Category Archives: Nicollet Island Park CAC



5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Committee meetings to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

This meeting is the last meeting that David Fisher will be attending as Superintendent. His four month stint as interim superintendent ends on October 31. We are grateful that he accepted the invitation to come to Minneapolis to fill this position.

This meeting is a meeting with many significant agenda items. The most important item on the agenda is the vote to approve the employment agreement with Jayne Miller, who–at the last meeting–was selected by a unanimous vote to be the new MPRB Superintendent.

Some highlights of the meetings that will be voted on :

The I-35 Bridge Memorial.
The concession agreement with Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet.
The reconvening of the CAC for the Wirth Beach Project III.
The non-appointed CACs for two playgrounds at Lake Harriet.

There will be a presentation of the Superintendent’s 2011 Recommended Budget. This is a report item and will not be voted on at this time.

The following is the link to the complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of Wednesday, October 20:

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at

The Park Board’s website is

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch


The following article by David Brauer appeared in the October 1, 2009, edition of MinnPost

On Monday, I criticized a downsized Star Tribune editorial staff for crossing off certain races from their endorsement roster merely because an incumbent was running.

Today, I got word that one race I highlighted will get vetted after all. Minneapolis Park District 5, which features incumbent Carol Kummer verses 2005 runner-up Jason Stone and three other challengers, is now on the list, according to communications from the editorial board.

On Monday, the Strib’s editorial page editor Scott Gillespie declined to discuss plans with a competitor. Three days later, Michael Guest, who is challenging incumbent Jon Olson in Minneapolis Park District 2, said editorial writer Denise Johnson emailed to say the board added the Kummer-Stone race — though not Guest’s contest.

The email also said the Ward 5 City Council seat now held by DFLer Don Samuels was added. Samuels faces four challengers, including former Councilmember Natalie Johnson-Lee and Kenya McKnight.

The Olson-Guest race also merits review, but as I wrote earlier, I appreciate the staff limitations editorialists are up against. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one urging them to use a more sophisticated filter than “open seat only,” but I appreciate them listening, and stretching.

Zoning & Planning Committee Hears DeLaSalle Appeal to HPC Denial

On Thursday, Sept. 14 at 9:30a.m., the city council’s zoning and planning committee will hear DeLaSalle’s appeal of the HPC’s denial of its application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the stadium over Grove Street.

For some of the reasons that the Heritage Preservation Committee (HPC) denied DeLaSalle’s applicatin for a Certificate of Appropriateness for their athletic stadium construction in historic Nicollet Island Park, read Judith Martin’s essay on DeLaSalle’s history of asking for land from the city.

Star Tribune Letters: A Predictable Outcome

I was disappointed, but not surprised, by the recent decision of the DeLaSalle Citizens Advisory Committee. The composition of the CAC was stacked in favor of DeLaSalle and its stadium.

For example, why were there two representatives for youth sports and none to present the historical or the environmental perspective?

Arlene Fried

Original as posted on Star Tribune web site

Public Hearing: DeLaSalle Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendation

The Minneapolis Park & Recreaction Board will hold a PUBLIC HEARING to receive public comment on the Citizen Advisory Committee recommendation for a proposed athletic field at DeLaSalle High School.

The PUBLIC HEARING will take place during the Planning Committee meeting on: Wednesday — October 19, 2005 at 5:30 pm

For more information, call 612-230-6400.

Star Tribune: DeLaSalle 750-seat stadium wins recommendation

« DeLaSalle High School should be allowed to build a 750-seat football stadium on historic Nicollet Island, a citizens advisory panel has narrowly decided.

The panel appointed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved the plan late Tuesday on a 10-8 vote. But that is far from the last word on a hotly contested proposal for a prime site facing downtown Minneapolis along the Mississippi River.

On Oct. 19, the board’s planning committee will conduct a public hearing that will include a presentation from Bert McKasy, chairman of the advisory panel.

