March 14, 2007 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  3/14/07


Present:  Greg Benz, George Effrem, Rosemary Lundell, Barb Stevens, Mari Taffe, Todd Wildermuth, Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator)

Absent:  Dan Blackburn

Guest:  Rodgers Adams


Administrative Items

Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the February 14 WCNC meeting were approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Barb Stevens presented a report of 2006 WCNC expenses.  NRP expenses totaled $7,240.72.  WCNC received a CPED grant of $2,000 to cover the cost of mailings and the newsletter.  There are currently no outstanding bills.
  • Regarding Coordinator hours, Barb reported that Ahndi Fridell worked an average of 20-25 hours per month in 2006, but that it varied from month to month.  


Informal discussion about outreach

  • Rosemary Lundell reported that she had recruited a potential new board member.  Rosemary will invite her to attend our next WCNC Board meeting on April 10, 2007.  
  • The Board discussed the effort to outreach to rentals, including 3131 and 3150 Excelsior Blvd.  Do they have association meetings?  Perhaps send a letter to all condos.  We should put something on the front page of the newsletter – “We need you; we are awesome” as the basic message.
  • Greg Benz said that it is difficult in his building because it is mostly young professionals.  
  • Perhaps attend association meetings.
  • Todd said that in his building the association meets the same night as WCNC.  There is low attendance at the meeting.  They are condos, but many owners rent them out.
  • Rosemary suggested that we target condo conversions, perhaps using a separate letter. We could appeal to them as new homeowners.


Council Member Comments – Council Member Betsy Hodges was not present.


Chain of Lakes Coalition Update Todd Wildermuth

  • A meeting has been scheduled for April 12 at 7 p.m.  
  • MPRB commissioners Fine and Nordstrom, Lakes District manager Paul Hokeness and Lakes District Planner Alexander Zachary. The meeting is scheduled for 7 pm in the Bryant Square Park meeting room (31st and Bryant Ave. S.)
  • The purpose of the meeting is to set up an ongoing dialogue between neighborhood associations and the MPRB.


Bus Shelters: Lessons Learned

  • We should have done a feasibility study up front.  
  • It would be good to have a high level advocate like Gail Dorfman.  
  • Rosemary asked if there are any other locations where we could put the shelters.  Todd suggested that we might be able to use the design for future light rain transit on the Greenway.  
  • We will keep the design for possible future use.  Barb Stevens said she will bring the design to the April WCNC meeting.


Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Greg Benz was elected unanimously by the Board to be the WCNC representative to the Coalition.
  • Greg reported that he had attended a meeting of the Land Use and Transportation Committee and had attended a streetcar class.
  • Greg said that the streetcar lines have been narrowed down.  The Greenway is one potential line.  Lake Street is another alternative.  The north neighborhoods are concerned because they remember the greenness of the Greenway and they are also concerned about the LRT.  There were also concerns expressed at the meeting about the trail crossing Cedar Lake and the potential for traffic to back up there.  They may be able to solve that with a tunnel.  
  • There are currently 3 potential plans.
  • Rodgers Adams from Lakepoint said that CIDNA is divided on the question of whether to use Kenilworth or the Greenway.  They may be able to extend the tunnel beyond the canal to protect them from noise.  To get across the channel they would use a cut and cover tunnel.  Rodgers said that Council Member Lisa Goodman believes that many people are pinning their hopes on a trolley, but that it is much more likely to be light rail.  
  • LRT is a less green solution and less likely to get federal funding.  The LRT is ten years out.  
  • There is opposition to buses on the Greenway.
  • A bridge is currently being built over Hiawatha.  The bridge goes to the north side of 28th.  Crossing 28th may be worse.


Environment Committee – Todd Wildermuth, Chair

  • Todd reported that he has not been able to connect with Bob Fine.  (Note:  After the meeting, Todd was able to connect with Bob and he gave him the name of Judd Rietkerk as the planner we should work with on the West Calhoun shoreline restoration project.)
  • Todd reported that he had looked into Minnehaha Creek Watershed District grants for this year.  There were 9 grants this year.  We should apply for the MCWD grant in the fall.  Could apply for a grant for pier or for shoreline erosion.  
  • The Environment Committee will look into grant opportunities, including MCWD and possible DNR grants.


Midtown Greenway Spring Clean Up – Earth Day, Saturday, April 21, 2007

  • Mari Taffe reported that we need to update the 6 signs the week before the event.  We will also put a notice in the April issue of the WCNC newsletter.  
  • Bags and gloves come from the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  
  • Mari will contact Theresa Nelson at the Greenway regarding the issue of garbage pick up.  After last year’s clean up, someone set fire to the garbage.  We want to avoid that happening again.
  • There was a question about whether April 21 is also Arbor Day and if that would conflict with the clean up.  Apparently Arbor Day activities will be held in the Hiawatha area, on the new section of the Greenway on the east side of Hiawatha, behind Target.


