Group forming Chain of Lakes coalition

A group of community members has formed the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Coalition to address a variety of issues - including preservation and environmental impacts.

While still in a conceptual phase, the group wants to form a standing citizen advisory board to work with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The group would likely include 10 representatives from every neighborhood association within the Chain of Lakes.

Currently the coalition is seeking neighborhood approval. So far, seven of 10 neighborhoods have agreed to send a delegate to the panel. Others have expressed interest and will vote on it at upcoming meetings.

The coalition will likely meet monthly. Organizer Dan Woychick, who recently became the Park Board liaison for the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association, envisions the group as a natural advisory to the Park Board on issues pertaining to the lakes and nearby parkland.

He said the coalition would strengthen ties between neighborhoods and help them respond more efficiently - as a larger communitywide group - to decisions that impact the entire lakes area. This is especially crucial in light of recent substantial cutbacks to Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds.

Woychick said the coalition isn't intended to be an anti-Park Board effort, or a watchdog group. Instead, it's about collaboration. A statement about the group said, &#8220We don't want to be reactive to proposals and policies in a piecemeal fashion. We want to be well-informed and actively engaged.”