Category Archives: Uncategorized

Letter to Lileks: Height Restrictions and Lake Calhoun

The following letter was emailed on January 1, 2017 to James Lileks regarding his December 31st column in the Star Tribune.

James,

Regarding your recent article “The Right Place to go Tall” regarding height around Lake Calhoun, it is not so simple.  And you are wrong about it being the neighbors who were responsible.  The passing of the Shoreland Height Ordinance was a citywide effort. I know because I was a board member of one of the two citizens’ groups that was instrumental in getting the ordinance passed.

I lived in Bryn Mawr but like many residents of Minneapolis, I felt a responsibility to preserve our natural resources from being exploited.  When a 24 story tower was proposed on the CBC’s property across from Lake Calhoun, the residents of Minneapolis revolted.  We did not want the profit motive converting Lake Calhoun into another Miami or Chicago with a ring of high rises dominating the lake.  We wanted to protect nature and all the wildlife that made Calhoun its home.

It took two years and two lawsuits to get the Shoreland Height Ordinance passed.  It was a huge accomplishment and I have two volumes of articles to prove it.  Barbara Flanagan was a supporter.  Linda Mack was a supporter.  Barbara Carlson was a supporter and, as a city council member, one of the reasons it was able to get the city’s support.

I am writing you because it is painful to see you so casually trivialize a major successful citizen effort.

Arlene Fried
A Founding Member of ELECT–Emergency Lakes Environmental Coalition Task Force

The original Shoreland Height Ordinance was passed on May 13, 1988 and published  in Finance and Commerce on that date. Don Fraser was Mayor and Alice Rainville was council president.

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 http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx 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 www.minneapolisparks.org . The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
http://www.mplsparkwatch.org

Heads-Up for the JUNE 15, 2016 Park Board Meeting

4:45 P.M.  COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE–Discussion Regarding Proposed Workers Compensation Settlement (This is a closed 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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Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote

Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote.

The following is an introduction and letter, dated September 24, 2015, from Bob Carney Jr. (bob again) to the Mayor and City Council regarding the SWLRT Municipal Consent Vote.


INTRODUCTIONTo: mpls@forums.e-democracy.org

Hi everyone —

Below is a long (4 page) letter I dropped off today for all City Council Members, and Mayor Hodges, on tomorrow’s municipal consent vote.  A .pdf version is attached, I think it’s somewhat more readable than the e-democracy format.

Here’s the main point — I think the transcript sections from a 5/6/2015 Metro Council Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting represent a “smoking gun” — in the context of the Lakes and Parks Alliance Federal Lawsuit, in my opinion this amounts to predetermination of the current route as the de facto choice, eviscerating the environmental review process and any Federal remedy from that.  DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, not a member of Lakes and Parks Alliance, and don’t speak for them — but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion (but not their own facts).

bobagain

East Harriet Farmstead
Stadium Village (formerly the City of Minneapolis)
“Candidate-Journalist”, writer-wing republican, registered Lobbyist for We the People (informal association), etc.

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Joe Soucheray: If We’re Going to Rename Lake Calhoun, Where Does It All End?

The following article by Joe Soucheray was published in the Pioneer Press on June 23, 2015.

Joe Soucheray: If We’re Going to Rename Lake Calhoun, Where Does It All End?

Joe Soucheray

 

Removing the Confederate flag, as it might be flown adjacent to the state Capitol in Columbia, S.C., is not at all problematic and does not at all attempt to be a sanitization of anything, much less our shared American history. We have a flag. The American flag serves South Carolina as it does Minnesota or any other state.

Calls to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol in Columbia have intensified since it was discovered that the latest devil in our midst, Dylann Storm Roof, featured a Confederate flag license plate and other Confederate flag paraphernalia, the likes of which Walmart will stop selling. If that was our only flag, the implications of its removal would be complicated and highly suspicious of rewriting history.

But it is an adjunct flag, superfluous, mindful only of a divide.

We have a flag. Problem solved.

Now, as a result of the same evil force who shot up the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the spire of which is seen from everywhere in Charleston, local activists want to change the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. That is a problem.

Letter to the Met Council re Violation of Minnesota Statutes‏

The following letter from former Minneapolis City Council President Paul Ostrow was sent on April 17, 2015 to the Met Council urging the Met Council to reject the proposal to expend public funds for the $6M pedestrian bridge because the expenditure would be in violation of Minnesota statutes.  At its last meeting on May 27, the Met Council decided to send the foot bridge issue back to the Vikings and the Stadium Facilities Authority to continue negotiations over the funding.


April 17, 2015

To: Chair Duininck and Board Members:

I am writing you to express my concerns regarding the Transportation Committee recommendation that the Metropolitan Council expend six million dollars in public funds for a walkway to serve the Vikings stadium development on game days. This proposed expenditure is in direct violation of Minnesota statutes.

The Vikings stadium legislation approved in 2012 included clear and unambiguous language limiting the use of public funds for the stadium and surrounding infrastructure. This “cap” on the public’s contribution was critically important to legislative support for the bill. Minnesota Statutes Section 473J.11 limits the state’s share of “stadium costs” to $348,000,000 and further limits the portion of “stadium costs” to be paid by the City of Minneapolis to $150,000,000. Further Minnesota Statutes Section 16A.965 and Minnesota Statutes Section 16A.726 make clear that the legislature intended to limit the public contribution for “stadium costs” to the $498,000,000 in bonds issued to finance the stadium development.

