Monthly CARAG Neighborhood Meeting Minutes: June 21, 2016
CARAG Neighborhood Meeting
June 21, 2016
Attending: Blake Bailes, Diana Boegemann, Diana Crane, Colin Harris, Brad Klein, Jay Lindgren, Tricia Markle, Nancy Riestenberg
Excused Absences: Cameron Conway
The meeting was called to order at 7:09PM.
Introductions & Announcements
Board members and attendees introduced themselves.
Agenda & Minutes
Motion, seconded to approve the agenda and May 17 meeting minutes,. Approved.
Bryant Square Park,
Construction will begin soon to remove the tile floors in the Recreation Center to be replaced by polished concrete. The “warming house room” will house BSP staff during construction, and outdoor activities will go on as scheduled including concerts and the Ice Cream Social.
BSP is offering free afternoon snacks and dinner for youth all summer in the park.
Contact Bryant Square Park at (612) 370-4907 for more information.
10th Ward City Council Update, Ron Harris- Policy Aide
Harris took over as Policy Aide in May from Ben Somogyi who is going to law school. Harris worked with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) before being hired, and focused on the sick leave policy for NOC.
CM Bender is working with the Planning Department to strengthen Pedestrian Overlay Districts on streets in the 10th Wards including Hennepin, Lake, Lyndale, and Nicollet. The goal will be to prevent car-oriented development like the recent Wells Fargo and Walgreens projects. There was a public meeting about it on June 1.
The City Council approved a City-Wide Sick Leave Policy and a Complete Streets Policy last month. Each were supported by CM Bender and are national models.
A Public Hearing is scheduled in July regarding the W. 29th shared street project that runs between Lyndal and Bryant Avenues. Construction should be completed by October.
Park Funding Update, Meg Forney & Tony Sterle
Forney is an At-Large MPRB Commissioner and Sterle leads the group “Save Our Parks”. Earlier in the year they were promoting adding a park funding referendum to the November ballot. However, the Mayor, City Council, and MPRB compromised on a scheme in May to fund parks and streets making the ballot measure unnecessary. The agreement will fund maintenance on neighborhood parks at $11 million per year ensuring they remain in good condition.
For the last two years MPRB has been collecting a fee from new development- $1,750 for each unit created. The money will be used to fund parks within a six bloc radius of each development. There are four such developments in CARAG that have contributed to the fund so far.
Emerald Ash Borer, Ralph Seivert- MPRB Forester
Seivert explained that in 2002 the EAB was discovered in Detroit, and the invasive pest was found in Minneapolis in 2009. The EAB larvae cuts off moisture to ash trees eventually killing them. It is expected that EAB will wipe out all ash trees in North America.
MPRB has begun implementing an 8-year plan to remove all ash trees from boulevards and City property. They are being replaced with a variety of tree species in an attempt to diversify the tree canopy.
EAB treatments are available, but are costly over the long term because they are effective for only two years. Cities like Milwaukee and Toledo are treating ash trees to slow the spread of EAB, but MPRB believes it is a losing battle.
There are four ash trees adjacent to the BSP playground that were scheduled for removal, but they have been taken off the list for now. The trees are the only source of shade, so CARAG will consider treating some or all of the trees while working with MPRB to plant new trees to replace them.
NRP Implementation Committee, Jay Lindgren
The BSP playground concept was tabled by MPRB after protest from activists about outreach to people of color regarding the playground design. MPRB staff has subsequently made additional efforts to engage children at the park and in the Lyndal neighborhood. If the design is approved by MPRB on July 6 playground construction is likely to move forward this fall. However, some portions of the playground may not get done until 2017. Motion, seconded to direct Engel to draft a letter to MPRB supporting the playground concept and outreach efforts. approved.
Lindgren noted that members of the NRP committee have been meeting with nonprofits that help create affordable and supportive housing. The group is proposing to reallocate funding from the home loan programs that are not being utilized to initiate a project in CARAG. “Plan Modification
Reallocate $200,000 from Phase 2 Action Plan Strategy 3.1.1 Residential Improvements (1-10 Unit) to Phase 1 Strategy 5.1 Cycle of Life Housing. The funds will be utilized to create affordable and supportive housing in and around CARAG.”
Land Use & Transportation Committee, Colin Harris
The committee assembled the parlet at Morrissey’s Irish Pub at the end of May and spent the last meeting identifying potential locations for bike racks.
Livability & Engagement Committee, Tricia Markle
CARAG just completed several events including the Super Sale, Plant Swap & Pollinator Events, BSP Concert Series Kick Off, and Garden Tour. The Kids of CARAG Car Wash is July 9 and the BSP Ice Cream Social is July 13.
Treasurer’s Report, Brad Klein/ Scott Engel
The CARAG Operations and NRP Administrative account balances and register reports were available for review.
The Board will consider a request from BSP to fund t-shirts at the August meeting.
Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:40PM.