The following letter-to-the-editor was published in the November 17, 2016 edition of the Southwest Journal.
DEVELOPMENT ON LAKE PARKWAYS
I am writing in response to the article about CPM’s proposed $14-million project that would replace three homes on East Calhoun Parkway with a 55-foot-tall condominium complex.
As far as I can recall, this is the first time since 1988, when the Shoreland Height Ordinance was passed 13–0 by the Minneapolis City Council, that a developer has attempted to exceed the 35-foot limit on a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board lake parkway by proposing a condominium complex that would be 55 feet in height. The six-story Edgewater faces Lake Street, a commercial corridor in the Shoreland Overlay District, and is not on East Lake Calhoun Parkway.
The intent of the Shoreland Height Ordinance was to protect the city’s lakes from excessive height. Anything over 35 feet was considered excessive height. Until now, developers have respected the Shoreland Height Ordinance on Minneapolis’ lake parkways.
This proposed condominium project would replace three houses with 14 to 16
$1-million dollar condos fronting on East Lake Calhoun Parkway. It is an example of the kind of project that the Shoreland Height Ordinance was created to prevent.
I am familiar with the height ordinance because I was a board member of one of the two citizens’ groups that was instrumental in getting the ordinance passed. If the developer wants to proceed with a condo complex on East Lake Calhoun Parkway, the project should be no higher than 35 feet.
Co-founder of Park Watch
The following article by Cory Zurowski was published in the October 27, 2016 on-line edition of City Pages.
Would You Bulldoze This Million-dollar Minneapolis Home for Condos?
In the great wild west of Minneapolis real estate, this million-dollar home could get the wrecking ball.
Rain abuses three single-family houses along East Calhoun Parkway on a weekday morning. A wrecking ball will bring much worse if CPM Development has its way. The developer wants to replace the homes with a five-story condo building.
Among the trio eyed for demolition is a home that was purchased in 2011 for $1.2 million.
The new condo structure would house 14 to 16 units, the cheapest costing more than $1 million for less than 2,000 square feet of living space. The high-profile address is situated across the street from Tin Fish restaurant.
It would prove no small feat to gain the city’s approval for the project. All three properties must be rezoned.
To continue reading, click on the link to the Southwest Journal.
The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the October 15, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune.
Riverfront Advocates Propose New Park at Minneapolis Lock and Dam
The plan, with a visitor center and performance space, would remake Mill Ruins Park and the Stone Arch Bridge area but push out a hydro plant.
This view shows the preliminary concept for the Falls at the Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam. It includes an enclosed viewing platform for the lock and adjacent dam, an outdoor performance space with grass seating, and a parking ramp and interpretive center under the lawn. Part of the planned Water Works Park is shown at right.
The lock at St. Anthony Falls, no longer used for navigation, could be transformed into a park with an interpretive center and performance space under a plan being floated by a new nonprofit formed by riverfront advocates.
The pitch by the Friends of the Lock and Dam includes a glass-sided observation platform slung over the lock and beside the falls, sloping lawns, concessions and a beefed-up visitor center built atop a 280-car parking garage. It would completely remake the area near Mill Ruins Park, the planned Water Works Park straddling W. River Parkway and the Stone Arch Bridge.
“The bridge is great but on both ends it is still undeveloped … with dirt paths and asphalt parking,” said Tom Fisher, director of the Metropolitan Design Center and a board member of the new Friends of the Lock and Dam. “Why not make it a national destination?”
To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune.
The following item by Carol Becker was posted on the Issues List on September 22, 2016.
Park Board Meeting Disruptions
If folks have actually been to some of the meetings where these “hecklers”
have been (not just the one on the Loppet Foundation question but the six
or so meetings total that have been disrupted) you would have found that
the folks disrupting the meetings are not there protesting some noble cause
– they are trying to get money out of the Park Board. It is three people
and their friends/relatives who have been yelling and trying to shut down
Hashim Yonis, who was convicted of ripping off park users, a man
who was let go from a civil service job and a woman who currently works for
the Park Board but has been demoted twice. The woman who is currently
working for the Park Board is demanding 3/4 of a million dollars. Yonis
wants his job back and compensation for the time he was removed from his
position. The other guy wants money also. There are lots of issues we need
to work on, racial equity being one of them. But folks need to understand
who these hecklers are and what they are after. I wish the StarTribune
would explain this next time they report on Park Board meeting disruptions
because this needs to be kept in context.
