August 11, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

FINAL Minutes: 8/11/09

 

Present:   Barb Stevens (Treasurer), Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator), Mari Taffe (Chair), Michael Wagner (Vice Chair)

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the July 14 meeting were approved with one correction.  “PVC” should read “PUC”.

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported $5,854.19 and $481.09 in the development account.  

 

Monthly Updates

 

Council Member comments

  • The Council Member was not present.

 

Lakes District Council Update/MPRB
  • Barb Stevens attended the July meeting.  She reported that Tim Brown of the MPRB gave a water quality report about the City lakes.  Water levels are at their lowest since 1989 due to a lack of rainfall.  Water quality is good due to less run off.
  • The milfoil harvester cannot get through the channel between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles because the water level is too low.  The MPRB currently has two harvesters.  The City limits how much milfoil can be harvested.  It can only be harvested to facilitate recreation, not for aesthetic reasons.  
  • Lake Calhoun Planning:  We need to send a “Letter of Connection” by October 1 to tell about our organization’s history with the lakes and hopes for the future of the Lake.  That will be on the agenda for our September 8 meeting.
  • Dan Woychick, Coordinator of the Lakes District Council, will be looking for a replacement next year.  He sets the agenda and writes the meeting notes.
  • Next meeting:  October 22 from 7-8:30 p.m.  Barb will continue to attend the quarterly meetings of the Lakes District Council.  She found it very informative.  
  • Regarding the MPRB race this fall – Tracy Nordstrom is not running.  Bob Fine is running “At Large.”
  • Barb noted that she got to see Regional Park usage data at the meeting.  Lake Calhoun is a draw for everyone.  There is a great deal of ethnic diversity in terms of lake usage.  
  • Mari Taffe reported that she accidentally sent an e-mail to Paul Hokeness rather than Paul Domholt regarding scheduling the mulching of new trees by volunteers.  She will connect with Paul Domholt.  Michael Wagner mentioned that he may be able to get volunteers from his building.  

 

Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Michael Wagner reported that there will be a Progressive Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 28.  There will be 2-3 stops on the Greenway and dinner will be in the banquet room of the Chicago Lofts.
  • Hiawatha Xcel Project:  Michael reported that groups can register to be an intervener in the process.  It is going through an administrative law judge.  MGC has a lawyer and a blog was started: MidtownPower.com.  This is a big issue that could affect policy on how power is routed.
  • Concern about at-grade crossings where streets cross the MGC.  They need to make it consistent across the greenway.  The crossings need to be marked consistently and should have the right of way, the MGC believes.  There have been collisions between bikes and cars at crossings in St. Louis Park and Hopkins.  Where there are two lanes there is a double threat — one lane of traffic may yield, but the other doesn’t.  The policy for marking these crossings needs to be consistent City wide and county wide on all bike trails.
  • Safety Program:  There is a police presence on the Greenway in the evenings.  It’s going well.  Probably won’t continue in winter.  There is a car patrol in the winter.  They drive down the greenway.  The 5th Precinct has a lot of bike cops.  
  • SW LRT:  Michael reported that a lot of information has recently been released regarding route planning for the SW LRT line, including estimates of cost and ridership.  A group from MGC will be meeting with City of Minneapolis Council Members, including Betsy Hodges.  The MGC supports route 3A that runs down the Kenilworth trail.  There was discussion about this.  Mari and Barb were concerned how this would affect the pristine nature of the Kenilworth Trail and the biking and walking trails.  Michael said that there will be a lot of discussion about how to mitigate noise in this area of urban forest.  It needs to be done well to keep the area quiet and residential.  Also, cost is a major issue.  In order to receive Federal funding, they need to hit a particular cost point per rider.  Michael stated that the Kenilworth route is probably the only route that would get Federal funding and that the project won’t happen without it

 

       Southwest Transitway (LRT)

  • This fall station planning will begin.  Noise mitigation will happen after the preferred route is decided.  
  • Network alignment – Michael reported that light rail doesn’t work well in highly congested urban areas.  The proposed trolley on the Midtown Greenway that could make frequent stops would be a better fit for the Uptown area.  In terms of network alignment, Metro Transit will run this system and will decide how the proposed lines match up with the current bus lines.  
  • There will be a West Lake station and a Cedar station.  It will end at the new ball park.  There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about it recently.
  • There will continue to be a separate path on the Kenilworth trail for biking and walking.  Currently there is a freight line on the Kenilworth corridor with one north and one south track.  The line is operated by BNSF (Hennepin County Railroad Authority).  2015 is the projected end date for implementation of the SW Transitway.
  • Rhea and Mari will attend the public meeting on August 18 that begins at 6:30 p.m. at St. Louis Park City Hall.  Michael plans to attend on August 19.
  • Rhea, Mari and Michael will meet on August 20, after the community meetings, to discuss the proposed routes before Michael meets with Betsy Hodges.