The committee could then move the proposal to the entire board, but a final decision cannot be made until the city completes an environmental assessment of the site. If the assessment drags into next year, an entirely new board could be voting on the proposal. All nine board seats are up for election on Nov. 8. »

Link to full article by Rochelle Olson at Star Tribune web site.

Skyway News: Citizen-advisors named for DeLaSalle project

« The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has released the list of appointees to the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and a timetable for its meetings.

DeLaSalle is proposing a joint use athletic facility on Nicollet Island, that the Park Board could use during non-school times. It would span park and school property and require closing half of Grove Street.

The 21-member CAC has:

– Thirteen members appointed by elected officials;

– Five neighborhood representatives;

– Two youth sports members; and

– One business owner.

President Jon Olson appointed Bert McKasy, a Lindquist & Vennum attorney and lobbyist, to chair the committee. McKasy is vice-chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and is a former Republican state representative, State Commerce Commissioner and U.S. Senate candidate.

The other CAC members are as follows, (with the official who appointed them in parentheses):

– Theodore Wirth, grandson of former parks superintendent Theodore Wirth (Commissioner Rochelle Berry Graves);

– Thomas Hoch, president, Hennepin Theater Trust, (Commissioner Walt Dziedzic);

– Edna Brazaitis, Nicollet Island resident (Commissioner John Erwin);

– Judy Blaeseg, a Linden Hills resident and DeLaSalle parent who has been a parent/helper on softball teams that Commissioner Bob Fine coached. (Fine);

– Minneapolis State Rep. Neva Walker (Commissioner Marie Hauser);

– Jim Nestingen, architect and landscape architect, former Hiawatha Corridor Community Advisory Committee member (Commissioner Carol Kummer).

– Chris Johnson, member of the Park Board reform group Park Watch (Commissioner Vivian Mason);

– Jeff Lee, former Park Board staff who managed environmental programs (Commissioner Annie Young);

– Rip Rapson, senior fellow at the McKnight Foundation and former deputy mayor under Don Fraser (Mayor R.T. Rybak);

– John Pacheco, Downtown resident, director of the Xcel Energy Foundation and former Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission member (Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin);

– Susan Howitz Hanna, Windom Park resident, member of the city’s Civil Rights Commission and former DeLaSalle parent (Council President Paul Ostrow);

– Roger Cummings, (Councilmember Natalie Johnson Lee)

– Barry Clegg, attorney and Nicollet Island resident (Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association). Ryan Curry is the alternate.

– John Chaffee and Prudence Johnson (Island residents). Judy Richardson and Deanna Cummings are their alternates.

– Ken Shaffer (St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association). Alternate: Mary Jane Partyka.

– J.D. Pride (St. Anthony West Neighborhood Association). Todd Roeder is the alternate.

– Former Park Board member Scott Neiman, and Thomas Johnson, a former Park Board staff member who worked on youth sports (Park Board staff appointments to represent youth sports/athletics)

– Jim Surdyk (business appointee).

The Park Board has set a schedule to reach a decision on the project before the current board leaves office. All nine commissioners are up for election.

The first CAC meeting is primary election night, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m., at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road North. The group is also scheduled to meet Sept. 22 and Sept. 29, said Emily Ero-Phillips, a park planner. It will take public comments Oct. 4 and then vote on recommendations.

The Board’s Planning Committee will hear the recommendations Oct. 19, she said. If there is an appeal, a public hearing would be held Nov. 2. The committee will “review and comment on the schematic design alternatives for DeLaSalle’s proposed recreation facilities on Nicollet Island,” Park Board documents said. »

Original article by Scott Russell on the Skyway News website.

How do you mend a broken CAC?

I received a copy of the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Proposal Citizen’s Advisory Committee documents. Since this is a public body, with its meetings open to the public, and concerned with giving use of public land to a private institution, I thought perhaps you, the public, might want to know what’s in it. So here are some of the details.

