Parks President John Erwin joins list of mayoral hopefuls

Park Board President John Erwin said today he is considering a run for Minneapolis mayor, joining a growing list of candidates hoping to take over for R.T. Rybak, who is not running again.

Erwin said his record of limiting property tax increases, increasing services and planning for development of the upper riverfront would make him a good mayor. Erwin and his colleague on the Park Board, Bob Fine, are the only potential mayoral candidates thus far who have won citywide races.

“I do have concerns that property tax increases have been excessive,” Erwin said. “I think I have a history of being on the Park Board and limiting property taxes and at the same time increasing services.”

Since Erwin took over as Park Board President in 2010, the Park Board’s property tax levy has increases by about 7 percent, from $45.5 million to $48.6 million. That’s an average annual increase of 2.3 percent.

Erwin, a Seward resident and horticulture professor at the University of Minnesota, has served a total of eight years on the Park Board, the last four as president.

Erwin said he wants to promote growth in order to increase the tax base; set up some kind of neighborhood program to involve residents in guiding their neighborhood’s character; increasing community involvement and transparency and promoting more city events and celebrations.

He said he wants to bring more arts to the riverfront, with concerts, theater and movies as possibilities.  

Erwin said he’ll make up his mind about running in the next few weeks.