 

Other Business

 

Zoning
  • A couple of street vacations on property adjacent to the Midtown Greenway have recently been sent to the neighborhood.  Both street vacation applications were denied because both properties abut the greenway and may have possible future uses.  
  • This seemed a good opportunity to revisit our WCNC Zoning policies.  When Rhea receives a notice of a request for a variance or any other zoning notice, she will forward it to the Board.
  • WCNC will decide issues on a case-by-case basis.  If we agree with what the city is proposing, we will not take a position.
  • WCNC can decide to write a letter to oppose a variance request.
  • WCNC could send a representative to the public hearing if we feel strongly on a zoning issue.
  • WCNC Board members will go to look at a site before discussing a potential zoning variance issue.
  • Rhea will try to find the final version of our West Calhoun Guidelines for Development and forward them to Michael.  

 

WCNC Roster

  • Rhea Sullivan brought an updated WCNC roster for review.  Rhea will correct Barb’s e-mail address and send out the updated roster.

 

Weeding at the Access Point
  • Mari reported that Tree Trust volunteers recently weeded at the Midtown Greenway Access Point.

 

Fall Wavelength Newsletter
  • We will have a newsletter in October.  We will finalize details at our September meeting.  This issue will include:
    • SW LRT updates
    • The Bakken energy initiatives/car grant
    • Neighborhood Policing plan – Tom Thompson CCP/SAFE
    • Facebook page link
    • New businesses – Including Wakame Asian Bistro

 

Website

      • Add Board photos and bios to our website.  
      • Can add Greg Benz photos with appropriate credits.

 

Membership

      • Barb has a potential new member, Christy, who may come to the September meeting.  

 

Action Items for September meeting

      • October Wavelength newsletter content
      • “Letter of connection” re: Lake Calhoun planning
      • Photos and bios for website – Rhea will bring camera

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

 

The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator

June 9, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  6/09/09

 

Present:   George Effrem, Barb Stevens (Treasurer), Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator), Mari Taffe (Chair), Michael Wagner (Vice Chair), Todd Wildermuth

Guests:    Rodgers Adams

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • The February 10, 2009 and May 12, 2009 minutes were approved as read.

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that bills are currently paid up.  She reported a current balance of $6,242.19 in the NRP account (after paying the Coordinator) and $481.09 in the development account.  She also filed the new form 990 that the Federal government now requires.

 

Monthly Updates

 

Council Member comments

  • The Council Member was not present.

 

Lakes District Council Update
  • We still need a new representative for the Lakes District Council to replace Todd Wildermuth who is moving to Salt Lake City at the end of June.  
  • It was suggested that the Board take turns attending the meeting – a “tag team” approach.  The Lakes District Council meets quarterly.  The next meeting is Thursday, July 23; location TBA.  
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that Dan Woychick is stepping down as the organizer of the Council.  They are looking for someone new to coordinate.

 

Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Congratulations to Michael Wagner, who was elected the West Calhoun representative to the MGC.  
  • One big issue for the MGC currently is Xcel Energy’s proposed high voltage transmission lines along the Midtown Greenway. There is strong opposition to this from the MGC.  There will be a hearing in June.  
  • Michael reported that he will be a member of the Transit and Green Space Committees.  MGC has slightly changed their stance on the proposed trolley lines on the greenway.  They are supporting the trolley option and opposing light rail.
  • The MGC is working to keep the greenway safe.  There are evening rides on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday to raise awareness.  Minneapolis Police on bikes ride on the greenway at night.  There have been no incidents since November of last year.

 

       Light Rail Transit (LRT)

  • Rodgers Adams reported that he recently attended a meeting regarding the proposed LRT lines.  The majority of people present didn’t like the idea of the LRT going on the Kenilworth Trail.
  • They are doing a number of studies this summer including a tech report, a freight study (Kenilworth is currently used as a freight route, though it was supposed to be a temporary program), and Park & Ride studies at all stations.  The studies should be done in late July and will be followed by public meetings.
  • Rodgers stated that they know that there are access problems at the West Calhoun station.  There is only one street that connects from the South and there is difficult access to the area because of its location.  How will buses connect to the line? LRT is a feeder for the bus lines.  How will they handle cars at the station?  Without a Park & Ride, people tend to park on adjacent streets to use the LRT.  They say they are going to ‘work on it.’  Rodgers advised that we keep abreast of this.  We need to provide input on their plans before it becomes an engineering plan.