The following clarifying letter by MPRB Park Board Commissioner Scott Vreeland was posted on the Minneapolis Issues List on September 20, 2016.
Many of you know that I have been working on systems and structures to
decrease institutional and structural racism.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is a national leader for its
work on racial equity. It is important that the Park Board continue this work
on eliminating racial disparities and that we have employment policies that
Unfortunately, this does not prevent people from making false allegations
about racism for their own personal gain, or for the spotlight of TV cameras
and Facebook likes.
You can believe me about this or you can believe Hashim Yonis. You can
look at the evidence and facts or you can make assumptions based on false
Hashim Yonis is one of the main organizers of disrupting Park Board
meetings. He was convicted of theft by swindle by the Hennepin County Criminal
Court. He was found guilty of stealing money from the park board by telling
There is also extensive evidence contained in a separate civil service
investigation which is public information.
In addition to the evidence of his criminal activity, there is a document
with Mr.Yonis’ signature that is a legally binding contract.
Here’s the text of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board statement
about this legally binding agreement:
“In July, 2013, a citizen complained to a park board employee that Hashim
Yonis was renting out Currie Park field and questioned where the rental
money was going. An internal investigation was conducted resulting in a
finding that Mr. Yonis had violated numerous civil service rules constituting
just cause for his termination. On August 23, 2013, Mr. Yonis was terminated
from employment with the Park Board.
On August 27, 2013, Mr. Yonis appealed his termination through the
Minneapolis Civil Service Commission. A civil service hearing on Mr. Yonis’s
appeal was scheduled to be held on October 15, 2013. The day before the hearing,
Mr. Yonis, through his attorney, asked the Park Board if it would consider
amending his termination to a resignation if he dropped his appeal.
After consultation with Park Board counsel, the Superintendent determined
that it was in the best interest of the Park Board to amend Mr. Yonis’
termination to a resignation on the following conditions:
He waive his right to appeal his termination;
He never apply or reapply for a position with the Park Board;
He waive his rights, if any, to sue the Park Board for any claim arising
out of his employment with the Park Board; and
That he not disparage the Park Board, its commissioners or employees
relative to the investigation into employment misconduct and his subsequent
Mr. Yonis signed the settlement agreement on October 21, 2013. The dispute
over his termination is concluded. The settlement agreement is public, as
is the investigation into the complaint against Mr. Yonis”.
Mr. Yonis organizes disruption by making false accusations that are untrue, defamatory, and in violation of a negotiated and voluntary settlement that he signed. It is because I care about fairness, racial equity, and social justice that I see the harm in spreading lies that divide communities.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Commissioner District # 3
AN OBSERVATION ABOUT THE 9/21/16 PARK BOARD MEETING
Tonight’s Park Board meeting provided an interesting study in contrasts.
First there was Open Time, characterized by a number of individuals spewing angry insults at the superintendent and the commissioners. At the conclusion of Open Time, most of the critical and insulting speakers and their supporters (many with insulting signs) got up and left, not waiting to hear responsive comments from Superintendent Miller. Such a hasty departure by the Park Board critics leaves the impression that there is no genuine desire to resolve their complaints.
And then, in contrast, there was–later in the meeting–the Public Hearing for the Southside Service Plan, characterized by a number of individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds providing their varied perspectives on the plan. These individuals presented their perspectives calmly and thoughtfully.
A reminder: Anyone wanting to observe the meeting can do so by going to the Park Board website:
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
There will a delay of a few of days between the meeting and the posting.
Co-founder of Park Watch
MPRB Racial Equity
Here is an overview of the Park Board’s efforts to improve racial equity in the Minneapolis park system and its workforce:
Click on the link to the racial equity page: