OPINION | From Wirth’s Par 3 to Nordic Ski?


Gentrification: “to convert [an aging area in a city] into a more affluent middle-class neighborhood, as by remodeling dwellings, resulting in increased property values and in displacement of the poor.” — Webster’s Dictionary

“[Ideas] both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else.” — John Maynard Keynes

Good ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have consequences. The new attempt at more gentrification in North Minneapolis is a bad idea with bad consequences for North Minneapolis minorities.

It makes them refugees from their homeland as middle-class Whites demand the land of the poor. It’s a way for the City to bring in higher taxes on the backs of the displaced poor (instead of providing job-qualifying education and instead of complying with hiring).

This is what the Wirth Advisory Committee is attempting by “fronting” for the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, whose agenda is to convert Wirth Park from a North Minneapolis community golf course to a cross-country ski and bike path park for those who live outside North Minneapolis.

In January 2010, a group called the Wirth Advisory Committee became, in other words, the vehicle for the mayor and some Southside politicians to gentrify North Minneapolis by displacing low-taxpaying residents.

During the summer and golf season of 2010, as meetings were being held, it became clear that the advisory committee and the Minneapolis Park Board, custodian of golf in the city’s parks system, had already signed off on closing Wirth’s Par 3 Golf Course, the recreation and enterprise facility which serves the young in general and the African American community in particular.

The battle is enjoined. Friends of Par 3 was formed to resist this treachery, made up of a group as diverse as the many colors in the rainbow of opportunity for all, including political colors. It fights the excellent propaganda program of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation.

The Foundation’s false idea is that they have the interest of the Northside community at the forefront of their plan to redevelop more skiing and bike trails in the northern portion of the Theodore Wirth Park System. This is untrue, as seen in the fact that they have made no effort to make contact for meaningful and honest discussion with either the golfing community or the African American community.

More than 7,500 young people have learned valuable life skills through a number of youth organizations in the Twin Cities using Wirth Park’s Par 3, organizations that have been there for these young people, and particularly for young African Americans.

What The City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation is really committed to is to continue the further gentrification against the franchise of the African American. We are disappointed in the deception once again of the park board, which just five months ago raised the ire and anger of the civil rights community by their continuing attempt to turn Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in South Minneapolis into a doggy poo-poo park.

By the park board and City of Lakes giving aid and comfort to the devious and diabolical plan of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, it is serving gentrification and it is denying opportunity and life skills to the children of North Minneapolis.

One of the spokespersons of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation in the Nordic Ski Foundation publication had the audacity to suggest that North Minneapolis needed to capitulate and bow to the master plan for the final solution, making Wirth Par 3 disappear forever, and suggesting that the residents of North Minneapolis were being selfish. But is not the Foundation championing selfishness by asking the inner-city African American community to give up their park and their golf course to outsiders with lots more land out where they drive in from?

There is a lot of open land in the suburbs for skiing and bike trails. Let that be the target of economic uplift and Olympic competition that the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation pretends they are committed to. And let North Minneapolis, and by extension the City, allow North Minneapolis to develop the goals of success for the children of North Minneapolis and others who claim their right of return to tornado-damaged neighborhoods.

We stand against wrong ideas with negative consequences. Stay tuned.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio, Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 5 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.The MinneapolisStory.com.