October 13, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

DRAFT Minutes: 10/13/2009


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


Guests:    Rodgers Adams, David Rhees (Executive Director of The Bakken Museum)


Administrative Items


Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the September WCNC meeting were approved.


       Treasurer’s Report

  • Barb Stevens reported that accounts were same as last month before paying the Coordinator’s salary.  Insty Prints bill will be $300 for the October newsletter.


Monthly Updates


Council Member comments

  • The Council Member was not present.


Lakes District Council Update/MPRB
  • Next meeting:  October 22 from 7-8:30 p.m.  Barb will attend.
  • David Rhees shared his Letter of Connection for The Bakken.  
  • The Lake Calhoun Planning meeting will be held November 5, 2009.  Rhea will attend.
  • Rhea will draft WCNC’s Letter of Connection, pulling from the NRP Action plan and other pertinent documents about Lake Calhoun.


Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • The Transit Committee continues to discuss at grade crossing policies.  They are looking for suggestions for a more consistent approach.
  • MGC is planning neighborhood fundraising parties to raise money for the Xcel Energy project to help cover legal fees the MGC will incur in being an intervener in the process.


       Southwest Transitway (LRT)

  • Michael attended the public hearing on September 17, 2009.  He presented WCNC’s position, which supported LPA guidelines and expressed that WCNC….
  • Rodgers Adams advised that there is a PAC meeting on October 14.  It is a key vote on the route selection.  The last meeting will be October 20.
  • Katie Walker will attend our November 10 meeting (promoted as a Community Meeting) to talk about Southwest Transitway planning and answer questions.


Other Business


Weisman Land
  • We have heard that developers were not able to build on the Weisman site because they weren’t able to use park land to stage for development.  The land apparently has gone back to Weisman.  It’s possible that the land could go to the Park Board.


The Bakken Museum – Dr. David Rhees, Executive Director
  • David reported on the progress of the Federal stimulus grant application to buy 66 electric vehicles, charging stations and signage to promote use. They received 15% of what was requested.  Ford is negotiating the deal.  The purpose of the project is to educate people about electric vehicles as a viable transportation alternative.  
  • The Bakken Museum is looking for funding for two charging stations – one for their use for their outreach for energy education in the schools and one that would be available to the public.  David stated that anyone could use the public charging station, but The Bakken Museum may charge for use.  They are also still planning a solar-powered sign and have hired a consultant to do the planning.
  • David anticipates that he will likely come to WCNC with a request for NRP funding for some of these initiatives, including the solar-powered sign, wind turbine and charging station for a possible total of $40,000.  


Review of WCNC Phase I NRP Funds

  • Corridor Planning (Strategy #1): $752.40 remains.  This was planning for the bus shelters.
  • City Gateway (Strategy #2): $1,400 remains.  Barb Stevens suggested that The Bakken Museum might be considered a community gateway.  
  • Neighborhood Corridors (Strategy #3): $189,700 remains.  Fairly open-ended strategy.  They were originally planning to do a lot more on Excelsior Boulevard (Excelsior Blvd. Study), including:
    • Sidewalk on South side of Excelsior Blvd.
    • Bob Close did the plan for the Corridor Study
    • Sidewalk on South side of Lake Street – a possible railing on the bridge
    • Bridge on Lake St. – 360 degree Project
    • Would like to look at how to better connect Lake Calhoun to the access point.
  • Village Center (Strategy #4): $27,760 remains.  Intention to create a village center before the developer came in to develop the Calhoun Commons area.  There was a design charette.
  • Midtown Greenway (Strategy #6): $400 remains.  
  • Lake Calhoun Pedestrian/Bicycle Access (Strategy #7): $7,500 remains.  With the West Lake Station, we would like to figure out how to get a good connection for bikes and pedestrians to the lake.  
    • Worked with a developer to help get a bikeway to the lake.  Were not able to find a good way to connect to the lake.  Signage to and from lake.
    • Midtown Greenway Connection to the lake.
    • For the coming West Lake Station, there will be a design charette process to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input.  We should look at: We should look at 1) the Access Point, 2) Improved pedestrian access and 3) Lake Calhoun Improvements.
  • Environmental Improvements (Strategy #8):  $31,570 remains.
    • We could consider doing something with the playground equipment on the North Beach.  We are unclear what neighborhood that area is in.  
    • These funds could also be used to help restore the fishing pier.
  • Secondary Corridors (Strategy #9): $10,000 remains.  This funding was intended for the smaller (thus “secondary) streets like West 32nd Street.  We could consider changing how West 32nd feeds into Lake Calhoun Parkway.  Main corridors are Excelsior Blvd. and Lake Street.  
  • Administrative Funds (Strategy #10): $23,700 is contracted and available for use.  We are still spending down the payment of $5,559 received in 4/2009.  These funds we use on an ongoing basis to pay for staff and administrative costs.  We understand from Carsten Slostad, NRP Specialist, that we need to submit some reimbursements from 2007 and 2008.  Rhea will work with Barb to complete these.  
  • Crime and Safety (Strategy #11):  $15,000 remains.  We have tried to use these funds to install speed radar signs or to increase Park Police patrol on West Calhoun Parkway.  These funds are still available for crime prevention/safety initiatives.


David Rhees asked if solar improvements would fit under Environment Improvements.  We would need to read the language in the Phase I NRP Action Plan to determine that.


WCNC funding priorities:  1) The Bakken Museum energy initiatives, 2) SW LRT Planning and 3) Lake Calhoun Planning.


Constant Contact e-newsletter
  • Our first e-newsletter will go out in late October.  We will work to build our list.


Midtown Greenway Rezoning Study

      • Coordinator Rhea Sullivan has been working with City Planner Amanda Arnold to get answers to our concerns about the Midtown Greenway Rezoning study.  Key concerns are: 1) upzoning of Hennepin County land to C3S from “Multi” which was not reflected in the original Midtown Greenway Land Use and Development Plan, 2) the vacated land in that area and 3) making certain that WCNC’s Development Guidelines (dated 4/2008) are part of the public record.   
      • We will review the guidelines in January in light of SW Transitway planning.


Coordinator Contract

      • The Board considered a contract with Neighborhood Coordinator Rhea Sullivan for October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010.  The contract was approved.   


Other Business

      • Chair Mari Taffe announced that she will need to step off the Board, effective at the end of the November 10, 2009 WCNC meeting.  Michael Wagner agreed to step in as Acting/Interim Chair.


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


The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at The Bakken.  


Respectfully submitted,


Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator