Category Archives: Nicollet Island Park Stadium

DeLaSalle stadium plans on Park property on Nicollet Island



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 press release provides an update on the DeLaSalle Stadium project:


[email protected]


MINNEAPOLIS, JUNE 24, 2008 — Today the state Court of Appeals opted not to return to district course a lawsuit against DeLaSalle High School’s planned stadium on Nicollet Island. But DeLaSalle, a private institution seeking to build on public land, still faces multiple difficulties. Minneapolis won’t issue a building permit due to parking shortfalls, and the school must find a way to avoid repaying taxpayers for building on public land valued at $2 million.

The private school has had persistent problems getting a building permit from the City of Minneapolis. DeLaSalle hasn’t found a way to meet minimum parking requirements for a 750-seat stadium and so far hasn’t got an adequate plan to handle stormwater for a project that would be just feet from the Mississippi River.

DeLaSalle also faces significant hurdles in its effort to avoid repaying taxpayers for the removal from the regional park system of $2 million in parkland for the project. A faulty land swap that failed to settle the debt is the subject of a lawsuit now pending at the state Court of Appeals.

Finding space for parking and handling stormwater runoff are basic requirements for building a 750-person stadium on a cramped 40-acre island in the middle of the Mississippi River. Joining Friends of the Riverfront in asking DeLaSalle to consider alternatives are the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Friends of the Mississippi River and the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter.

Nicollet Island is part of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and a national park: the National Mississippi River and Recreation Area. It’s also part of Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, which attracts a million visitors every year.

Friends of the Riverfront is a citizens group that works to conserve, protect and enhance the resources of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park. Visit for more information.



By Steve Pease, from the March 10, 2008 Southwest Journal
– City council action

DeLaSalle: There will be grass

After months of dispute over whether a proposed athletic field — or stadium depending on whom you ask — at DeLaSalle High School on Nicollet Island will have synthetic or natural turf, the high school withdrew its appeal Feb. 29, effectively ending the debate.

“There will be grass,” said Council Member Gary Schiff (9th Ward) following the Feb. 29 City Council meeting.

Officially, the City Council unanimously denied the High School’s appeal of the Feb. 14 action by Heritage Preservation Commission that denied the school’s application to install synthetic turf on the proposed athletic facility (field, stadium, et al). Schiff said that it was his understanding that the appeal was at the behest of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, not the high school. It is unclear when construction will begin on the nonsynthetic playing surface.

Reach Steve Pease at [email protected].


This article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on March 1, 2008.

DeLaSalle Playing Field

By STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune

In other vegetative news, the question of grass versus artificial turf at DeLaSalle High School’s controversial planned athletic field was settled when the school withdrew its bid for a synthetic field.

The school had sought the turf at the behest of the city Park Board, which owns part of the site and wanted to increase the field’s durability.

The Park Board said it is difficult to keep grass fields fit during adverse weather and heavy play.

But neighbors who have opposed the expansion onto park land, said polyethelene fibers with a tire crumb filling have no place in a historic setting.

Late Thursday, City Council President Barbara Johnson told the school and a park commissioner that the fake turf plan lacked council support.

One island resident applauded the withdrawal. “It’s exceptional, like Leap Day,” said Chris Steller, saying it’s the first time the council has upheld the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission on project issues.

The school said it was giving up on the turf request to avoid more delays.

Opponents, the school and Park Board had wrangled over whether the artificial playing field would be safe for athletes and if it would shed material into the nearby Mississippi River.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

City Council votes down artifical turf field on Nicollet Island

From a press release from the Friends of the Riverfront:

MINNEAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 — The Minneapolis City Council today voted down a private developer’s plan to install artificial turf on an athletic field proposed for Mississippi riverfront parkland. The 13-0 vote was a formality after a surprise announcement that the developer, DeLaSalle High School, had withdrawn its appeal.

The unanimous decision to reject artificial turf came a day after contentious debate on the issue at a Committee of the Whole meeting showed the city council to be deeply divided. At that meeting, several council members said they were concerned about the impacts of synthetic turf’s crumb rubber base on the environment and children’s health.

The complete news release is attached, and is also available at the Friends of the Riverfront website:

Council Kills Plan for Fake Grass.pdf

Cam Gordon Exposes City Council's Hypocrisy and Favoritism

Council member Cam Gordon writes on his blog:

As incredible as it may be, the Council seems posed to vote to allow DeLaSalle High School and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to install artificial grass (or “AstroTurf”) on their proposed stadium on Nicollet Island.

The condition that DeLaSalle use natural turf only originated with the City Council. Now they are about to reverse it.

