Parks notebook

Lowry Hills residents request environmental assessment of Parade Stadium

At the Sept. 5 Minneapolis Park & Recreation (MPRB) board meeting, commissioners discussed a request by Lowry Hill residents for the board to conduct an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) of 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 denying the neighbors’ request. "[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 held a public study session about the project on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. and voted to deny or approve the request at their 5 p.m. regular meeting after this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press.

Good Energy Fair

The Park Board and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council’s Creating Sustainable Community Committee are co-sponsoring a Good Energy Fair at Linden Hills Park, 3100 W. 43rd St. from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. on Oct. 6. "This is the first time the park has ever done anything like this," said Deb Pierce, chair of the committee who organized the event with Park Director Marc Holtey.

Numerous eco-friendly organizations are holding workshops at the fair. Calhoun Cycle will educate neighbors about bike repair and encourage ridership. RoofBloom, an architectural group that builds small, green roof gardens will teach locals how to bring their homes into full bloom.

Residents who are interested in eating local and organic — or just like munching on samples — can attend a workshop by the Linden Hills Co-op. In between talks about cleaning up the Earth, Cool Planet, a group of Frisbee lovers, will show people how to perfect their throws. Attendees can find out how to reduce their digital energy footprints in a workshop about cutting back on e-waste. Or, if they want to work with their hands, they can learn how to make a rain barrel out of recycled drums.

The fair will also have booths set up for local organizations such as Metro Transit, HourCar, and Linden Hills Power & Light, and there will be a table for residents to sign up for the Minnesota Energy Challenge. Joan
Hargrave, a neighborhood musician, will hold a folk jam in which anyone can participate or sit back and listen. Everyone will have a chance to win prizes like bus passes, Peace Coffee and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Attending the fair is free, though workshop participants may need to purchase supplies.

"We’re trying to have fun with it even though we’re educating people," said Pierce. "We hope people will walk away knowing what to do immediately."

The event is funded through a city micro grant, the MPRB and the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council.

Youth naturalist programs

Starting in October, babies and children up to age 12 are welcome to attend Neighborhood Naturalist programs put on by the MPRB at parks all over the city. The month-long series consist of four weekly lessons about all things nature — from bugs and recycling to water and winter. Infants can learn songs about the seasons, kids can examine insects, and participants can find out about pollution and animal adaptation. Each program holds sessions at one or more Southwest recreation centers and can cost up to $15, though many are free. Check for more information.

Lake of the Isles update

Construction workers are continuing to renovate Lake of the Isles — a project that began in 2001. Canoe racks will be dismantled and relocated by Oct. 1, after which shoreline stabilization will begin. Crews will also install more bench pads, benches and stone access points, and they will pave the pedestrian trail around the lake. They’re also working to improve drainage around the canoe storage area and build a concrete curb around the racks. The project is scheduled to be complete by next summer.