OPINION | Swede Hollow Park – commuter rail?

Friends of Swede Hollow is working on a campaign to keep commuter rail out of Swede Hollow Park. One of the proposed light rail routes for the Rush Line corridor (a transit line from Forest Lake to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul) would pass through Swede Hollow Park. Friends of Swede Hollow does not oppose the Rush Line or light rail, but strongly oppose the proposed route through Swede Hollow. There are other ways for the Rush Line to get to Union Depot.

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Corcoran Park news

Do you have a talent or skill you’re willing to show and tell in the neighborhood? Do you have five or more people you know that would sign up to take a class of yours? Corcoran Park is ALWAYS interested in more programming from Corcoran residents. Call or stop by if you or someone you know may have a programming idea.

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Kids weigh in on Bethune Park renovation plans

Rust adorns the frames of the rapidly aging playground sets standing in North Minneapolis’s Bethune Park, the once brightly-painted metal jungle gyms and swing sets now faded by decades of steady use. Likewise, the nearby sun-bleached concrete wading pool stands empty for the season.

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Report calls for more public space along Green Line

The opening of the Green Line light rail has environmental advocates and others evaluating the University of Minnesota’s amount of green space.A report released last week says the University and surrounding neighborhoods should make way for more public spaces, as an influx of residents is expected in the area along the light rail in the next decade.The report, released by the Minnesota chapter of the Trust for Public Land, says additional households near the Green Line, which cuts through the heart of campus, could contribute to the overcrowding of public spaces, including those on and around the University.Despite the report’s findings, University officials say they’re not concerned about adding more public spaces.Pamela Wheelock, vice president of University Services, said the University considers green space a priority, but she said the school isn’t planning on converting any of its land into public parks right now.The report estimates that as many as 1,600 new households will pop up in the University’s area within the next 10 years.The University and its surrounding area have a high amount of public space, according to the report. About 11 percent of the area is already available for the public, and that number is the highest of any area along the Green Line, the report says.Wheelock said there are already many public places on campus for people to enjoy. Specifically, she mentioned Northrop Mall and the Gateway Plaza near the McNamara Alumni Center.“I can guarantee you that it’s not just the campus community, but [also] members of the public, [who] enjoy those spaces,” Wheelock said.Tim Busse, communications director for University Services, said there is green space around the Green Line on campus, including trees and other landscaping amenities along Washington Avenue Southeast.Although the report says the expected population increase could put stress on public land resources, it also outlines a variety of paths the University could take to achieve a greener, more publicly accessible environment.One option is to begin “stacking” green infrastructure onto existing structures, the report said.The University could achieve that by creating parks and green spaces under bridges, power lines or other unconventional, publicly owned land, said Jenna Fletcher, program director of Trust for Public Land.Though the trust advocates for a variety of public land uses such as parks and other amenities, Fletcher said there isn’t enough public land when considering the amount of green space that’s needed for a high quality of life in the Twin Cities.Parks won’t be enough to alleviate the coming stress on public places, she said, adding that it will be important to make some privately held land available for use. Continue Reading

Thoughts on Target Field Station

With the emerging debacle of The Yard prominent in the press (Strib and blogosphere), it is natural to overlook the fact that downtown Minneapolis just opened a brand new public space. It is called Target Field Station (formerly The Interchange), and despite Tom Fisher’s review on MinnPost, people actually use it and it is pretty nice. So considering downtown Minneapolis, with its skyway system, failed parks over the years, largely treeless sidewalks, and overall general inability to produce a good downtown park or public space, Target Field Station is a huge victory for the city. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Target Field Station shouldn’t win any awards (although it probably will) but we’ll take it because it does decidedly improve the public realm downtown. But the real litmus test of the success of Target Field Station will be how people use it over the years, so let’s capture an early snapshot. Continue Reading

Doggie date night #1: Lake Nokomis

By this time of the summer, the “ohmydog, the weather isn’t trying to kill me anymore!” novelty of being outside can wear off, and it gets easy to fall into a rut: you and your partner take your pooch to the dog park and then to your favorite dog-friendly patio, night after night, all summer long. And it’s lovely, and you enjoy it, but isn’t it time to shake it up? Winter always comes too soon, so you’ve got to get out there and soak up the best of summer while you can. Continue Reading

Weather puts Webber Park’s new pool behind schedule

The center of Webber Park lies bare, a large portion of land fenced off to the public while construction crews lay the groundwork a new, naturally-filtered swimming pool and the changing house. Groundbreaking on this project began last summer, and while progress has been made, the forces of nature have ensured that it has been an arduous, slow process.The park’s current major overhaul has been underway for roughly a year, and many community members are now wondering how much longer this first phase will take. A long winter and unprecedented rainfall throughout spring have held contractors back, forcing the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board to push the forecasted completion date from August 1 to Labor Day.The park board staff say they initially meant to communicate these changes in schedule to the community sooner, but the regular updates they had planned fell behind.“We usually have a good track record,” said Dawn Sommers, the park board’s communications director. “But we dropped the ball here. We did not do our typical standard keeping people informed.”According to Sommers, regular updates fell behind and were eventually phased out. Continue Reading

48 acres of Minneapolis riverfront up for development

With the City of Minneapolis getting out of the shipping business at this year’s end, development staff are gearing up to offer the Upper Harbor site to businesses in partnership with parks, hoping they’ll hire Northside residents. And one private developer asked them to think about long-term leasing instead, since “nothing is forever.”

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Dog Park detective: Alpine Off-Leash Dog Park

The Day: Sunday, July 13th, a cool and breezy 66 degrees

The Dog: Snuggly Buggly, a Border Collie mix

The Park: Alpine Off-leash Dog Park (off of Sunfish Lake Boulevard and Alpine Drive in Ramsey)

The Amenities: Large fenced-in park with a doggie drinking fountain, dog duty pick-up bags, and picnic benches Continue Reading