Cam Gordon describes this in the last paragraph of his blog thusly:

Beyond all of this, though, I have a deeper objection to this move. This is one of only a handful of conditions the Council placed on this private-school playing field on public park land that was a bad idea in the first place. The Council has already reneged on other conditions, having to do with the height and brightness of lights and size limitation on signage, and now policymakers are poised to do it again – take back a condition that we imposed. This undermines the argument made by the school and the City in the lawsuit brought by the stadium opponents, that the conditions the City has placed on the project show that we have not made our decisions in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner. Put another way, our willingness to remove every condition to which the school and MPRB object shows that on the details and the fundamental issue of whether or not to build a stadium on protected parkland, the Council is making decisions simply out of deference to the applicant. The message: we like DeLaSalle, and we’ll let them do whatever they want, no matter the parkland guidelines, no matter the historical preservation guidelines, no matter the opposition from neighbors or environmental groups, no matter what we ourselves have said in the past, no matter what.

Which pretty much sounds like the unvarnished truth of the matter. One may read his entire blog post at this link.


By Shawne FitzGerald. First posted on the Minneapolis Issues Forum.

This vote is an add-on to the proposed DeLaSalle Athletic Facility. The Park Board is supporting a change from natural turf to artificial turf. The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) has denied this change on the grounds that artificial turf is not part of a historic landscape. The HPC denial is on appeal to the Minneapolis City Council. The issue was heard in Zoning and Planning Committe and was moved forward with no recommendation. The full City Council will consider the issue on Friday.

As I understand the proposed construction: on the bottom is a sort of synthetic liner with fibers and this is covered with inches of sand. On top of this, there would be about 200 tons of crumbs made from recycled tires. A similar field at Parade opened last July. (Have list members or their children used the new Parade field?)

Besides historic preservation, there are environmental concerns pointed out in the City staff report. Studies have found that these fields have a heat island effect. There are concerns about chemicals leaching from the tire crumbs;
longterm effects are not known. The pro argument is
that the synthetic field would allow for greater use. Because it was not originally proposed, synthetic turf was not reviewed in the Environmental Assessment, Citizens Advisory Committee process, or City site plan and conditional use review. The Park Board held no Committee
or public hearings on synthetic turf on Nicollet Island or Parade. The Park Board turned down Lowry Hill neighbors petition for environmental review of the Parade project. So, via an odd and somewhat limited process, the environmental impact of this type of synthetic turf installation will be before the City Council.

City Council to Vote on Artificial Turf for DeLaSalle

Backers of an Athletic Facility to be shared by DeLaSalle and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) on Nicollet Island will be surprised to learn that artificial turf is one last vote away from covering that field.

Two previous Council votes and an Appeals Court ruling had affirmed the choice of natural turf. This requirement was based on the location within the regional park system and the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.

After three years, the MPRB suddenly claims the natural turf won’t stand up to the wear and tear. So they’ve picked this island in the middle of the Mississippi River to hold artificial turf set on tons of finely-shredded particles of recyled tires. On Thursday, the City Council will vote on whether a project that was “sold” as creating more green space will make its choice “plastic.”

If you think natural turf is the natural choice, your council representative needs to hear from you immediately.

Posted on behalf of Christine Viken

MPRB Amends DeLaSalle RUA, the taxpayers on the line for millions and land, too

Park Board’s Planning Committee approves amended agreement with DeLaSalle that has a poison pill obligating the Park Board to build DeLaSalle a new stadium if it later decides not to renew the lease.

With a clause like this, it makes one wonder who exactly is protecting the interests of the taxpaying public with this deal?

From the Downtown Journal website

Amendments to DeLaSalle agreement approved
UPDATED January 24, 2008, 5:08pm

By Mary O’Regan

On Wednesday evening, the Planning Committee of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) approved amendments from Tom Hanson, the state Finance Commissioner, to a Reciprocal Use Agreement (RUA) between the Park Board and DeLaSalle High School for a shared athletic field to be constructed next to the school, which is on Nicollet Island.

One amendment would change the length of the lease from two 30-year terms and one 10-year term to three 20-year terms and one 10-year term. If the Park Board were to decide against renewing the lease, another amendment would obligate it to build a new athletic field for DeLaSalle adjacent to the school.  And if DeLaSalle were to decide against renewing the lease, it would have to remove the field completely.

MPRB attorney Brian Rice said the objective in negotiating the amendments was to maintain the integrity of the board’s original approval of the RUA from last fall.

Southeast Commissioner Scott Vreeland likened the amendments to giving the Park Board a “poison pill,” which would leave the organization helpless to get out of the deal.

“The liability of the Park Board is greatly increased by this amendment,” he said. “It’s politically unpalatable.”

Northeast Commissioner Walt Dziedzic noted that the Park Board is bound by a 1983 Nicollet Island Agreement to build an athletic field on the land. The fact that an outside benefactor is willing to come in and pay for it gets the Park Board off the hook, he said, adding that if they ended the agreement early, they’d be forced to build DeLaSalle a field anyway, and this way the usage of the field is shared.

Rep. Phyllis Khan (DFL) 59B, who lives on Nicollet Island, wrote a letter to Hanson questioning his approval of the amendments. She cited a statement from Michael Norton, outside counsel to the Park Board, that said, “DeLaSalle is not a party to the 1983 agreement and ‘has no direct contractual rights under the agreement.'” She also said there is technically no adjacent land where a new field could be built should the Park Board end the lease early.

The amendments are expected to go before the full board at its next meeting Feb. 6.