July 9, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
July 9, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Rodgers Adams, Katie Eiser, Matt Perry and Stephen Wilson.

Secretary’s Report:  The June 11 Board meeting and June 27 retreat minutes were both approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $12,036.20 balance in the NCEC account and a $1,562.93 balance in the NRP account.  

Katie Eiser (Whole Foods Market):  Katie spoke about the proposed Volunteer Clean-Up in partnership with Whole Foods.  Her goal is to have 55 people (families) to help and 5 team members.  Rhea suggested that we clean the Greenway since we have adopted the Greenway.  We could also clean up the Access Point park.  Richard suggested we also consider an area near the Minikahda Club that needs cleaning.  September 14, 2013 was selected as the date.  Time will be 10 a.m. -12 p.m. for the clean-up with lunch at Whole Foods from 12-1 p.m.   Whole Foods would like to sort the trash into recyclables, compostables and trash.  Katie will put together registration for the event and put it up on a website.  Rhea will check into details with the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  At the end of the discussion, David Rhees presented Katie with the Whole Foods Good Neighbor Award to thank them for their sponsorship of WCNC events over the years.

Stephen Wilson (Xcel Energy):  There has been talk about Minneapolis starting our own electric utility.  Municipal Energy Options is the group that is advocating for a municipal electrical system.  Xcel Energy wants us to stay with Xcel.  Stephen presented the case for Xcel.  If we follow the municipal model, the city would have to buy the system.  The City would be responsible for outages and construction.  The City Council will determine the price of electricity and the energy sources.  There would be limited state oversight.  Currently the state determines energy, policy and performance standards and helps to regulate price.  It would be a complex process to separate the utility from the existing system and the costs would be borne by Minneapolis customers.  They are currently doing a feasibility study on setting up a municipal system.  The feasibility study probably won’t be done until January or February, but Municipal Energy Options wants to put the issue on the ballot before the study is done.  Stephen encouraged us to contact our City Council person or to speak at the public hearings on August 1.  We will invite Minneapolis Energy Options to speak at our September Board meeting.

Jeff Washburne (City of Lakes Community Land Trust):  Jeff explained that what CLCLT does is assist households that would not be able to afford a home to buy a home.  CLCLT started in 2002 and assisted in the first home purchases in 2004.  Today there are 160+ CLCLT homeowners and there have been 20 resales.  They have help 20 homeowners to purchase condos using a 30-year deed restriction.  He would like to work with us on any new developments to talk to the developers about making some units affordable.  He did say that association fees could be a concern.  He asked for a letter of support of CLCLT.  The Board approved a letter of support.  

Request for letter re: deep tunneling:  Art Higinbotham of CIDNA requested that WCNC send a letter of support for a deep bore tunnel in the Kenilworth Corridor.  Aaron felt there was a lot of optimism in the letter.  He’s wondering where they will get the funds, especially since there will likely be impacts that may require rebuilding the Lake Street bridge.  There is another group that is supporting a feasibility study (Do LRT Right) of the tunnel.  WCNC decided not to take a position at this time.

Retreat Follow-Up:  The Board decided to schedule another retreat to follow-up on the first retreat.  Rhea will work to schedule a date in September.  The Board requested that Rhea go through the minutes from the retreat and extract a list of projects.  Ian stated that Boards seem to be informational or project based.  So far this seems like a mostly informational Board.  It is easier to engage people if you have projects with clear objectives.  We may want to start doing an annual event and get volunteers involved in the planning.  Matt Perry said that in East Harriet they started a festival to get people volunteering and doing something as a community together.  One of the problems is that we have tried to do many projects unsuccessfully.  Will our strategies get people out – motivate people to be involved?  We do have a lot of knowledge about light rail and have influenced it.  Perhaps there could be a Light Rail Committee that could provide recommendations.  

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, September 10.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:32 p.m.

June 11, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
June 11, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Chelsea Adams, Rodgers Adams, John Czyscon, Rebecca Harnik, Josh Neiman, Kerri Pearce Ruch, Ingrid Remak, Jennifer Swanson.

Secretary’s Report:  The May minutes were approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $12,836.20 balance in the NCEC account and a $562.93 balance in the NRP account.  

