Parks update: Siggelkow steps down

Long-time Park Board official steps down

Don Siggelkow plans to leave the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board after 13 years serving as a top-level administrator.

Siggelkow’s last day will be Oct. 7, at which time he will begin, pending final Park Board approval, a one-year, $80,000 contract with the Park Board to help out with in progress real estate transactions, grants and projects.

It’s a professional services agreement that did not go out to bid and was approved Sept. 21 by a Park Board committee unanimously and without discussion.

Siggelkow’s contract will pay him $80 an hour, with a maximum of $80,000 a year. Superintendent Jayne Miller will have the option to renew that contract for a second year.

“My view was this was an opportunity for us to continue to utilize his skills that are very unique and really needed in the organization, help me transition with him leaving the organization for up to a two-year period at this point, and have some cost savings,” Miller said.

Siggelkow’s annual salary was $125,000 plus benefits. Miller said Siggelkow’s position, assistant superintendent of development, will remain vacant for the near future, but did not say if she would fill it once Siggelkow’s contract ends.

“I believe that we can operate and manage with four superintendents instead of five,” Miller said. “In essence, I am saving half of his salary and fringe benefits by doing this. So, in my view it’s a win-win for the organization, and a win for Don. He wants to go out in the private sector.”

As to why the $80,000 contract didn’t go out to bid, Miller said it’s commonplace for professional service agreements to be awarded without a bidding process. She used Mary deLaittre as an example. deLaittre was recently given a no-bid contract to be the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative project manager because she also managed the design process prior to her contract.

“It didn’t make any sense to bring anyone new in, because Mary had been working on the project and knew all the nuances and would be able to carry it through,” Miller said.” It’s the same kind of thing.”

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Park Board to appoint citizens to a Brownie Lake advisory group

Brownie Lake, the little body of water at the north end of the Chain of Lakes, is in store for some tender loving care and the Park Board is looking for residents to help decide how to spend state and federal money for improvements.

Regular cyclists who use the Cedar Lake Parkway Trail know that the path is not only narrower than the rest of the Grand Rounds, but it’s also cracked, jagged and bumpy.  

The banks of the lake are eroding, and invasive species and storm water runoff are posing a threat to the lake’s character and quality, according to a Park Board press release.

The Park Board and other community groups plan to appoint a 15-member Citizens Advisory Committee that will help to gather input and make a recommendation on the best way to improve the area.

Community members interested in applying for an appointment can do so online at minneapolisparks.org or to have it faxed or mailed, call 230-6472. The application deadline is Oct. 11.

The project will get $600,000 from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, a sales tax passed by Minnesota voters in 2008. About 14 percent of the tax revenue is dedicated to parks and trails of regional significance.

Brownie Lake is also in line to get $500,000 in federal transportation funding for the bicycle-pedestrian trail, but than money wouldn’t be available until 2013 and is contingent upon Congressional approval of a Transportation Enhancement bill.

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]