Letters to the editor

Honoring the city’s past

Steve Pease might’ve considered my perspective — I’m a Minneapolis resident and professional archaeologist who is on Minneapolis’ Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) — before going to press (“Historical preservation included in city’s Comprehensive Plan,” March 24–April 6 edition). Alternatively, he could’ve included additional input from Molly McCartney.

Emerson’s statement has been true during my term — most of the development, redevelopment and tear-downs have been privately funded. However, I think the absence of professional archaeologists is partially responsible for the absence of archaeology in past HPC decisions. My HPC experience has been positive; I encourage my colleagues to volunteer for a term.

It’s important to point out that all commissioners are citizen volunteers — we donate our time and transportation, receiving the same modest stipend whether we attend a five-minute-long or seven-hour-long hearing. Surely former commissioners made conscientious decisions on the basis of their skill sets and common sense.

Archaeological sites are generally “out of sight, out of mind.” Not long ago, we had no idea whether significant archaeological resources are preserved in the city. Now Mill Ruins Park reveals deeply buried archaeological resources beneath present streets.

The City Council took a bold step by appointing me to the HPC. I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to ensure that archaeological resources are considered whenever relevant to proposed actions. City staff now regularly considers archaeological resources in reports; these reports provide the basis for HPC decisions.

In less than a decade since the last Comprehensive Plan, the city began to integrate historic preservation into economic development, urban revitalization, tourism, etc. Nestled among new developments Downtown, the Mill Ruins and Gold Medal parks are just two reminders of the potential value of recognizing and preserving archaeological resources. As a Minneapolis resident, I hope everyone will continue to attract businesses, residents and visitors to the city by showcasing as many attributes as possible.

Amy Ollendorf

Letters to the editor

Keep it clean
I completely agree with the letter from Kristen Witte in the April
7–20 publication. We need to pick up after not only our pups, but
ourselves. If she was disgusted with what the snow melt has uncovered, she
must be absolutely appalled with the human droppings of food and drink
containers, bottles, cans, paper, plastic, candy wrappers, and thousands
of cigarette butts.

We are slowly killing our mother, the earth, with our behavior.  If
everyone concerned with this world would just pick up five items of debris
every time they are on their walks, runs, or bike rides, our city would
look and be a lot cleaner.  Once a year on Earth Day is not enough.

Vonnie Thomasberg

Sometimes less is best 
The notion that there are no funds to pave Lake of the Isles Parkway is absurd. Everyone new in the beginning planning phases of this project that a new road would be needed. Your article failed to mention the millions of dollars spent on this poorly planned, over engineered renovation project. Not only did this project come in way over budget, the Park Board had to obtain more funding to keep it a float, and it still is not done. The contractors hired for this project are laughing all the way to the bank! 

The taxpayers of Minneapolis who live in the neighborhoods surrounding our city lakes pay the majority of property taxes for the city as a whole. We expect that the Park Board or City of Minneapolis provide us with a safe road to drive on. Many of us now find ourselves traveling a longer distance to get home.

I was involved in the Minneapolis Park Board’s initial City of Lakes Renovation Projects planning meetings. When the Lake of the Isles project was in the early planning stages, there were many citizens that did not support this project, but there voices were never heard.  The pretext of flooding around the lake was used to push this project through. Just a few of the environmental concerns that were raised by opponents of the project were the loss of trees, the effect of hauling in loads of fill; adding more impervious surface would have on lake water quality and that opposing citizens ideas were not being respected. To date all of these concerns have been  justified.

At this point, many of us would have been more than happy with upgraded walking/bike trails and a newly paved parkway to drive on. 
Kim Ramey

Bypassing the lakes
I read your article about the potholes surrounding Lake of the Isles.
I like to drive around all of our lakes in and around the Uptown neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I’m not taking the route around the Isles anymore.

It’s odd that such an upper class neighborhood would have the worst stretch of roadway — in my opinion — in Minneapolis.

I will only use my mountain bike now being I doubt the city will repair the front end of my car from the damage it might cause by me driving over those craters (I think I seen China in one).

I may complain about this issue, but the sad fact of the matter is we may not have
any control over that area. I think it’s the land the roads are built on rather then poor
maintenance. Back in the early 1900s, that area was surrounded by swamps
and wetlands but was transformed to the Isles we have today. That could be the
reason we see more potholes in such a confined area — more then any roadway
that I know of in Minneapolis.

Frank Talach

Save my mother’s garden

Just recently, my parents were informed that their neighbors plan to add an addition onto the back of their home that would completely block out the little sunlight my mom has for her garden (not to mention the loss of a beautiful pastoral view). My parents have lived in their home for more than 30 years and have spent that time enhancing its historic beauty (it was built in 1910) and even turned the shed into a quaint little “teahouse.” My parents’ home is another family member.

Nevertheless, with their neighbors’ plans (neighbors who moved in less than five years ago), my mom’s garden (a place in which, as long as I can remember, she has spent a majority of her time through the spring and summer, her one truly active passion) would turn to mud. The beautiful views would be lost. A dark shadow would be cast.

My parents would move and my four sisters and I would lose the one central place that has kept us rooted all these years, no matter how far away we might move.

I am writing in consideration of the recent episode in St. Paul that caused Garrison Keillor to move due to another instance where the cause for historic preservation is overrun by city-dwellers wanting homes that belong in the suburbs. The beauty of the homes in the Twin Cities is becoming lost in a need for more, for bigger homes with “great rooms.” When my parents told me the news, I said, what about the fight against all this in Linden Hills? Isn’t this illegal? Rather downtrodden, they said it is legal and there is nothing they can do about it. So, I want to add this letter to the pile of complaints that longtime residents who care about the historic preservation of this city have because I do have hope that something will change someday when enough people care and speak out. And those who want to double the size of their homes should go back to the suburbs.

Anne Estes
East Harriet

Pick up after your pups

Walking along the parkway is a wonderful gift for those who live in the area. We ought to treat it like one! I am generally impressed with dog owners picking up poop along the path … EXCEPT when it comes to winter! Do we think it really disappears underneath the white fluffy stuff? As if the color difference isn’t enough! When the snow melts it is still there, AND more disgusting than ever.

Please pick up … failure to do so is embarrassing as a fellow dog and parkway lover.

Kristen Witte


The “Green Digest” story in the March 24–April 6 edition of the Journal misreported the phone number for Tree Trust, an environmental nonprofit. The correct phone number is 651-644-5800.