Kerri Pearce Ruch (for Katie Walker): Kerri spoke to us about the parking audit tool.  It was developed by Nelson\ Nygaard for the BART system in San Francisco.  The first time they used the parking audit tool for the SW LRT, they looked at five stations, including West Lake and West Lake-Beltline.  They recently did an update and had a workshop regarding the tool.  The tool provides one way to look at Park and Rides.  It looks at trade offs between surface parking and an integrated development.  Not every station location is appropriate for a Park and Ride.  We should avoid parcels where there’s high development potential.  There is not a Park and Ride planned for West Lake, but there will be one at Beltline. The next steps will be to use the tool in action planning.  They will work with the Met Council to get accurate data to tweak.  They will look at structured vs. surface parking and right size.  Kerri said that bus facilities are planned at the West Lake station on HCRRA land.  There is a need for parking and vehicle management strategies for the West Lake station.  We don’t want to encourage more vehicular traffic.

Jennifer Swanson (for Council Member Betsy Hodges):  Jennifer said that you can now register your bike with the Minneapolis Police Department online or through 3-1-1.  This will give you a better chance of recovering your bike if it is stolen.  She also reported that there are a number of new Nice Ride stations that have opened recently, including one at Sheridan and Upton, one at Lake Harriet bandshell and one at The Bakken Museum.

Chelsea Adams (Community Crime Prevention): Chelsea distributed a number of handouts, including a resource list, “Securing Your Home and Property,” and “Child and Teen Safety Tips and Resources.”  She said there are currently only 4 block leaders in the neighborhood.  We can have block leaders for a block or for an apartment or condo complex.  Chelsea will send a map of block leaders.  The consensus is that we should help recruit block leaders.  There was some discussion about the recent luring incidents.  There is currently no update on the lurings.  Richard Logan volunteered to get crime information to put on the website.  National Night Out is Tuesday, August 6.

Ingrid Remak (The Loppet Foundation):  Ingrid explained that The Loppet Foundation is a non-profit that is dedicated to improving the trail experience.  Every year they do a large Loppet event.  The event used to finish at Lake Street.  This year they are looking at other options.  One option involves coming to the west side of Lake Calhoun.  This option will require minimal road closures and will use the Lake Calhoun Center parking lot.  It also would allow the potential use of the Minikahda Club.  The course would be used for two mornings of longer races on February 1 and 2 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  They would use West 36th Street and would have snow on half of the street.  They are currently in the process of completing permit applications.  Meg Forney noted a concern about emergency vehicle access given the usage of West Calhoun Parkway.  They would also like our involvement.  Ian Kees volunteered to be the contact.

Rebecca Harnik (Midtown Greenway Coalition):  Rebecca spoke about the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, which is a one year study by Metro Transit of alternatives to connect the existing light rail to the new SW LRT.  They have currently narrowed it down to three options:  1) a turf track streetcar on the Greenway between West Lake and Hiawatha, 2) enhanced arterial bus with limited stops and the capacity to stall red lights, 3) a combination that would include studying having the bus connect to Snelling and University.  The Midtown Greenway Coalition supports the streetcar option.  There have been two open houses.  There will be a third set of open houses in the Fall to announce the alternative selected.  A motion was made to support the turf track streetcar.  Rhea will draft a letter of support.

Adopt-A-Greenway:  WCNC’s commitment to adopt the Greenway expires in June.  The Board voted to renew our adoption of the Greenway from Chowen Ave. to Dean Parkway.  This means two clean-ups a year.  It costs $75 to renew.  Rhea will submit the paperwork.  Aaron Shaffer proposed an additional donation to The Midtown Greenway Coalition.  He suggested matching CIDNA’s donation of $400.  There was some discussion of the proposal.  There was a question of where the funds would come from.  Can we use our Citizen Participation Program funds for donations?  Rhea will look into this and will report back.  

Co-location options:  New freight rail co-location options have emerged, including at grade co-location or tunneling south of the Lake Street bridge.  Aaron Shaffer reported that 60 homes would be taken for co-location, whether it was tunneling or at grade.  If co-location happens and the freight rail becomes permanent, it will look very different than it does now.  They will need a 25-foot right-of-way on both sides of the line.  It was suggested that the best thing to do was to go to the June 13 meeting about freight rail.  