 

WCNC Officer Elections

Mari Taffe agreed to continue as Board Chair and Barb Stevens will continue as Treasurer.  Barb nominated Michael Wagner to be Vice Chair.  The motion was seconded by Todd and carried unanimously.  

 

Other Business

 

Adopt A Greenway
  • Mari reported that it is time to decide if we want to continue to adopt the greenway.  The fee has increased to $50.  We are responsible for the area from Chowen Avenue to Dean Parkway.  In adopting the greenway, we agree to have two clean-ups a year.  We would plan to have a fall clean-up and a spring clean-up and publicize it in our Fall newsletter.  The Board voted to continue.  Barb will write a check to MGC.

 

Tree Tour

  • Paul Domholt, MPRB Forestry, will be taking a group from the Board on a tree tour on Tuesday, June 16 at 8:30 a.m.  They will look at plans for future planting in the neighborhood.  Barb noted that there are no gator bags on the new trees that were planted.  They will discuss this with Paul.  Todd noted that we have funding available if we need to cover the cost of the bags.
West Calhoun on Facebook
  • Rhea reported that a number of neighborhoods now have groups on Facebook as a way to connect with residents.  We might want to take advantage of this social networking opportunity.  Michael said that he felt it would be a good way to outreach to neighbors.  The Board agreed that it was worth trying.  Rhea and Michael will work together on the Facebook page.

 

Photos
  • We need a summer photo for the website.  Michael and Barb have agreed to send a photo(s) to post.  Greg Benz also does a lot of photography.  Michael will check with him.  We could update the website photo more often.

 

Neighborhood Coordinator Updates
  • OverExposure Photo Project – Rhea reported that OverExposure is looking for Minneapolis neighborhoods to participate in its “What’s New” photography project.  This is the last year of a 3-year project to document Minneapolis neighborhoods.  The cost is a donation of $200 and it would require that someone from the neighborhood association act as a liaison with the photographer.  The consensus was that though it seems like an interesting opportunity, the neighborhood is already well-documented photographically.
  • Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) – The date of the meeting and election has changed to June 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Van Cleve Park.  Barb will represent us.  
  • Live MSP website – An article in the NRP Link this month noted that a number of neighborhoods, including West Calhoun, are not yet represented on the LiveMSP website.  They requested a detailed profile of West Calhoun.  Rhea agreed to do it.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

 

The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, July 14, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.  (Rhea will be unable to attend.)

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator

May 12, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  5/12/2009

 

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

Guests:    Rodgers Adams, Brian Elliott (District Director for Keith Ellison), Betsy Hodges (Council Member), Tim Jensen (Mike Otto Construction), David Rhees (Executive Director of The Bakken)

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • Approval of the minutes of the February 10, 2009 meeting was tabled because we did not have copies of the minutes.
  • The March 14, 2009 minutes were approved as read.

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that she received an NRP check for $5,559.31.  Bills are paid up to date, including the newsletter.  She reported a current balance of $6,938.77 in the NRP account and $481.09 for the development account.

 

Monthly Updates

 

Keith Ellison’s Office

 

  • Brian Elliott, the District Director for Keith Ellison, reported that their office is located in North Minneapolis at Penn Avenue North and Plymouth Avenue.  They deal with many issues, including family reunification, Veteran’s benefits, Social Security, Medicare, immigration issues and more.  They can be reached at 612-522-1212.
  • Keith Ellison serves on the Financial Services Committee, which deals with issues of credit card and mortgage debt, foreclosures, etc.  The anti-predatory lending bill passed last week.  This protects renters from being evicted when homes are foreclosed.  
  • Keith also serves on the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee.  He recently visited Saudi Arabia and brought with him 11 Minnesota businesses to market their services there.  
  • The economic stimulus bill will include things for individuals:
  • Social Security/Vets will get a $250 one time increase
  • Funds for home improvements for low income people
  • Tax rebate for improving the energy efficiency of a home
  • Pay 2/3 of COBRA for 9 months.  
  • Small changes in policy can have a big effect.  Brian reported that recently Keith helped change a Medicare law that saved Hennepin County $1 million last year.

