E-DEMOCRACY | Midtown community meeting held to vote on old Waite House site reuse proposals

From: Cheryl Luger Date: Dec 12

which proposal.... heart of the beast or banyan... did the community approve ?

how were the presentations ? what was the discussion....best points of each, reasons for selecting the final choice ?

is it an 'as is' .sale ? i see one of the applicants appears to be interested in a total rebuild. was the (hamilton ?) mural discussed ?

will the park board be investing in any improvements or will those be the responsibility of the new owner ?

thanks to all the neighbors who participated in the process.

best wishes,
cheryl luger
nokomis east / minnehaha
(park advocate)

From: Mrs. Spangler Date: Dec 12

Questions about the entire processes came up, especiallythat the interruption that the Heart of the Beast is not a community originationservice provider - my son was there and he said a voting question came up also -I understand one proposal was given unfair advantage that they were told aheadof time people could just stop by and put a vote in before the meeting – the othergroup did not know this – and many community member were out working the on the current play for the HOTB play at the time- Mrs. Spangler

From: Brandi Olson Date: Dec 12

I was at the meeting last night. By the time the vote took place, it appeared that there were about 75 people at the meeting. I was really pleased to see that the attendees were more representative of the neighborhood than past neighborhood meetings that I have attended.

The final vote was 56 votes for Banyan, 12 votes for HOTB. The reuse committee made it clear that the vote was separate from the reuse committee's recommendation. Though I did hear that some people voted at the beginning of the meeting, I don't think it was a large number, as the size of the group tripled in size from when the meeting started to when the vote took place.

Both organizations presented and answered questions. Banyan had several staff members contribute to the presentation and the HOTB presentation was done by the executive director. I think that the reality is that most people in attendance were there because they already knew who they were voting for. However, what stood out to me was that Banyan has a clearly articulate plan for how they would use the property, they had drawings of the new building and have already begun their capital campaign. It seemed like HOTB is still in the initial planning stages of what their use of the property would be. Also it seemed like HOTB might have other possible options (based on what they shared at a previous neighborhood meeting), while Banyan's landlords are selling the building that Banyan currently uses. Due to Banyan's geographic service boundaries, there are no other properties suitable for the organization to purchase. The Banyan staff said that if they were not able to purchase the Waite House property that they were in danger of having to shrink their programs due to lack of space to operate. I think the overwhelming vote for Banyan reflects that Banyan has a concentrated presence in Midtown Phillips, while HOTB has a broader network of support throughout south Minneapolis.

A few questions were raised about the rubric that the Reuse committee used to evaluate the proposals. I think it's fair to point out that all of the reuse committee's meetings were advertised and open to the public.

I don't know about all of the other details that Cheryl asked about, but I don't think the Park District is planning on improving the site. The sale is "as-is"

The final decision on the sale will be made by the park district. I believe that there will be one more public hearing on the sale on January 2. I do not know the details of where/when that meeting will be.

It was fabulous to see so many Midtown neighbors at the meeting last night. Thanks to all who showed up.

Cheers,
Brandi Olson

From: Nick Cross Date: Dec 13

How binding is last night's decision? Does the have to accept the recommendation from Midtown or is it more of a suggestion.

Nick

From: Annie Young Date: Dec 13

The MPRB Commissioners does believe in civic/citizen engagement but we do have to look at a lot of factors when making these decisions so the recommendation is certainly not cast in stone and certainly is considered as we make our decision. However, we will be looking a lot at financial details and ability to follow through on long range plans and how that will work on the use of the property and fit into the overall community and the relation to neighbors and other activities.

There will be a public hearing on January 2nd and it will work its way through the Recreation Committee and then a sale has to go through the Admin and Finance Committee and then to the Full Board. So still lots of steps to pass through before a final decision is made. It should be noted that the Park Board usually never sells Park Land and if it does it will take six votes to do it.

Annie Young
MPRB Citywide Park Commissioner
<email obscured>
Cell: 612-236-5985

See thread here.

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