The Bakken Museum proposal:  John Czyscon, the Bakken’s Development Officer, presented the opportunity for WCNC to sponsor The Best Days of The Bakken, July 16-20.  David Rhees stepped out the room during the discussion, in accordance with our Conflict of Interest policy.  There are three levels of sponsorship available:  $1,000 – Premier, $500 Supporting and $250 Associate.  We asked about having a WCNC presence at the event.  John said that was a possibility, but it wasn’t connected with the sponsorship – it was a community partnership.  The Board voted to sponsor the event at the $250 Associate level, contingent on WCNC having appropriate funds we can use to pay for the sponsorship.  

Board Officer Election:  All of the current officers are willing to serve again.  The slate was moved and the Board voted to approve it.  David Rhees will remain Chair; Richard Logan – Vice Chair and John Abraham Watne – Treasurer.

City of Lakes Community Land Trust:  We will invite Jeff Washburne from City of Lakes Community Land Trust to attend our July meeting.  

Board Retreat:  The Board Retreat will be Thursday, June 27.  We will approve the agenda via email.  Dinner will be $15 and there will be a cash bar.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, July 9.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

 

May 14, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
Annual Meeting  – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Jeff Peltola, Carol Logan, Jay Mutschler, Jenny Mutschler, Josh Neiman, Linea Palmisano, Haydee D. Peterson, Thatcher Imboden, George Effrem, Jon Fagerson, Sophia Ginis, Bruce Chamberlain, Mike Wilson

Secretary’s Report:  The April minutes were approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $14,045.27 balance in the NCEC account and a $562.93 balance in the NRP account.  

Reschedule Earth Day:  David Rhees proposed a weekday clean up in the late afternoon.  Kathy Cobb suggested an August clean up, since we have no meeting that month.  Meg suggested that we contact the Park Board to see if there’s something we could do to help in August, e.g., buckthorn removal or other project.  Rhea is charged with contacting the Park Board to find out if there’s something we could do to help in August.  We will set a date later.

Board Elections:  The current Board members are all willing to serve another term.  The floor was opened up to other potential candidates.  No one expressed interest.  Jeff Peltola moved the slate of nine Board members.  Carol Logan seconded.  The motion carried.  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Keys, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood and John Abraham-Watne were re-elected for another term.  David Rhees mentioned that we could have committees.  Non Board members can participate in committees.  One committee that we currently have is the Edge Business Association.  David mentioned that we may want to update our bylaws at some point.

Retreat:  Our retreat has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 27.  

Metro Transit’s Community Outreach Coordinator for the Southwest LRT Sophia Ginis:  Sophia explained that we are currently in the preliminary engineering phase of the project.  That is where we define the bigger project elements like where the stations are, trail connections, parking near the stations.  Transitional Station Area Action Planning is also going on.  There was an open house on May 2.  

There are 25 technical issues that the project has identified.  One of the issues is the Operations and Maintenance Facility.  They need to find a space.  There were originally 18 sites, 2 were added.  It has now been narrowed down to 7 sites.  There will be several open houses on this topic, all in suburban locations because the 2 Minneapolis sites were not selected.

On June 6 there will be a meeting of the Joint Community Advisory and Business Advisory Committee to discuss co-location and relocation of the freight rail line.  They will be looking at designs for both options.  There will be a community open house at some point following that meeting.  In May/June they will be developing preliminary station designs – looking at the location of the stations and walking routes.  They have learned a lot from committees, open houses, the “walk about” that will help inform the design.  This summer, after all the stations go to advisory committees, they will have more open houses.  The West Lake Station has not been located yet.  It currently takes more than 10 minutes to get from the station area to Lake Calhoun.  The big question is how to get safely to the lake from the station.

David Rhees asked about the funding situation of the project.  Sophia said that they won’t know until the last day of the legislative session.  They are confident it will work out.  They will approach the Federal government in another year.

Good Neighbor Award:  Whole Foods Market generously donated five pizzas for our annual meeting.  The Board moved to give them a Good Neighbor Award in thanks.

MPRB Assistant Superintendent for Planning Bruce Chamberlain:  In October of 2012, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board held the North Calhoun South Lake of the Isles Design Charrette.  This area where the lakes come together has not been addressed in unison for many years.  They invited the community to help understand the values and possibilities.  They are about to go back to the MPRB on June 5 and ask them for next steps over the next several years.  

Bruce showed a PowerPoint presentation of images of the area under consideration.  They have been working with the City and the County about the future of Lake St.    