 

Council Member comments

  • Council Member Betsy Hodges reported that we are approaching the end of the legislative session and a lot of the big-ticket items like LGA are on the table now.  
  • No pension reform bill has been introduced this session, but issues will be addressed this summer.  The Downtown Business Council, Building Owners & Managers and Professional Employees support pension reform.  
  • There is a lot of construction going on at the moment, including 2nd and Marquette, Crosstown and Lyndale Avenue.
  • David Rhees asked about the plug-in electric vehicles that the City and County are thinking of purchasing.  Betsy recommended he contact Dan Huff.  The Bakken is looking for an electric vehicle.
  • Regarding SW LRT, they have not decided the route beyond West Calhoun.  Either route would come through West Calhoun.  Rodgers Adams said that there will be public meetings this summer.
  • Betsy has not had a chance to consider possible ideas for the $15,000 that WCNC has for Crime and Safety.  We will send her an e-mail after the legislative session is over.  
  • Ben Hecker has handled the complaints about skeet shooting at the Minikahda Club.  She will ask him for an update.
  • Barb Stevens reported that the street sweeping was done very poorly this year.  A lot of debris remained in the street or was swept up onto the sidewalk.  Betsy will follow up on that.  She said that we could also call 311 to complain.

 

Lakes District Council Update
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that he attended the meeting of the Lakes District Council two weeks ago.  
  • A Citizen’s Advisory was set up to address the issues surrounding food service (and possible expansion) of the Lake Harriet refectory.  Matt Perry chairs this group.
  • They are trying to broaden the Lakes District Council.  A number of neighborhoods are not near a lake and so they do not participate.  
  • They are still planning to work on a “Lake Calhoun Master Plan,” though there is no money and no defined end product.  There will be two public meetings, the first of which will be in June.  The two components will be:    1) A presentation from the MPRB of the 100 year history of Lake Calhoun and 2) History of plans for the lake.
  • The MPRB has taken a lot of heat about the South Parking Lot improvements.  The windsurfers are concerned and have complained about how the project affects their needs.
  • MPRB has no capital budget this year.  Emerald Ash Borer is coming and that will have a huge financial impact.  
  • Todd will be moving in July, so he will not be able to attend the next meeting of the Council (in August).  We need to find a replacement for the next meeting.

 

Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Mari Taffe will contact Tim Springer.  Michael Wagner (who was elected to the Board later in the meeting) would like to represent West Calhoun.  

 

WCNC Board Member Elections

George Effrem, Barb Stevens, Mari Taffe and Todd Wildermuth agreed to run for re-election.  Todd nominated Michael Wagner to the Board.  Michael accepted the nomination.  George made a motion to accept the slate as nominated for the 2009-2010 Board of Directors.  Barb seconded the motion.  The motion carried.

 

Other Business

 

NRP Contract Amendment
  • Rhea Sullivan reported that in taking a closer look at our remaining NRP Phase I funds, she discovered that we have $23,700 remaining uncontracted in our Strategy #10  – Consulting/Administration.  Carsten Slostad, our NRP Specialist, requested that the Board vote on amending the current contract to add in the $23,700.  By adding those funds to the contract, the $4,400.63 (the amount we were over budget) would be replenished, reinstating funds in 3 strategies: Trail Access Upgrades, Buckthorn Removal and Bus Shelter.  This would leave approximately $19,300 available, which should cover administrative expenses for the next few years.
  • Todd Wildermuth moved that we add $23,700 to our existing administrative contract.  Barb seconded the motion.  The motion carried.  Rhea will let Carsten know that the Board approved the motion.

 

BLEND Award

  • Fulton Neighborhood Association has opened up their BLEND Award to all of the Ward 13 neighborhoods this year.  The award recognizes projects remodeling and construction projects that “blend” into the current neighborhood.  
  • If we participate, we would be asked to contribute $75-100 to help cover administrative costs, and we would need to submit a candidate (preferably with a design background) to sit as a juror on the selection committee.
  • The Board discussed the opportunity, but decided to pass this year.  There are only 32 homes in the neighborhood and there have been few remodeling projects since 2004 (and of those we are not sure that any fit with the criteria for the BLEND award.)

 

NCEC Election Process
  • Thanks to Todd who attended the meeting on April 19 where they determined the selection process for the NCEC.  
  • We need an elector and an alternate to participate in the selection process.  The Citywide candidate forum will be held June 3, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. at Van Cleve Park.  Votes must be cast by 4:00 p.m. on June 16.
  • Barb Stevens agreed to be the elector; Michael Wagner will be the alternate.  Rhea will notify the NCR Department.

 

Earth Day
  • Mari and Rhea and Rhea’s daughter Brianna staffed the table at Lake Calhoun on Earth Day, April 18.  Aric Rudolph forgot to notify us that there would be a huge contingent of Girl Scout and Brownie troops showing up.  We sent the girls to Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles.  Our count for the day was 200 people.

