Category Archives: Uncategorized

Minneapolis lock closure a victory in invasive carp war

The following article by Don Davis was published in the May 27, 2014 issue of the Pioneer Press.  It is interesting to note that the MPRB was one of the first organizations to urge the closing of the locks and it reduced the use of the locks by SkipperLiner which helped show that the locks were not needed.  Also in the photo below (on the left) is Liz Wielinski, president of the MPRB.

Minneapolis lock closure a victory in invasive carp war

2014_05_29_1_Lock_story_image

Abby Pieper, vice president of Madden’s resort near Brainerd, tells reporters Tuesday that potential customers do not appear worried about invasive carp, because they’re confident state and federal authorities are taking care of the situation, including closing the St. Anthony Falls lock in Minneapolis. Also at the news conference, at the lock, was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right. (Forum News Service photo by Don Davis)

Fighting a war means taking victories where they come, similar to Minnesota’s attempt to stop invasive carp from getting a foothold in the state’s waters.

Minnesota leaders gathered Tuesday along the banks of the Mississippi River near the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, which will be closed within a year. When the downtown Minneapolis lock is closed, it will be much harder for the carp to make their way upstream and into northern Minnesota waters.

The group celebrated legislation that President Barack Obama has said he soon will sign, which includes the rare provision to close the lock. Continue reading

Meeting June 3 to Gather Input on West Bank Interpretive Plan

The following announcement has been issued by the Park Board:

Meeting will focus on the West Bank Interpretive Plan by the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board

The St. Anthony Fall Heritage Board is currently conducting an interpretive study of the West Bank area of Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park.  There will be an advisory committee meeting on June 3, 2014 to gather input for this plan.  This West Bank effort is similar to the East Bank Interpretive Plan: http://www.mnhs.org/places/safhb/pdf/EastBankVisionPlan_hires.pdf completed last fall.  This plan is funded by the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board.  The meeting is open to the public. Please join us! Continue reading

Greystar defines ‘rental condominiums’ proposed near Lake Calhoun

The following article by Michelle Bruch was published on April 21, 2014 in the Southwest Journal.

PARK WATCH NOTE: This article is being posted on Park Watch because the proposed Greystar project is across the street from Lake Calhoun and, therefore, is subject to the Shoreland Height Ordinance, which at this site allows building height up to 60 feet.  Structures located on lake shore property elsewhere are limited to two and one-half stories or 35 feet. Because the Greystar developer wants to go even higher, it becomes a park related issue.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch and former Board Member of ELECT (Emergency Lakes Environmental Coalition Task Force).

Greystar defines ‘rental condominiums’ proposed near Lake Calhoun

2014_04_26_Greystar_image

Greenway view looking west with Calhoun Beach Club Apartments in background.
Image by ESG Architects

Greystar cleared neighborhood review in Cedar-Isles-Dean this month, planning high-end apartments at 2622 W. Lake that would rise four stories lower than the neighboring Calhoun Beach Club Apartments.

The eight-story and three-story structures would sit on piles three feet above the water table. ESG Architects Principal David Graham said the project would not need to pump any groundwater from the site.

“We know that’s a huge concern,” he said at an April neighborhood meeting. “The entire building is like a Santa Monica pier, and floats above the water.”

Average rents for the “rental condominiums” would be $4,500 per month, although a larger 4,000-square-foot unit skews the average a bit. The apartments would charge $2.30-$2.60 per square foot, with an average unit size of 1,600 square feet.

“What’s a rental condominium?” one meeting attendee asked.

Graham said the apartments would be built as though they were condos, with 10-foot ceilings, ample storage and large units.

 

Continue reading

Developers Pitch Two Apartment Buildings Along Lake Calhoun

The following article by Jim Buchta was published in the March 27, 2014 edition of the StarTribune.

PARK WATCH NOTE: This article is being posted on Park Watch because the proposed Greystar project is across the street from Lake Calhoun and, therefore, is subject to the Shoreland Height Ordinance, which at this site allows building height up to 60 feet.

Structures located on lake shore property elsewhere are limited to two and one-half stories or 35 feet. Because the Greystar developer wants to go even higher, it becomes a park related issue. CIDNA is having meetings on the issue April 7 and 9 at 6:00 at the Jones-Harrison Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Avenue. Arlene Fried.

DEVELOPERS PITCH TWO APARTMENT BUILDINGS ALONG LAKE CALHOUN

A pair of developers are poised to present plans for two luxury apartment buildings near the coveted north shore of Lake ­Calhoun, where neighbors have been wary of previous proposals deemed too big and out of scale for the neighborhood.

North Carolina-based Greystar wants to build an eight-story, 90-unit building next to the Calhoun Beach Club. Just a few blocks away, Trammell Crow of Texas is planning a six-story building with 155 apartments next to Tryg’s restaurant.

