In his professional life, Brad Bourn works with youth on a daily basis, making sure they’re safe and receiving the attention and services they need. So when he learned about six months ago that staff hours were being reduced at park centers near his North Side employer, he wanted to find out what was going on.
It was his first experience dealing with staff and commissioners at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. It left him disappointed.
“It seemed like no one knew what the decisions were,” Bourn said, “but everyone knew the decisions were made.”
He wants change. The best way for him to get that to happen, he said, is to get on the board himself. That’s why he’s entered his name as a candidate for Park Board District 6, which represents much of Southwest and puts him in the running against Bob Fine, a three-term commissioner who is seeking his fourth.
Bourn said he wants the board to become more transparent, more responsive and more proactive for Minneapolis residents. He wants to make sure that when tacklingbudget cuts, youth services aren’t the first to go.
Those are admittedly citywide concerns, he said. And while those might make him a good fit as an at-large commissioner, he said the already-announced candidates for those three seats have similar views to his. The same doesn’t count for Fine.
“I think I offer a lot of contrast,” Bourn said.
He said he is concerned about the way the recently-formed Lake Harriet concession Citizen Advisory Committee came to be. At one point, commissioners were a vote away from approving never-before-seen plans that would have committed the board to constructing a new building near the band shell. Citizens cried foul, and eventually Fine and District 4 Commissioner Tracy Nordstrom recommended gathering more citizen input before taking any further steps.
“It took a lot of pushback to get the input the community deserves,” Bourn said.
He said the same goes for Lake Calhoun. If any more changes come to that area, citizens should be the first to know.
Bourn is seeking the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination at the May 16 convention.
For more information, go to www.bradbournforparks.org.