advisory group.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified the Met Council last Friday that it had granted the project a “record of decision,” meaning environmental work has been completed on the line.

Such a decision is typically followed by the engineering phase, when bids are let for construction of track, stations and other infrastructure.

There’s still the not-so small matter of the missing $135 million in local funding — money that was supposed to come from state coffers.

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

Southwest LRT clears milestone but still faces funding shortage

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Lead Park Board

The following article by Eric Best dated July 21, 2016 was published in the Southwest Journal.

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Lead Park Board

Following some intense months, Anita Tabb will preside over the board.

Park commissioners chose new leadership Wednesday following the resignations of its top elected officials.

Commissioners elected Anita Tabb president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Wednesday. Commissioner John Erwin, a former board president, was selected to be vice president.

Commissioners Liz Wielinski and Scott Vreeland submitted letters last Friday resigning from the nine-member board’s president and vice president positions, respectively, though the two maintain their board seats.

Commissioners voted 7-1 in each instance. Interruptions from audience members who called for public input on the leadership selections temporarily derailed the meeting, causing a short recess.


The elections follow several intense months for the board. Earlier this year, the board, under Wielinski’s leadership, secured a long-term funding plan — known as the 20 Year Neighborhood Parks Plan— for maintaining neighborhood parks, praised by commissioners and their peers on the City Council as a historic agreement between the traditionally distant governing bodies. Commissioners recently approved racial and economic equity criteria to guide the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments into the system. They’ve also maintained the honor of the country’s top park system.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Southwest Journal.

Tabb Takes Park Board Reins Following Wielinski Resignation

The following article by CIDNA (Cedar, Isles, Dean Neighborhood Association) resident MIchael Wilson was written for the July 2016 issue of the Hill and Lake Press.


Tabb Takes Park Board Reins Following Wielinski Resignation

Anita Tabb, Fourth District Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioner and Lowry Hill resident, was elected on Wednesday, July 20, to serve for the remainder of 2016 as board president following the resignation of Liz Wielinski from the post. Wielinski was in the middle of her third one-year term as board president.

Wielinski and board vice-president Scott Vreeland both both submitted letters on July 15 indicating their intention to resign their positions. Vreeland indicated in his letter that he did not wish to move into the board president position at this time.

Tabb’s name was the only one placed in nomination for the board’s top leadership position during a stormy start to the board’s regular third-Wednesday meeting. John Erwin, who served four terms as president from 2010 to 2013, was nominated to become vice-president for the balance of 2016. Brad Bourn nominated himself. Erwin was elected on a 7-1 vote, with Bourn voting for himself. Tabb was likewise elected on a 7-1 vote, with Bourn in opposition. Commissioner Annie Young was absent.

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Tabb, Erwin Elected to Park Board Leadership

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the July 20, 2016 on-line edition of the Star Tribune.

Tabb, Erwin Elected to Park Board Leadership

Election follows chaotic start to meeting over public input on selection. 

Anita Tabb will preside over the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the rest of 2016, backstopped by former board president John Erwin as vice president.

Tabb and Erwin were selected on Wednesday by colleagues on the board to fill a leadership void created last Friday when Liz Wielinski said she was resigning as board president, and vice president Scott Vreeland said he’d follow suit.

To continue reading click on the link to the Star Tribune

Park Board President, Vice President Resign