State and local leaders were acutely aware at the time the stadium bill was proposed that the Downtown East location lacked the necessary skyways, parking spaces, green spaces and other ancillary needs critical to the stadium development. As a result the Legislature insisted on language in the stadium bill that precluded public expenditures for stadium infrastructure beyond the statutory spending limit of $498,000,000.
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Minneapolis and Saint Paul Tie for First Place on The Trust for Public Land’s 2015 ParkScore® Index

The following press release was issued on May 20, 2015 by the MPRB.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Tie for First Place on The Trust for Public Land’s 2015 ParkScore® Index

 Twin Cities Share Prestigious Title as Nation’s Best Park System,
Edging Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Portland

Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN – In a historic finish, the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul tied for first place on The Trust for Public Land’s 4th annual ParkScore® index, with each city earning a perfect 5 “park bench” rating from the nonprofit organization. Saint Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski will join Trust for Public Land officials to commemorate this historic achievement at Minneapolis’ East River Parkway at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Saint Paul was included in the ParkScore rankings for the first time in 2015, as the index expanded from the 60 largest cities in the United States to the 75 largest (Saint Paul is the 66th largest city in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau). Minneapolis is ParkScore’s defending champion and retained its title for the third consecutive year. Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Portland rounded out the top six.

“We’re thrilled our park systems are getting the recognition they deserve. But we can’t rest on our laurels. As our cities grow and draw families to new and redeveloping neighborhoods, our park systems must evolve. At The Trust for Public Land, we’re working especially hard to increase safe and vibrant park space in underserved neighborhoods throughout both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, along key opportunity corridors where investment is occurring, in both cities’ downtowns, and along the world class Mississippi riverfront for all of us to forever enjoy. That’s what it will take to stay number one into the future,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota Director of The Trust for Public Land.
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Price Tag of Southwest LRT Nears $2 Billion

The following article by Eric Best was published April 27, 2015 in the Southwest Journal.

Price Tag of Southwest LRT Nears $2 Billion

Photo by Eric Best
The Metropolitan Council announced Monday that the cost of the Southwest LRT Project is now nearly $2 billion thanks to recent test results and project delays.The now $1.994 billion price tag includes a roughly 20 percent increase of $341 million due to poor ground conditions and soil contamination.  The council also pushed the project opening back one year to 2020, after engineering and environmental studies conducted between last December and this spring.
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$70M North Loop Proposal Features More Green Space, Parking

The following item was broadcast on WCCO Radio on March 13, 2015.

$70M North Loop Proposal Features More Green Space, Parking

It’s one of the most booming neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. Now another new development in the North Loop is being proposed.

Two things that make this approximately $70 million project different: parking and a big park.

Both United Properties Inc. and Greco Development have been responsible for nearly a dozen projects in the North Loop area already.

United Properties has been responsible for places like: Freehouse, Caribou Coffee next to Target Field and Historic Ford Center, just to name a few. As for Greco Development, this would be their sixth project in the neighborhood.

United Properties is currently in the works to acquire the third parcel of the project. The renderings of the development show a new landscape set to cover three blocks between North 3rd Street, North 8th Avenue and Washington Avenue. The centerpiece of this joint project: much needed green space for neighborhood filled with pets and even strollers.

(credit: Greco Development /ESG Architects Inc.)

(credit: Greco Development /ESG Architects Inc.)

“We started in this neighborhood in 1996 with a project called Riverside Condominiums,” President of Greco Development, Arnie Gregory, said.

Gregory has seen the transformation of this Minneapolis neighborhood first hand. His two latest rental properties along Washington Avenue, including Elseware House, have currently reached max capacity.

It’s not just apartments, but condos too. Sotheby’s International Realty says condos are also going fast.

“The North Loop and Mill District are the two most in demand neighborhoods,” Josh Neaumann, Realtor at Sotheby’s International Realty, said. “If there’s a good unit that comes on — anything with a good view, it’s going to be sold that same day.”

One example of just how popular living close to the river has become: Neumann said on the newer properties in the Mill District — Stonebridge Lofts — is already at 99 percent occupancy.

“There’s not enough inventory, we could use more developers to come in and build more product,” Neumann said.

With all that demand, vehicles have to park somewhere.

“The neighborhood is starved for public parking,” said Gregory.

That’s exactly why his company, Greco Development, is hoping to break ground on a 330-stall public parking ramp in September.

If the joint development with United Properties is approved by the Minneapolis City Council, it will include: a 10-story rental building and a restaurant with room for a large patio space.

(credit: Greco Development /ESG Architects Inc.)

(credit: Greco Development /ESG Architects Inc.)

So, how about that view? There will be a park covering two city blocks.

“We envision having some water features, some paver stone walkways, a lot of green grass and irrigation and trees,” Gregory said.

Gregory calls the project a game changer. It’s expected to be presented to a neighborhood advisory board Wednesday, March 18.

“What we’re seeing is the core of downtown shifting closer to the river front,” Minneapolis City Councilman, Ward 3, Jacob Frey, said. “The more green space the developer is able to propose, they’re far more likely to punch this thing through the process at city hall.”

As for the park, it’s expected to be right around 20,000 square feet. If the development is approved by the city and park board the entire project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017.

Understanding on SWLRT Kenilworth Channel Crossing Reached Between Metropolitan Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The following press release was issued on February 27, 2015 by the MPRB.

 Understanding on SWLRT Kenilworth Channel Crossing Reached Between Metropolitan Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Liz Wielinski announced today that the two agencies reached an understanding on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (Green Line Extension) crossing of the Kenilworth Channel.

With its engineering studies complete, Park Board staff and legal counsel are recommending to Park Board Commissioners support of a light rail transit bridge over the channel.  The agencies have an agreed upon memorandum of understanding (MOU) that provides for a more direct Park Board role in the design of the proposed bridges over the channel and earlier involvement in any light rail transit project to address impacts to park land and park resources owned by the Park Board.
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