April WCNC Newsletter

  • The Board expressed an interest in redesigning the format of the WCNC newsletter and possibly changing the name in the future.  


Neighborhood Google Group

  • We would like to increase the use of the West Calhoun list.  For now we will limit it to neighborhood announcements from WCNC and adjoining neighborhoods.  We should keep the copy short and sweet.  Greg Benz is the moderator.  He will add Rhea to the lists.  


Ice Out

  • Mari took everyone’s vote for Ice Out Day on Lake Calhoun.  The prize is 2 cones or sundaes at Ben and Jerry’s.  Todd Wildermuth offered to sponsor the prizes this year.


WCNC Coordinator Contract

  • The Board discussed Rhea’s Cooordinator contract/letter of agreement.  The consensus of the group was to write the contract for up to 240 hours per year.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Next meeting, the WCNC Annual Meeting, will be held Tuesday, May 8, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. in the cooking classroom at Whole Foods Market.

February 14, 2007 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes 2/14/07


Present:  George Effrem, Barb Stevens, Mari Taffe, Todd Wildermuth, Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator)

Absent:  Greg Benz, Dan Blackburn, Rosemary Lundell

Guests:  Bob Fine, Betsy Hodges, Kari Oquist


Treasurer’s report

No report this month.  Barb Stevens reported that account balances were the same as last month.


Council Member Comments – Betsy Hodges

  • The Ward Breakfast will be held Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 8:00 a.m., at Pearson’s.
  • The In-fill Housing proposal is moving ahead.  The goal is to continue to encourage development, while placing limits on the floor area ratio (size of structure on the lot).  There will probably be a public meeting in late February or March.  The earliest it will come before the full Council for consideration is April 27.
  • There is serious talk about a merger of the Minneapolis Public Library with Hennepin County.  Betsy’s committee has not yet weighed in on this.  Details are being hashed out.  The alternative is to close 3-6 more libraries in the coming years.
  • Betsy could not comment on the stadium issue.       


Chain of Lakes Coalition – Todd Wildermuth

  • No update.  Dan Woychick is trying to come up with a way for the Park Board to meet more frequently with neighborhood groups.  The group is still alive.


Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Greg Benz is willing to act as representative.  Need quorum to make it official.


Bob Fine, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner

  • Bob said that the Lake Calhoun Master Plan has stalled because planning staff is currently overloaded.  Work on the plan should begin this year.  Neighborhood associations will be contacted early in the process to get their input.  
  • Time frame for fishing dock/pier and stop signs is probably 2008 at the earliest.  MPRB is currently buying permanent docks that they can float on the lake in the winter.  There is a 2-year payback on the investment.  Bob will find out what it would take to get the dock project going.  He said that Lakes District Manager Paul Hokeness has some latitude on budgetary items.  It is possible that WCNC could contribute to the dock.  Bob said that one of the Lake Harriet docks was funded through a grant, possibly from the DNR.  
  • Bob gave an update on the Parade Stadium development, which would include a possible stadium, an event center with catering (a revenue stream for MPRB) and indoor water park.
  • WCNC has approx. $40,000 in Phase I NRP funds to spend on shoreline restoration at Lake Calhoun.  The area is roughly from 32nd to Rose Lane. There was a conversation about this three years ago, but the planner is no longer with the Park Board.  Bob will find out who we should talk to at the Park Board and if there was any preliminary work done by the previous planner.  Todd will follow up with Bob in ten days.  WCNC may be able to apply for a Minnehaha Creek Watershed District grant in the fall.
  • Pond Hockey was moved to Nokomis this year.  It seemed to work better there.     


Other Business

  • Discussed possible letter of agreement/contract with new WCNC Coordinator Rhea Sullivan.  Todd recommended to make it as simple as possible and to set the maximum number of hours per year.  Barb will look into the number of hours Ahndi worked over the past two years.  Start date will be February 1, 2007; length of time: 2 years.
  • Ward 13 Summit Update – Todd Wildermuth attended the meeting.  Discussion centered on the City’s Community Engagement Report.  The group asked for more time to review the report.  Todd felt the report did not set up a firm process for community engagement.
  • An Environmental Committee will convene.  Members will include Todd Wildermuth, Kari Oquist and Barb Stevens.
  • Stop signs – WCNC has petitioned for stop signs at these three locations: Lake Calhoun Executive Center, W. 32nd Street and West 36th Street.  Could use alternative methods of traffic calming, including speed bumps or narrowing.
  • Next newsletter in April 2007.  Possible topics:  1) Focus on shoreline, 2) Watering for Community Garden at Greenway access point, 3) Annual meeting in May, 4) Midtown Greenway Cleanup.


Meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.


Next meeting will be held Tuesday, March 14, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the cooking classroom at Whole Foods Market.