GOVERNMENT NOTES

DQ negotiating to run Harriet, Calhoun concession stands Dairy Queen would take over the operations of the concession stands at Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun under a deal the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is negotiating in an effort to boost revenue.

The board’s Administration and Finance Committee voted 3-1 Feb. 20 to give staff the go-ahead to finalize terms of the Dairy Queen deal. Committee chair Jon Olson abstained because he owns a Dairy Queen franchise in north Minneapolis.

The issue is expected to go to the full board on March 6. If approved, Dairy Queen would begin operations May 1, said John Rose, vice president of lease management for American Dairy Queen Corp.

The Park Board could make more money if someone with more business expertise ran the concession stands, said Don Siggelkow, assistant superintendent for development.

The Park Board has tried for more than a year to get companies interested in the idea, and recently sent out 250 Request for Proposals, Siggelkow said. It made separate overtures to Dunn Bros., Starbucks, Caribou and Bruegger’s Bagels.

Sigglekow said he asked Olson to "get me in the door" at Dairy Queen. "He (Olson) didn’t solicit this. We pursued Dairy Queen."

The Park Board received five proposals and Dairy Queen is the most promising partner, Siggelkow said. It could boost net revenue from the two concession stands by roughly $200,000 in the first year, or roughly 66 percent.

The deal would give the Park Board a percentage of total sales, somewhere in the 10 to 12 percent range, Rose said. It would also allow Dairy Queen to have carts at the beaches around the lakes — Dilly Bars and Buster Bars. "We have a product that

is mobile," he said.

The concession stands would offer Orange Julius products like smoothies and yogurt drinks as well as Dairy Queen cones and sundaes, Rose said. It would also offer hot dogs and nachos, and possibly popcorn.

"We recognize there is a tradition," he said of the popcorn sales at Lake Harriet. "We are discussing that."

Commissioner Walk Dziedzic — who along with John Erwin and Marie Hauser voted in favor of the deal — had a cautionary word: "I think the people at Lake Harriet will go bananas when the signs go up," he said.

Rose said Dairy Queen would be sensitive to people’s concerns about the architectural integrity of the concession stands, "while protecting our brand."

Green Party member Annie Young voted against the deal because she said she had a problem with large corporations and because she did not believe the food was healthy. She wanted the board to consider giving the concession stand deal to one of the area coops, she said.

Dairy Queen would run the concession stands for 5 years, under the tentative terms of the deal. Both sides would have the ability to opt out after 3 years. — Scott Russell

Former city coordinator may join library project The Minneapolis Library Board considered in late February contracting with former City Coordinator Kathleen O’Brien to serve a general oversight role for the new Central Library. The contract — details of which were still being finalized at our deadline — was scheduled for review by the Library Board’s Personnel Committee on Feb. 20.

As City Coordinator, O’Brien served on the library implementation committee. O’Brien left the coordinator position in January, when Rybak appointed John Moir, a former Minneapolis finance director, to the position.

"We’re pleased and excited that Kathy O’Brien will be staying with the project," said Library Board member Diane Hofstede. "We hope that she can assist us in strengthening our relationship with the City Council and the Mayor."

O’Brien’s role would include making sure the new library building program is on schedule and on budget, meets patrons’ needs, is embraced by the library board and staff, and is understood and accepted by the implementation committee, mayor and City Council, Hofstede said.

Hofstede said the initial contract with O’Brien would run through the sale of the bonds for the library project, which could happen in November. There was a possibility to extend the contract, she said.

Tambornino won’t seek re-election Hennepin County Commissioner Mary Tambornino won’t be seeking another term in office.

"I really never thought that being elected to public service is an end to itself," she said. "I’ve loved serving my constituents, but two terms is a long time and I think I can be useful in another way."

Tambornino, who was first elected in 1994, plans to continue advocating for improved access to mental health care, particularly for children. "The earlier we can get at these things, the better off we’re going to be," she said.

Her district includes Bloomington, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Plymouth and portions of northern Fulton and southern Armatage — that makes her a rare thing in Minneapolis: a Republican elected official representing the city. (The Hennepin County Board, however, is considered nonpartisan.)

Precinct caucuses set for March 5 Precinct caucuses for each of Minnesota’s four major political parties will be held on March 5.

The caucuses will begin at 7 p.m. Some DFL caucuses may be held on another day — contact the party for more information.

You may participate in your party’s caucus if, by Nov. 5, 2002, you are (or will be) at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States and a resident of Minnesota for at least 20 days.

You may only participate in the caucus for the precinct in which you reside at the time of the caucus. You must be prepared to state publicly that you are in agreement with the principles of the party as stated in your party’s constitution and that you either voted or affiliated with the party at the 2000 state general election or intend to do so at the 2002 state general election.

For more information about the parties and locations for caucuses, contact:

  • Green Party, 612-871-4585
  • Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, 651-293-1200
  • Independence Party, 651-487-9700
  • Republican Party, 651-222-0022 — Brent Killackey