 

Neighborhood Coordinator Updates
  • Tree Update:  Rhea reported that Paul Domholt notified her that the MPRB has received $50,000 in grant funds, which could be used to cover the tree planting in West Calhoun that we are doing this year.  The Park Board also passed an action allocating $500,000 for stump removal.  This would cover the stumps that were removed last fall.  So all of the tree work done to date would be covered under these two initiatives.  
  • Paul suggests that he would like someone from the neighborhood to go on a tour with him at the end of June to look at what has been planted and the stumps that have been removed and see where additional trees could be planted.  He said that there might still be some stumps.  He has not addressed the “soccer field” area because of the uncertainty about what was going to happen with that area.  He mentioned that it might make sense to get a Park Board Planner involved in looking at that Park area. He said that this year’s tree planting should be done by the end of next week.
  • Mari Taffe, Barb Stevens and Michael Wagner would like to participate in the tree tour.  Rhea will coordinate a time/date that works for all.

 

 Update from The Bakken

  • Executive Director David Rhees thanked the Board for including articles from The Bakken in the last issue of our newsletter.  He said they got a great volunteer from the newsletter.
  • David reported that The Bakken wants to expand education about renew-able energy and conservation through exhibits, outreach and efforts outside in the natural environment surrounding the building.  One effort is a monument-style sign that would be lit at night with LED lights using solar power.  The solar panel would be located in the wetland.  The sign will likely require a conditional use permit.
  • Other ideas include: interpreting The Bakken’s green roof with signage, a binocular similar to the one at the Stone Arch bridge to observe the area, a biomass garden and a solar-powered fountain.

 

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

 

The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator

April 14, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  4/14/2009

 

Present:   Barb Stevens, Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator), Todd Wildermuth

Guests:    Rodgers Adams, Betsy Hodges (Council Member), Carsten Slostad (NRP Specialist

Absent:     George Effrem, Rosemary Lundell, Mari Taffe

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • Approval of the minutes of the February 10, 2009 meeting was tabled due to low Board member turn out.  

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that she has received our CPED grant for $2,000 and it has been deposited.  She also paid the insurance.  She reported a current balance of $2,156.66 for the NRP account and $481.09 for the development account.

 

Monthly Updates

 

Council Member comments

  • Council Member Betsy Hodges reported that she is proud that she has accomplished a couple of things that were of great concern when she took office.   Because of the concerns about infill housing, she worked to change the zoning code so that the size of the home is tied to the size of the lot.  She also worked hard to see that neighbors are notified when a demolition permit is applied for.  She also has closed the loophole that allowed builders to tear down most of a home and still call it a remodel.
  • Another item of great concern are the LGA cuts and the City’s obligation to pension and closed pension funds.  Betsy has been working on this every day.  The City has an obligation to two closed pension funds and the state wants us to take on a third.  The result of this would be to double residents’ property taxes each year.  She is working hard to resolve the anomalies about how the funds are dispersed.  For example, the payment amount is currently based on what people are now paid for the same work.  The City is proposing to merge the two funds with the state plan, which would help resolve such issues.
  • Xerxes Avenue, from Lake Calhoun to 50th Street, and West 44th Street (in Linden Hills) will be resurfaced this summer.   
  • A Citizen’s Advisory has been put together to discuss (over the next year) the options for food at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.
  • Betsy reported that she did get one call about skeet shooting at the Minikahda Club.  She will let us know how that conversation turns out.

 

Lakes District Council Update
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that he would attend the next meeting of the Lakes District Council.  He will send an e-mail to let folks know that he will need a replacement in the future (as he is moving out of the neighborhood in July).

 

Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Greg Benz is stepping down from his position as neighborhood representative to the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  Michael Wagner volunteered to replace him, but he was turned down because the Coalition is seeking to increase the diversity of their Board and would like to encourage women and minorities.  Todd suggested that if Michael is the only one interested in the position, that the MGC should come out and recruit someone themselves.

 

Other Business

 