The core principles are:

  • Respect current uses (like the sailing school)
  • Solve problems (like trail crossings of roadways)
  • Envision a positive inter-relationship between parks and development (for example, the Weisman property, which will likely be developed in the near future)
  • Reweave the landscape (that is sliced in half by transportation corridors)

The goals are:

  • Safe trails and crossings
  • Environmental quality
  • Beautification of Lake St.
  • How to keep the energy and success of the Tin Fish area while reducing the conflict and danger.
  • Support for the sailing school and club
  • Better connections between Calhoun/Greenway/Lake of the Isles
  • Better visitor facilities (e.g. restrooms)

 

Bruce showed several different images of options:

  1. Possibility of moving the sailing school to a different part of the lake.
  2. Reconfiguration of Tin Fish.  Create plaza around Tin Fish, add a new building for the sailing school and keep the beachfront in the same place.
  3. Creating a grade separate bike and pedestrian path.  Create a bike bridge structure that separates uses.
  4. Look at adding beachfront in front of Tin Fish.
  5. Create another bridge across the channel.
  6. New Lake Street bridge.  Shrink traffic lanes and add more space for bikes and pedestrians.
  7. Move the sailing school and club to this side of the lake.  Add picnic pavilion, new boat launch.  Have structured parking lot near the Lake Calhoun Center. Create a street linkage to Market Plaza.  This may be worth exploring.  It would need to be part of a multi-agency approach.
  8. Pedestrian bridge over Lake St.  Take advantage of new development at Weisman property.
  9. Drop Lake Street down.  Take cars underground near Lake of the Isles and up near the Calhoun Beach Club.  Use it as a “lid” or land bridge.
  10. Reduced version of the same idea.  300 ft. land bridge.  Put the Greenway on the bridge.  Create a new visitor facility.  Shared parking with Weisman site.
  11. 150 ft. wide trail crossing over the top of Lake Street.

They have been seriously looking at #10.  Hennepin County is on board.  They need to do a feasibility study.  The Park Board will lead it and will look at the design of Lake Street from East Calhoun Parkway to Dean Parkway.  It was suggested that they expand the study to Market Plaza.  It is currently an issue of funding.  Hennepin County will contribute $50,000-$100,000.  The City probably won’t contribute.  The Park Board will have Regional Park funds to use, but not until July of 2014.  Could also possibly use Legacy funds that are now in the legislature.

Mike Wilson, CIDNA:  Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority owns the Greenway and the Kenilworth Corridor.  The walking paths are considered an interim use.  Co-location of the Southwest Transitway in the Kenilworth Corridor would put 3 tracks in that area – 2 for light rail and one for freight rail.  Mike expressed that they do not want co-location.  Mike also reported on the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, which is an effort by Metro Transit to determine the benefits, costs and impacts of implementing a new transitway along either the Midtown Greenway or Lake St. in Minneapolis.  The Community Advisory Council has met twice.  They are considering two options: 1) arterial bus rapid transit on Lake Street and 2) a streetcar on a turf track on the Greenway.  There will be open houses to share the project’s progress with the public on May 21 and 23.  They are still in the data collection phase of the process.

Jeff Peltola – Capstone Video:  Jeff Peltola reviewed the timeline of Capstone projects and showed the new video that summarizes the five Capstone studies.

Thatcher Imboden – Sign variance:  Thatcher Imboden of the Ackerberg Group made a presentation regarding sign variances they are seeking for a new sign at the Lake Calhoun Center.  He said that many people don’t know where the building is.  They want to have an identifiable sign to help mitigate the confusion.  The current sign is 7-feet tall.  They are proposing a freestanding sign that incorporates art.  The sign is inspired by windsurfers.  They are seeking three variances: 1) variance of height from 8 feet to 20 feet, 2) variance to increase the square footage from 32 square feet to 208 square feet, 3) variance of the permitted sign type (monument sign) to a freestanding sign.  The variances will go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on June 6.  The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council voted to not oppose the application for three variances.  Rhea will communicate this to the Planner, Shanna Sether.

Neighborhood Priority Plan Questions:  WCNC has $5,000 set aside for a Neighborhood Priority Plan.  We have agreed to keep asking these questions to get feedback from the community on what improvements the neighborhood would like to see.

  1. If you could change one thing about West Calhoun neighborhood, what would it be?
  2. If WCNC had money to invest in a project in West Calhoun neighborhood, what should they do?