These are not the first proposals for these sites, which are among the last major development opportunities on a popular spot along W. Lake Street in the neighborhood, which will offer residents views of Lake Calhoun and the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

The Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA) is concerned about how much traffic might be drawn to a neighborhood that’s already stretched to the limits with cars and people, especially in the summer when trails around the lake draw thousands of sun-starved visitors.

There also have been concerns about how any buildings might dwarf–and shade–the nearby Loop Condos and Midtown Greenway, a popular recreational trail built along a former railroad corridor that’s used primarily by bicyclists.

“This is one of the busiest intersections in the city and state,” said Bob Corrick, chairman of the neighborhood association’s Land Use and Development Committee. “We’re concerned about pedestrian safety and the friendliness of our paths and walkways.”

 

Continue reading

Park Board and Minneapolis Parks Foundation to Redefine Mississippi Area

The following article by Meara Cummings was published in the March 6, issue of the Minnesota Daily:

SCAPE Landscape Architecture designs new Mississippi waterfront parks

Photo courtesy of SCAPE Landscape Architecture

A 5.5-mile stretch of the riverfront will be home to ‘a park for all of Minneapolis.’

The Mississippi River defines the Twin Cities, winding alongside downtown Minneapolis and cutting through the University of Minnesota campus.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is aiming to redefine the city’s relationship with the riverfront over the next 20 years, starting with building an immersive waterfront park in the heart of the city, about a mile upriver from campus.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation, in cooperation with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, has commissioned architects to redesign the waterfront area adjacent to the West River Parkway overlooking St. Anthony Falls. A rough draft of the design was presented to community members last month, and the design team is working to build a 3D model to present in April.

This area, called Water Works, is a priority project of RiverFirst, a 20-year vision for the Mississippi riverfront area. The initiative looks to revamp the 5.5-mile waterfront from Interstate 35W to the Plymouth Avenue Bridge with parks and paths to create a greater sense of community. The Water Works plan will come before the park board in August with the hopes of breaking ground in the next year.

Continue reading

Wildlife advocates concerned over planned construction in Roberts Bird Sanctuary

The following article by Ben Johnson was published in the February 13, 2014 issue of the Southwest Journal:

Wildlife advocates concerned over planned construction in Roberts Bird Sanctuary

2014_02_25_3_Roberts_shelter_image

A shelter at the Roberts Bird Sanctuary
Photo Courtesy of the MPRB

Birdwatchers are not happy with a plan to rehabilitate a 100-year-old sewer line that runs through the Roberts Bird Sanctuary.

The Friends of Roberts Bird Sanctuary (FRBS), an organization created to “protect, preserve and enhance” the 31-acre wildlife refuge just north of Lake Harriet, say several concerns raised during the project’s public engagement process have been ignored, and that they’ve been kept in the dark while the project’s plans were finalized by the Met Council and Park Board.

Continue reading

Central Mississippi Riverfront Charrette Meetings

The Park Board has issued the following announcement by e-mail:

Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan Charrette Meetings

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board will host a two-day charrette to gather public input for the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan. This is the final charrette of five for the Master Plan and will focus on West River Road from Plymouth Ave to 35W with connections to the River and to the adjacent neighborhoods.  A charrette is an intensive creative session intended to generate alternative approaches to a design problem. It is a way to immerse a project team with key stakeholders and the community in a real-time, iterative learning and creative process. Please join us!

Charrette Public Meeting Day 1:
Date – 2/26/14 – Wednesday
Time – 8:00am to 10:00am
Location – MPRB Board Room – 2117 West River Road North, Minneapolis. Map link: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=2117+West+River+Road,+Minneapolis,+MN+55411&ie=UTF-8&ei=mr08UqviJqGCyQGf-IHgBw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg
Teams – Central Riverfront Master Plan Team
Meeting Info: Comment and feedback to define key site program issues, possibilities, and limitations for West River Road

Charrette Public Meeting Day 2:
Date – 2/27/14 – Thursday
Time – 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Location – MPRB Board Room – 2117 West River Road North, Minneapolis
Teams – Central Riverfront Master Plan Team
Meeting Info: Review preliminary design framework plan and concepts for West River Road completed during the charrette.

The Park Board encourages the public to stop by MPRB Headquarters to share ideas, concerns and priorities with the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park design team.  Later in January, ideas from this two-day charrette will be presented to the project advisory committees for discussion.

For more information, please go to the MPRB project page http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1396

Contact: Tyler Pederson, Landscape Architect
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
612-230-6418
tpederson@minneapolisparks.org

Price tag for below-par Minneapolis golf course upgrades: $34 million

The following article by Bill McAuliffe was published in the Star Tribune on February 14, 2014:

Price tag for below-par Minneapolis golf course upgrades: $34 million

2014_02_20_2_golf_image

Minneapolis’ seven public golf courses have suffered from years of neglect, and now feature bald greens, fairways sinking into saturated soil, ineffective websites, demoralized staff, “dated and disgusting” clubhouses and even a directional sign on which parks pioneer Theodore Wirth’s name is misspelled.

The cost to fix it all? $34 million, according to a consultant’s report that the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board got a first look at this week.

But that’s money the board is unlikely to spend, much less find, for facilities fewer and fewer people are using, said John Erwin, the board’s recreation committee chairman.

Continue reading

The National Treasure in Your Neighborhood

The following article is posted by permission of its author, Jay Walljasper.  It first appeared in Commons Magazine: http://onthecommons.org/magazine

The National Treasure in Your Neighborhood

City parks are part of the fabric of happy lives
by Jay Walljasper

2014_02_10_2_image

A kite festival held every winter on Lake Harriet, a park in the middle of Minneapolis. (Photo by Alan Wilfarht under a Creative Commons license.)

How does owning a vacation house at Yosemite sound? Or a beach cottage near the shores of Acadia National Park? Do you dream of hiking the Grand Canyon right outside your front door, or taking a dip in Crater Lake after getting home from work?

This is not some far-fetched fantasy of zealots who want to privatize our national parks. Actually, it’s a pretty close description of my own modest home—and probably yours too. I live just a few blocks from Lake Harriet, a national treasure where I x-country ski, swim, walk in the woods, picnic and spot bald eagles soaring through the skies. And all of this happens right in the middle of inner city Minneapolis.

Lake Harriet, you see, is a Minneapolis city park—a part of the commons that belongs to all of us. Chances are good you’ve got something similar near your own home. It may be a wading pool and woodpeckers instead of a lake and eagles, but it’s no less of a treasure.

City parks are your Yellowstone—a spot to relax and reflect and revel in nature as well as to enjoy a picnic or shoot hoops. They can also be the neighborhood version of New York’s Times Square or Washington’s National Mall, providing a gathering point where you run into friends and feel a part of the action. The local park is often the place where we celebrate local festivals, play sports, attend community meetings, join classes, and ooh! at fireworks on the fourth of July.

I believe that local city parks—even humble ones with only a playground, flower patch, Little League diamond and benches beneath the trees—are part of our birthright as Americans every bit as much as majestic national parks.

This is not meant in any way to minimize the wonder of our national parks, recreation areas and state parks—especially now that many of them face serious issues of upkeep and diminished funding. I will always remember the childhood thrill of clambering across a snow field during August high up in Rocky Mountain National Park or learning to body surf as a teenager at Cape Cod National Seashore. Even as a seasoned travel writer on assignment for Better Homes & Gardens magazine, I was spellbound by the experience of seeing a buffalo herd up close at Custer State Park in South Dakota. Each year my family and I count the days until our annual trek to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, which I have come to look upon as a restorative retreat as much as a summer vacation.

Yet these are once-in-lifetime—or, at best, annual—peak experiences. Lake Harriet and Minneapolis’s other fine parks are wonders that I can visit every day. And I often do, walking the dog after breakfast or biking around the lake in the evening.

These parks are where my son’s soccer team played spring, summer and fall; where he learned to ice skate, sled, ski and sail; where he organized capture-the-flag tournaments and where his eighth grade graduation ceremony took place. My wife Julie and I visit Lake Harriet twice a day in the spring when the cherry blossomes and lilacs are in bloom, and we sit out on a blankets to hear jazz, folk, Latin, polka and classical concerts at the bandshell throughout the summer. In the winter, no matter how cold, we turn out with hundreds of others to watch kites flying as part of an annual festival.

Lake Harriet is part of the fabric of my life, woven through my memories and daily rhythms. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even a seven-bedroom beach house with the Atlantic ocean lapping at my front door in Acadia National Park.

Water Works/Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park – Open House

The following press release has been issued by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

Water Works/Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park – Open House

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will host the third public open house for the Water Works Project.  When the design team presented in November they showed us an ‘outline’ of the themes they would be addressing.  This time around they are showing us a ‘rough draft’ of their concepts, which embody the input received to date from the public, stakeholder, and technical advisors. This is in preparation for their April schematic design final delivery.

Date: Thursday, February 13, 2013
Time: 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Type: Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting/Public Open House
Location: Mill City Museum, ground-floor lobby – 704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, 55401

Meeting format: The focus of the open house will be on the Water Works Project.  There will be a presentation to the CAC and public, followed by a formal CAC comment time.  After the CAC comments conclude, the design team will take questions and comments from the general public.

Please join us!

For more information, please visit the Minneapolis Park Foundation’s Water Works project page: http://mplsparksfoundation.org/projects/water-works/

Contact: Tyler Pederson, Landscape Architect,
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
at tpederson@minneapolisparks.org and 612-230-6418