Carsten Slostad/NRP: Review of NRP strategies and funding issues
  • Carsten reported that WCNC only has one contract open – contract 14728, which includes a number of strategies (a few of which still had funds remaining), including administrative funds (strategy 10), Trail Access Upgrade, Buckthorn Removal and Bus Shelter.  Barb recently submitted a CORF (reimbursement request) and Carsten audited the contract and found that it did not include enough funds to cover current expenses (about $2,700 short).
  • Carsten will be mailing a check for $5,559.31, which will pay up to the full amount of the contract, which is $109,251.  This leaves Strategy #10 $4,400.63 over budget and means that there is currently no other funding available for administration.
  • We need to clean this up by writing a plan modification and adding more funds for administration.  Carsten recommends closing some Phase I NRP strategies with smaller dollar amounts and evaluating all of the strategies that remain.  We also need to determine if we want to replenish the funds for any of the three strategies that he just depleted from contract 14728 (Trail Access Upgrade, Buckthorn Removal and Bus Shelter).
  • The plan modification can be approved by a Board vote if it is under $25,000.  He recommended that we extend the time to performance of the contract to the end of 2011.
  • Carsten also recommended that we review the needs of the neighborhood.  Are there issues we could address?
  • We should also consider Phase II.  In order to begin planning for Phase II, we need to have 95% of our Phase I funds contracted or have expended 85% of our Phase I funds.  We have currently expended 49%.  Phase II requires that 70% be invested in housing.  We could consider a home improvement loan fund, which would return program income.  We may want to consider meeting with the East Calhoun neighborhood (ECCO) who are now working on their Phase II planning.  Nancy Ward is the President.
  • Carsten mentioned that we still have $15,000 in funds in a Crime & Safety strategy.  Todd asked Betsy Hodges if she had any ideas about what is needed.  She said she would think about it and get back to us.
  • As soon as the Board is able to vote on what to include in the plan modification, Rhea will write a letter to confirm the plan modification and Carsten will make the necessary changes to the contract.

 

Earth Day Clean Up – Saturday, April 18, 9:30 a.m.

  • The Earth Day Clean Up is this Saturday.  Mari and Rhea will staff the table, and may also be joined by Mari’s husband, Kurt, and Rhea’s daughter Brianna.
  • Volunteers should show up at West Calhoun Parkway and West 32nd Street.  
  • Mari will handle picking up the donated refreshments and will find out if we need to pick up the garbage bags and gloves.

 

Lake Calhoun Ice Out Contest
  • The official ice out date for 2009 was April 8.
  • Meg Forney was the winner.  She was notified that she won a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake.  Other entrants were also notified.

 

Neighborhood Coordinator Updates
  • Rhea will contact Paul Domholt regarding the tree contract (which we have not seen yet) and Alexander Zachary about options for traffic calming at Lake Calhoun.
  • The next meeting regarding the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission will be held on Sunday, April 19 from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Northeast Armory.  Todd Wildermuth will check his calendar and try to make the meeting.  Rhea gave him the meeting materials.
  • Chris Lundeen from The Bakken let us know that we are confirmed for meeting space at The Bakken through the end of 2009.  

 

 MGM Liquor

  • Todd reported that MGM Liquor would be moving to their new location on either Sunday, April 19 or April 26, 2009.
  • MGM did not respond to Todd’s messages asking to write an article about the store for the newsletter.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

 

The next WCNC Board meeting (our annual meeting and elections) will be held Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator

February 10, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  2/10/2009

 

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

Guests:    Rodgers Adams, Nirmal Krishnamoorthy

Absent:     George Effrem, Rosemary Lundell

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the January 13, 2009 meeting were approved as read.

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that there is $481.09 in the NRP Development account and $1,590.87 in the NRP account.  Post Net billed us too early and as a result we are paid up through August 2010.   Barb is almost ready to submit the CPED Citizen Participation grant and a CORF.

 

Monthly Updates

 

Council Member comments

  • Council Member Betsy Hodges was not present.

 

Lakes District Council Update
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that the Lakes District Council met on January 22, 2009.
  • The City of Minneapolis has stopped planting ash trees because of Emerald Ash Borer.  Forestry Director Ralph Sievert made a presentation about the threat at the Lakes District Council meeting.  The outbreak began in Detroit, Michigan and has been spreading more quickly than normal, mainly through firewood.  Ash is a common boulevard tree.  There are about 38,000 ash trees on boulevards in Minneapolis.  
  • Bob Fine and Tracy Nordstrom announced that they would hold a public meeting regarding the Lake Calhoun Master Plan, likely in March.  Todd reported that this announcement turned into a lot of complaints about how the South Parking Lot repair project is being handled.  The Met Council is funding the work because this is a regional park.  The MPRB claims it is just maintenance, but in addition to scraping and repaving the parking lot, they will be adding rain gardens to help keep runoff out of the lake and also some amenities like picnic tables.  A group of windsurfers attended the meeting to complain because the project will cut down their rigging area and reduce the number of available parking spaces.  They are concerned because they were not asked to give their input on the project.  
  • Todd said that he sent an e-mail to Tracy Nordstrom stating that the MPRB does not have an appreciation for the fine level of detail that people want about projects that affect the lakes.  People do not want to lose the things that make this area special (and make it a metro-wide recreation destination.)  We seem to find out too late about important things.
  • Todd reported that the Lake Harriet concession is to be replaced.  Sea Salt was selected by the review panel, but they don’t want to provide ice cream and popcorn.  People feel that we need to have ice cream and popcorn at the lake.  It was suggested that a new building be built near the boat dock.  There may be a public meeting if they plan to build.  They would need to rehab the current concession space to make it workable for Sea Salt.   