Responses:

  • Eliminate the “Y” intersection
  • Make West Calhoun Parkway safer to cross
  • Better connection from Market Plaza to Lake Calhoun
  • Structured parking ramp at Lake Calhoun Center

The Bakken Update:  David Rhees reported that Nice Ride will install a bike station on West 36th St. near The Bakken’s monument sign.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, June 11.  

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

 

April 9, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
April 9, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Rodgers Adams.

Secretary’s Report:  The minutes were amended to add the wording: “In compliance with the Board’s Conflict of Interest Policy, David Rhees abstained from the vote.”  The revised minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $15,676.30 balance in the NCEC account; $1,606.48 balance in NRP account.  

Annual Meeting Planning:  Kathy suggested that we ask Jeff Peltola to attend the Annual Meeting to give an update on the recent Capstone projects and to show the new video.  Rhea will extend the invitation.  We will also have Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, Minneapolis Park Board Assistant Superintendent for Planning Bruce Chamberlain and Metro Transit’s Community Outreach Coordinator for the Southwest LRT Sophia Ginis.  Elections will be held.  It seems that the current Board members are willing to return.  We will gather input on our Neighborhood Priority Plan questions.  Mary will post the Wavelength articles about the Annual Meeting and Earth Day in hopes of getting more attendance.

Retreat Planning:  The retreat is Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at The Minikahda Club.  We will have a dinner of chicken chili, salad and corn bread all inclusive for $15.  There will also be a cash bar.  We had a discussion about how to structure the retreat.  Richard suggested that we take a broader view and look at what affects quality of life.  Ian suggested that we look at the current pots of money that we have and consider changing our NRP Plan.  The Board seemed divided about whether to review the NRP Plan first or whether to have the broad brainstorming first.  David assured the Board that he and Rhea would put together a draft agenda and run it by the Board with the appropriate documents.  Kathy requested that we spend some time discussing what projects we might want to fund for The Edge if we do not get Great Streets funding.

Change in Standing Meeting Date:  One of the Board members has a conflict with the Thursday meeting time.  We will stay with the 2nd Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

CPP 2012 Annual Report:   The Board reviewed that Annual Report and voted to approve it.

Logo Design:  David and Gary met recently to discuss a potential new logo design for WCNC.  Our current logo is a part of the Minikahda bridge over Excelsior Boulevard.  Gary recommends that we invest $1,000 – $2,000 in a new logo design.  He knows two designers he will contact.  Aaron said that he may have connections.  Meg proposed that we use the same designer who designed The Edge logo.  The suggestion was also put forth that we have a student competition.  It was decided to table the discussion until the retreat when Gary can participate.

Park Board CAC re: Dean Parkway and Cedar Lake Road trail improvements:  Aaron reported that they had the last CAC meeting to discuss the potential impacts of the Southwest Transitway.  They came up with preferred options based on not having co-location.  They also discussed how things would be organized if they have a flyover bridge or trenching or an at-grade crossing.  They also talked about the potential redevelopment on Cedar Lake at the South Beach.  The Park Board did approve the CAC proposals that had been put forward for Dean Parkway and Cedar Lake Road.

West Lake Station Walkabout:  40 people turned out for the West Lake Station Walkabout on Saturday, April 6.  Katie Walker, Sam O’Connell and Sophia Ginis attended. Richard provided a written report to the Board.  The point of the walk was to understand the lay of the land – to look at the access points and see how people would get to the station on foot, by bicycle or bus.  Also looked at how to cross safely.  The West Lake Station will likely have the highest volume of people using it.  It also creates the most challenges.  It was stated at the walk that the nearest Park and Ride would be at the Beltline Blvd. station.  There was some discussion about private parking ramp development.  Katie Walker wants to do another walk when preliminary engineering plans are done.  Regarding SW LRT, we may want to consider what we would be willing to do to augment what light rail will pay for (like landscaping, possibly.)

SW LRT CAC:  Kathy attended this CAC in Meg’s place.  They discussed the freight rail line and the maintenance facility.  Engineers are looking at creative options to deal with the relocation/colocation issues, including perhaps stacking.  

Adopt-A-Greenway:  We are currently an Adopt-A-Greenway sponsor.  We are due to re-up this year (for $75.)  The Board is willing to do a Clean-Up.  It was suggested we send some folks over there on Earth Day April 20.  Aaron also mentioned that we are not a Midtown Greenway Coalition member.  We could be for as little as $250.  The MGC is trying to keep things green and safe.  They are working to make trail crossings safer, to change signage and to make sure the phones work on the trail.  Our section of the Greenway is not well lit.  We will consider membership in August when our sponsorship is up.    

