Lake Harriet committee will meet in August, September

A citizens’ advisory committee tasked with making recommendations on the future of the Lake Harriet concession will extend its meetings past July and into September.

The group originally was scheduled to get together just four times, with July 13 as its last date. But a majority of members said that to do their job right, they couldn’t rush the process. They are now expected to meet once in August and once in September.

Much of the committee’s time so far has been spent preparing surveys to gather input from a wide variety of stakeholders. Churches, churchgoers, trolley operators, nearby business associations and City Council members are all targeted, as well as lake visitors, who can expect on-site surveys in the coming weeks.

At their June 22 meeting, members got a financial overview of the concession from Don Siggelkow, who oversees concession contracts as a Park Board general manger. Lake Harriet, he said, gets more visitors than, for example, Lake Calhoun. But the concession’s revenue, which is entirely derived from a percentage of the operator’s profits, doesn’t show it.

In 2008, for example, the Harriet concession produced $38,619 in revenue for the Park Board. Calhoun-based Tin Fish, meanwhile, made $105,196.

Siggelkow said Harriet’s numbers should go up easily with higher-quality concessions. A new operator could bring in much more revenue, while Park Board expenditures on the concession would not be expected to change.

In other committee news, member Sarah Harris was expected to resign over time concerns. Harris, a Downtown-based consultant, had told the committee that she was set to launch a new business venture. 

It hasn’t been determined whether her Commissioner Bob Fine-appointed position will be filled. Commissioner Tracy Nordstrom, who said she had spoken with Fine, told the committee that there was some concern that too much work might already have been done for someone to start now.

The committee will next meet July 13 at the Linden Hills Recreation Center, 3100 43rd St. W. Updates on its work can be found here. Finalized documents from the committee are here.