 

Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Rodgers Adams gave an update on light rail from the CIDNA meeting.  He reported that two different suburban routes to a terminus in Eden Prairie will be studied, as will two different routes through Minneapolis. One Minneapolis route would go north between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles on the Kenilworth Trail. The other would go east along the Greenway, then north on or near Nicollet.
  • The original Nicollet proposal called for a shallow tunnel under Nicollet between the Greenway and Franklin Avenue, and a street-level route along the Nicollet Mall. That routing has been criticized because of the tunnel cost, impact on Eat Street restaurants during construction, the need to straighten the Mall, and the inability for trains to continue on along the Hiawatha Line to the airport or Central Corridor to St. Paul.
  • Two modifications to his original plan were proposed by City Council Member Ralph Remington, and those will be included in the study. The first is to run at street level between the Greenway and Franklin along Blaisdell and 1st Avenue, or along mid-block alleys parallel to Nicollet. The second modification would be to turn off the Mall onto 12th and 13th Streets, looping around the Garbage Burner to hook up with the Hiawatha and Central Corridor lines by the new Twins Stadium.
  • These options will be evaluated this year through an Environmental Impact statement.  The process should take about a year.
  • One option that Cher supported was the Kenilworth route that would serve the needs of the suburban commuters with a streetcar on the Midtown Greenway that would serve local people.

 

Other Business

 

Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission Meeting

  • There will be a meeting on February 21 to discuss the process for selecting the neighborhood representatives to the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission.  Todd Wildermuth is unable to attend.  Barb Stevens hopes to attend.

 

March Newsletter
  • Our Spring newsletter will be mailed by the end of March.  The article deadline will be Tuesday, March 10.  The newsletter will include:
    • April 18 Earth Day Clean-Up at Lake Calhoun
    • MGM Liquor Store article (Todd)
    • Minikahda Club article (Mari)
    • Vitamin Shoppe article (Rhea)
    • Ice out date with prize for winner
    • Tree planting & tree care; “Adopt A Tree”
    • Bakken’s Green Energy Initiative
  • Ice Out Date contest – Whoever guesses the date or closest to it wins a prize.  Rhea will contact Ben & Jerrys to see if they would be willing to donate a prize.  The winner will be determined based on the official record of ice out.  If more than one person guesses the correct date, we reserve the right to select the winner by drawing.
  • Earth Day – Rhea will look into getting free coffee again for the Earth Day Clean-Up.
  • Mari said that it will be our goal to have three newsletters this year in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

 

Tree Care Tips
  • Rhea reviewed tree care tips from Mary Nolte, the Fulton Environment Chair.  
  • It looks like all of the trees that will be planted in May 2009 are not adjacent to residences.  Lauren at Whole Foods said that they would water the trees that will be planted near Whole Foods.  We may want to ask Boulevard Gardens to help water the trees that will be planted near Jiffy Lube.  3140 Chowen is an apartment building.  
  • We will ask for people to adopt a tree in the March newsletter.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

 

The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.  Rhea will be unable to attend.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator

January 13, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes:  1/13/2009

 

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

Guests:    Rodgers Adams, Ben Hecker (Council Member Hodges’s aide), Julie Perrus (attorney M.G.M. Liquors), Paul Setter (President M.G.M. Liquors)

M.G.M. Liquor Stores Conditional Use Permit

  • M.G.M. Liquor Stores President, Paul Setter, and their attorney, Julie Perrus of Larkin and Hoffman, were present to answer questions about M.G.M.’s proposed move from Calhoun Village to the space adjacent to Whole Foods at Calhoun Commons.  M.G.M. will be subleasing the space from Whole Foods.  There will be a hearing on the conditional use permit on February 2nd with Zoning and Planning.
  • M.G.M. is requesting no variances.  They meet the parking requirements.  There was a traffic demand management study done when the property was originally developed which included a retail store in the space that M.G.M. will occupy, so the traffic should be what was originally expected of the development.  Paul Setter noted that currently there is a lot of traffic that moves between Whole Foods and M.G.M. across West Lake Street.  The move should reduce that traffic.
  • Whole Foods Manager Dan Blackburn is supportive of the move.  He feels that it will save their customers a trip and will allow Whole Foods to be more competitive with Trader Joe’s and Lunds, which have liquor stores nearby.
  • The main concerns of the Board were about how the store’s presence will increase traffic and congestion, especially on Market Plaza, which has become the main egress to Calhoun Commons.  
  • Rosemary Lundell suggested that they look at the timing of the left turn light that provides access to the parking lot from Excelsior Blvd.  If that light were timed differently, more traffic might be diverted off of Market Plaza.  Ben Hecker noted that he has brought up that light with the traffic planner a number of times, but he will bring it up to him again.  He said there are some issues with changing the timing of that light that affect the traffic flow on Excelsior.
  • Todd Wildermuth recommended that someone from M.G.M. should take the time to formally observe the traffic flow in and out of the parking lot after the store has opened.  They might want to consider if a sign should be added to increase safety, like “Do not block cross traffic” or “Watch for pedestrians.”  He noted that sometimes a small change can make a big difference in how traffic flows.

 

Administrative Items

 

Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the December 9, 2008 meeting were approved with one correction:  Rosemary Lundell noted that she had talked to someone who recommended that we talk to Steve, the Property Manager of 3430 List Place.  Rosemary agreed to contact Steve.

 

       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported that there is $481.09 in the NRP Development account and $1,830.87 in the NRP account.  The Post Net annual fee for the mailbox ($240) is currently due.  Barb will complete the Citizen Participation grant award paperwork for 2009.  She will also submit a CORF report to draw down more NRP funds.

Monthly Updates

 

Council Member comments

  • Council Member Aide Ben Hecker reported that the 2009 City Budget passed in December, but the city then lost 13 million in LGA funds.  The city is experiencing a budget shortfall and LGA will likely be cut again next year.  LGA is money from sales tax revenue and income tax revenue in Minneapolis that comes back to the city.  Ben said that residential taxes pay a much larger share of the city budget than they did ten years ago.  Mayor Rybak is planning to present an amended budget to the Council in February with cuts.  Everything is on the table.

 

Lakes District Council Update
  • The Lakes District Council’s quarterly meeting is coming up next month.  The Lake Calhoun Master Plan is on the agenda for the next meeting.
  • Todd Wildermuth reported that he met with Tracy Nordstrom and Bob Fine in December.  He said that there is still no money for a Lake Calhoun Master Plan.  Tracy and Bob wonder how to make people happy.  There is a lack of trust in the Park Board, aggravated by the activities of groups like Park Watch that stir up discontent.  
  • Tracy and Bob propose that we hold a big public meeting to talk about the list of things that need to be done at Lake Calhoun.   The Board discussed their concerns and they remain the same:
    • Traffic control on West Calhoun Parkway
    • Restore the fishing pier
    • Shoreline restoration/stabilization
  • Todd stated that he believes that in order to fund any improvements at Lake Calhoun, there needs to be an organization or coalition like Friends of the MPRB that seeks funds from businesses and residents near the lake.  The MPRB will not be providing funding or leadership to move forward on proposed improvements on the lake.  Todd said that he thinks they should consider drafting a capital improvement plan.
  • There was some discussion about why the Park Board cannot use the funds that we have to make some progress on our goals, like shoreline restoration.  We have offered funds in the past and have been turned down because the amounts weren’t large enough.  We wonder if there are possibly less expensive options to help address the problem of shoreline erosion.
  • Tracy e-mailed a summary/FAQ about the Parking Lot Project on the south side of Lake Calhoun.  Park Watch had stated that they thought this was the beginning of a sailing village.  The MPRB claims that it is simply maintenance of the lot and the addition of an entry plaza that would include an overlook for viewing the lake and downtown skyline.  The reconstruction would also change the relationship of the current bike and pedestrian paths.  
  • The Board was concerned that the FAQ mentions moving the West Calhoun Parkway right of way further from the shoreline.  Todd is going to ask Tracy and Bob about this.  

 

Other Business

 

NRP Resolution

  • Rhea Sullivan reported that NRP has requested a formal resolution of support and participation in a meeting to discuss the process that will be used to select the eight members from neighborhood organizations of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission.
  • Rosemary Lundell made a motion to approve the following resolution (seconded by Barb Stevens):  

 

“The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council accepts the invitation to participate in the process development meeting for selecting representatives to the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission and will send at least one representative from our organization to the session meeting.”

 

  • Todd Wildermuth agreed to attend the meeting (currently scheduled for February 21, 2009).

 

Promoting neighborhood businesses/outreach
  • The Minikahda Club would like to connect with the neighborhood.  We will profile them in the March issue of the newsletter.  In an effort to support neighborhood businesses, Rhea will contact all neighborhood businesses and offer them an opportunity to list their name, phone number, address and website address on the WCNC website (preferably a local, site-specific website, if possible).  
  • It was suggested that we also profile the M.G.M. Liquor Store in the March issue as a welcome to the neighborhood.  The newsletter should be delivered at the end of March, in time to promote our Earth Day Clean-up at Lake Calhoun.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

 

The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator