The Minneapolis Park & Recreation (MPRB) board voted Wednesday to deny a request by Lowry Hill residents for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on the Parade Stadium project.
The residents collected around 30 signatures for a petition that claimed Superintendent Jon Gurban’s vision for Parade — which includes an event center, grandstands and an athletic training facility — is “being implemented incrementally without citizen input or review of environmental impacts.”
Currently, the area has artificial turf and lights, but the MPRB staff is also planning to install a new road next to the field. Residents are worried that the road is only the beginning of a long line of developments that could bring noise pollution, storm water run-off problems, and increased traffic, among other issues.
“[Gurban’s vision] is much more an illustration than a plan,” said Michael Cronin, a land use and planning consultant who worked with the MPRB staff to put together a response to the neighbors’ petition. “[The existing structures] don’t have the potential for significant environmental effects.”
One Lowry Hill resident stood up and told the commissioners that they need to be transparent regarding the project. “Now’s the time to find out if it’s even plausible to do the vision,” he said. “Why are you afraid of something that you’re going to have to do sooner or later?”
Commissioner Tracy Nordstrom responded, “As the commissioner in this district, I’m not convinced that this project is going to happen.”
By denying the EAW request, Cronin said, commissioners aren’t necessarily closing the door to future environmental reviews of Parade Stadium.
The board will hold a public study session about the project on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. at the MPRB office on 2117 West River Rd.