Earth Day April 20:  Our Earth Day site this year is at The Bakken Museum.  We will set up at the corner of West 36th St. and West Calhoun Parkway.  Mary Underwood agreed to help Rhea staff the table.  Richard will ask Caribou for a donation of coffee.  Mary will check with Mel-O-Glaze to see if they might be willing to donate donuts.  We should do what we can to publicize the event.

Blood Drive:  The Blood Drive is Wednesday, May 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Lake Calhoun Executive Center Parking lot.

A Case Study in The Challenges of Urban Density:  Richard has an idea that he would like to make a video to make the point about the struggle to maintain quality of life with high urban density.  He would need someone to write a script, make a proposal.  At this point, it’s just an idea.

The Bakken Update:  David Rhees reported that The Bakken wants to promote bike riding.  They may get a Nice Ride station in front of The Bakken.  They also hope to get more bike racks.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, May 14.  

The meeting was adjourned at 6:57 p.m.

 

March 12, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
March 12, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Meg Forney, Ian Kees, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Sophia Ginis, Linea Palmisano, Matt Perry.  

Secretary’s Report:  February meeting minutes were approved.  We discussed the upcoming Spring newsletter.  Articles will include: promotion of Earth Day and Annual Meeting and Neighborhood Priority Plan questions; Richard – “Dimensions of Urban Density”; Kathy – Edge Update; Aaron – Report on Park Board CAC; Sophia Ginis – SWLRT Update.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that there is a $16,551.30 balance in the NCEC account; $1,606.48 balance in NRP account.  The 990N e-postcard has been filed.  John will be working with Seth to prepare the financial report for the Attorney General’s report.  John will also work with Rhea on the financial piece of the Annual Report that is due April 19.  

John also reported that he attended the Linden Hills Small Area Plan meeting on February 28.  The Small Area Plan is a policy document that will become an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  Major issues noted included: the large scale of proposed development, parking, relocation of the co-op, concerns about the lack of diversity in the shops and lack of affordable restaurants.  

Sophia Ginis, Community Outreach Coordinator for Metro Transit – Met Council:  Sophia reported that the full outreach team started in January.  Sophia is the liaison for Minneapolis and St. Louis Park.  At this point the project will be moving fast.  They are now in Preliminary Engineering and have to make sure they have data on traffic, pedestrian traffic and access to the station.  They have identified 25 technical issues.  The West Lake Station is one of these.  

Regarding the freight rail issues (co-location vs. relocation), both options are being considered as equals.  They have been mandated to elevate the engineering designs to a specific level.  In early summer there will be more community engagement on this issue.  There has been some talk about moving the line.  Adjustments are being made to the alignment, but they are not going back to consider new alternatives.  

Station planning is still in development, so we don’t know exactly where the West Lake Station will be.  Sophia could bring a larger map to show the SW LRT.  There will be station packets made which will show the walkshed and amenities for each station.  Sophia will plan to attend the annual meeting.  She might have the packets by then.

Aaron Shaffer mentioned that the Kenilworth Alliance (the new name for the Joint Neighborhood Task Force) will be putting together a website to help keep people informed.

Change in Standing Meeting Date:  David Rhees explained that he would like to propose changing the standing meeting date for our monthly Board meeting to the 2nd Thursday of the month instead of the 2nd Tuesday of the month.  Thursdays would be a better day for The Bakken because they are open until 8 p.m. and have staff on the premises.  Rhea will check into potential conflicts.  We will vote next month.

Hill and Lake Press:  West Calhoun does not receive the Hill and Lake Press, which prints information about SW LRT and other pertinent neighborhood issues.  It would be beneficial to keep our residents informed about SW LRT.  The cost for a year to have it delivered to the neighborhood is $900.   It would cost $400 for a one-time delivery of the March issue.  The Board voted to sign on for the $900 rate.  We have a few questions: 1) What do they expect from the partnership?  2) Would they consider covering Ward 13 and Park Board District 6?  3) What would the cost be for an insert (of our newsletter) into the April issue?  Rhea will follow up with the editor and report back to the Board.  