Page 1 — MEMBERSHIP (as of 3pm, September 2) — Total 21 members

Elected Official Appointments (13)

Park Board
President of the board, Jon Olson: Bert McKasy, CHAIR of the CAC
Commissioner Berry Grave[s – typo theirs]: Theodore Wirth
Commissioner Dziedzic: Thomas Hoke
Commissioner Erwin: Edna Brazaitis
Commissioner Fine: Judy Blaeseg [DeLaSalle parent]
Commissioner Hauser: Neva Walker
Commissioner Kummer: Jim Netsingen
Commissioner Mason: Chris Johnson
Commissioner Young: Jeff Lee

Mayor R.T. Rybak: no appointment submitted
Council Member Ostrow: Susan Howitz Hanna
Council Member Johnson Lee: no appointment submitted

Neighborhood Association / PAC / Resident Appointments (5)
Nicollet Island PAC: no appointment submitted
Alternate: no appointment submitted
Island Resident: John Chaffee
Alternate: Prudence Johnson
Island Resident: Roger Cummings
Alternate: Deanna Cummings
St. Anthony East: no appointment submitted
Alternate: no appointment submitted
St. Anthony West: J.D. Pride
Alternate: Todd Roeder

Youth Sports / Athletics (2)
Thomas Johnson
Scott Neiman

Business Owner (1)
Jim Surdyk

My Questions:
1. Why do neighborhoods and residents get alternates, but not the others?
2. Who selected the Athletics appointments?
3. Who selected the Business appointment?
4. Why are Historical interests not represented?
5. Why are Conservation / environmental interests not represented?
6. Why are civil / constitutional rights interests (e.g. atheists) not represented?

Page 2 — SCHEDULE [no input from CAC members was solicited]

September 8: Project informational meeting presented by Park Board planning staff

September 13: First CAC meeting
September 22: Second CAC meeting
September 29: Third CAC meeting

October 4: Public comments to the CAC and Recommendation
October 19: Park Board planning committee Public Hearing and action

November 2: Park Board Public Hearing and action

My Questions:
1. What if the CAC cannot complete its work in just 3 meetings?
2. When will the required Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be completed? Will the CAC even get to see it before completing their work? How can they make an informed decision without it?


“The Park Board gave the Committee the following direction:

‘The planning and design program for the proposed DeLaSalle Athletic Field will be reviewed using the Board’s Appointed Committee Process. The charge to the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Appointed Committee is to review and comment on the schematic design alternatives for DeLaSalle’s proposed recreation facilities on Nicollet Island.

The Committee will hold four (4) public meetings and take input from residents and other interested parties. Based upon the comments presented and alternatives prepared in response to said comments, the Committee will recommend a preferred design option to the Park Board as part of the Board’s Public Hearing process. The Board will consider the Committee’s recommendations and Park Board staff recommendations before approving the final design plans for the facilities.'”

“In order to vote on the final schematic design, Committee Members or an Alternate must have attended 3 of the 4 meetings.

Public input is welcomed at all meetings. One half hour at the end of each meeting will be set aside to allow non-committee members to address concerns or comments to the Committee. Written comments will be accepted at any time and copies will be provided to all Committee Members. A separate meeting to just hear public input will be held prior to any recommendations being made. At the discretion of the Chair or by agreement of the Committee additional opportunities for public input will be accepted.”

Note that the charge as describe above is at odds with the language of Commissioner John Erwin’s Resolution which passed unanimously to create this Citizens Advisory Committee. The relevant passage is: “The Park Board will initiate a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to review ALL ASPECTS of the project including the DETAILED site plan, design, LOCATION, and USE of the proposed athletic facility. [emphasis added] The CAC will also consider options that may include moving of facilities to adjacent parkland.”

Page 5 — AGENDA for First Meeting, September 13

Nothing earth shattering here, except that the whole focus is on talking about “Design Elements and Issues” such as Drainage, Turf, Bleachers, etc. followed by a vote on which of those design issues would be addressed in a revised site plan for the next meeting.

So already the controlling faction of the Park Board with the complicity of the staff is abrogating their legally agreed upon resolution to limit the scope of the CAC. Along with the questionable composition of its membership (recall Christine Viken’s Issues List posting regarding the Park Board Ordinance requiring the CAC to be both representative and balanced), this CAC is looking like a kangaroo court.