Park Board CAC:  The regularly scheduled meetings of the CAC concluded last month.  They came to some conclusions:  1) To realign the intersection of Dean and Dean, 2) Make Cedar Lake Parkway and Dean Parkway more of a 90 degree angle, 3) Take the space for the bike lane and make a dedicated bike trail.  Some residents protested that they hadn’t heard about the CAC.  The issue was a combined bike and pedestrian path.  They were concerned about parking and people getting hit by bikes.  There is one more meeting scheduled meeting to address the intersection at Cedar Lake Parkway and the future SW LRT route.

Map:  Rhea was asked to get a large map of the neighborhood and have it mounted on foam core.

Blood Drive:  Meg Forney posed the question of whether the Board would like to collaborate with Coldwell Banker Burnett on a blood drive at the Lake Calhoun Executive Center.  Meg said that we could use it as an opportunity to build community with other business people.  Our part will mainly be promotion via emails.  A motion was made to participate in the Blood Drive.  The motion carried.

West Lake Station Walk:  The idea came out of the Joint Neighborhood Task Force.  The point is to get familiarized with the potential site for the station.  Sophia Ginis will attend.  The date has not yet been set.  

Strategic Planning Retreat:  We don’t have time at our regular meetings to look at longer term projects.  David suggested a retreat to give us time to look at our NRP plan and see if we want to make some changes.  It was suggested that it could be a Saturday lunch or a Thursday evening.  A number of possible venues were recommended, including Tryg’s.  Rhea will send out a Meeting Wizard to help us select a date in April.  

Annual Meeting Planning:  Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, MPRB Assistant Superintendent for Planning Bruce Chamberlain and Metro Transit’s Community Outreach Coordinator for SW LRT Sophia Ginis will all attend the meeting and give updates.  Rhea will request pizza from Whole Foods.  Elections will be held.  Meg Forney volunteered to poll Board members to see if people are willing to continue on the Board.  (Officers will be elected at the June meeting.)  We can report on the results of our Strategic Planning retreat.  

Midtown Greenway Coalition:  Aaron Shaffer asked the Board if they would like to make a contribution to the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  If we donate money we would become a member.  We have to figure out where the money would come from.  We will discuss this at April’s meeting.

The Bakken Museum Donation:  Meg made a motion that we make our annual $500 donation to The Bakken Museum, our meeting space.  The motion carried.  In compliance with the Board’s Conflict of Interest Policy, David Rhees abstained from the vote.

Midtown Greenway Access Point:  There was some discussion about the kiosk sign at the Greenway entrance.  It’s in bad shape.  It’s up to us to maintain the kiosk.  The Hennepin County Railroad Authority maintains the plantings (through Tree Trust) and the water fountain also has a maintenance agreement.  We will add this topic to the retreat agenda.

New logo:  We need a new logo.  David Rhees and Gary Knutson will discuss.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, April 9.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:19 p.m.

 

February 12, 2013 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2013 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

Board Members:  Meg Forney, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne.  Board members absent:  Kathy Cobb, Gary Knutson.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  In attendance:  Rodge Adams, Brad Bourn, Steve Goltry, Ian Kees, Matt Perry.  

Secretary’s Report:  January meeting minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that after two deposits (our CPP allocation and the parking study funds), there is a $17,761.25 balance in the NCEC account; $1,606.48 balance in NRP account.  He will continue the automatic transfer of $100 between the checking and the savings account as has been the practice in the past.  He will file the 990N E-Postcard.  

Council Member Betsy Hodges:  Policy Aide Jennifer Swanson reported that Linden Hills is undertaking a Small Area Plan and that members of the community are invited to comment.  There is an online survey.  There will be a two community meetings on Thursday, February 28 from 4:30-5:45 p.m. and 6:00-7:15 p.m.  She also reported that February is “Share The Love” month sponsored by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.  They are offering $10 off pet adoptions during the month of February.  The STEP UP Internship Program is accepting applications until March 4.  STEP UP is a summer internship program for youth ages 14-21.

Richard Logan mentioned that after the Walking Workshop, he noticed that some crosswalks had been painted in front of the Lake Calhoun Executive Center that are now obliterated.  A stop line has also disappeared.  Richard said that at the end of the divider on Lake St. in front of the Executive Center there needs to be a sign “Stop here on red.”  

MPRB Commissioner Brad Bourn:  Brad reported that there was a $1.8 million deficit in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board budget, so a 3.5% levy increase was approved.  Included in the deficit were: dealing with aquatic invasives patrolling for zebra mussels.  They will also be working with community outreach to talk to fishermen about bait maintenance.  $200,000 will be spent to stop the spread of invasives.  

David Rhees mentioned that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is having an open house on February 13 at The Bakken Museum.

Brad noted that they were able to maintain the tree planting budget, which is a good thing because  Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Lakewood Cemetery.    

Brad reported that the Minneapolis Conservation Corps will help with tree planting, dealing with aquatic invasives and more.  The Conservation Corps is made up of 12 college-age youth who work full time for a year assisting the Park Board.  It is an Americorps position.  

Other items of note:  

  • The Park Board will now require recycling for all events.  Other green initiatives will also be available (like composting.)  
  • There will be a recreation center use study over the next two years.  
  • The Dog Park is open and has been very well used.  It will close for a few weeks this summer for final landscaping.
  • Brad asked that we write a thank you note to outgoing Assistant Superintendent Mike Schmidt.
  • The MPRB has hired a new Assistant Superintendent for Recreation, Nick Williams.
  • If there are creative ways to partner with the MPRB, like recreation sharing between the MPRB and The Bakken, we should be sure to let Brad know.
  • Richard Logan mentioned that there is a maintenance issue with the sign kiosks on the north side of Lake Calhoun.  Brad will look into it.

The Edge Business Association:  The Board reviewed the Great Streets Business District Support proposal written by Kathy Cobb.  The proposal includes a customer survey, workshops for businesses, reprinting The Edge brochure and ads in the Southwest Journal.   The proposal includes the allocation of $8,740 in Phase I NRP funds (from Strategy 3: Neighborhood Corridors).  Meg Forney made a motion to approve the proposal as it is (including the allocation of NRP funds.)  The motion carried.  In a friendly amendment to the motion, David Rhees asked that we remove the word “ostensibly” on page 2 and capitalize the “t” in The Bakken Museum.  

Meg Forney recommended that WCNC join the Lake Street Council and the Uptown Association.  She made a motion that we fund memberships to both organizations.  The motion carried.  Annual membership in the Lake Street Council is $125 and $100 for the Uptown Association.

The Board approved a letter of support for the Uptown Association (for the Great Streets Business District Support grant.)  They will also be writing us a letter of support.

Filling the open seat on the Board:  Rhea introduced Ian Kees, a new resident who formerly lived in Linden Hills and served on the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council.  Meg Forney made a motion to appoint Ian to the Board.  The motion carried.  

Park Board CAC to plan trail improvements along Dean and Cedar Lake Parkways:  Meg Forney reported that they have added an additional meeting to address the intersection at Cedar Lake Parkway and the future SW LRT route.  They are trying to make intersections safer on Dean Parkway.  There will be a paved bike path on the north side of Cedar Lake Parkway.  

Annual Meeting:  Meg Forney proposed that we invite Gail Dorfman (Hennepin County) and Bruce Chamberlain (MPRB) to our annual meeting.  We would invite Gail to speak about the Walking Workshop and Bruce to give us an update on the Lake Calhoun charrette.

Discussion of NRP funds:  There is $275,666 remaining in Phase I NRP funds.  There is no urgent need to spend the money, but there is no guarantee about it either.  We may want to present recommendations about how to spend the funds at our annual meeting in May.  Ian Kees mentioned that he is willing to help work on this.  The Board feels that we need a brainstorming session to come up with some new priorities.

Neighborhood Priority Plan:  We also have $5,000 available for our Neighborhood Priority Plan.  David asked the question: “If you could change one thing about West Calhoun neighborhood, what would it be?”  Mary Underwood said that she would like to be able to have safe access on foot from the Midtown Greenway to Lake Calhoun.  John Abraham-Watne said that he is concerned about dim streetlights on West Calhoun Parkway.  

Ian Kees reported that in Linden Hills they used kiosks to collect ideas from residents at events.  They also included mention of it in the newsletter and in emails.  

David Rhees mentioned that he would like to host an event at The Bakken Museum – possibly a business or information fair.  He also would like to rent an inflatable movie screen in the summer to show a movie on the green roof.  We could have a neighborhood presentation before the movie.  We need events to build our visibility.  We will have a newsletter in April to publicize the annual meeting.  Mary volunteered to post flyers at some buildings (including the Calhoun Towers.)

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, March 12.  Possible agenda items include: 1) Update on Park Board CAC, 2) Neighborhood Priority Program questions, 3) Strategic planning to accomplish our goals, 4) possible change of Board meeting date.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.