From Waseca’s back pages: Mike Parry and Maplewood Park


Bluestem readers may have noticed that Mike Parry isn’t exactly as constant as the North Star. When the twittersphere got rough with observations about his tweet stream, the potentially damaging tweets were scrubbed

A sharp-eyed area resident brought a similar incident — one directly related to Parry’s veracity — to my attention yesterday. This new episode of revisionist history on former one-term council member Mike Parry’s part concerns Waseca’s Maplewood Park and the city council’s discussion of it in 2005.

In December 2008, after losing his seat on the council by a 2-to-1 margin, Parry told the Waseca County News that he has suggested selling the park in order to shake up and wake up Waseca’s citizens:

Only once in four years did he take action on the council that was not based on discussions with residents in his ward, he said.

That occasion was when he tried “to shock Wasecans into appreciating Maplewood Park,” according to Parry.

Fourteen hundred people rallied to tell the council they wanted Maplewood to remain a nature park.

Regardless of what people thought his intentions were, Parry said, “only Mike Parry knows what I had planned.”

“I’m proud of what I did,” he said, because the council should be opening doors to “one of the most beautiful sights Waseca has.”

The same citizens who rallied for Maplewood must rally now to help control spending in Waseca, he said.

That’s a charming tale, but a WCN article from the time of the controversy tells a much different story — and city council minutes themselves contradict one of Parry’s 2005 statements to the paper. The article isn’t in the WCN’s archives, which don’t appear to go back that far, so I’m working from a hard copy.

According to “Council ties on Maplewood Park vote” (Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005, page 1A, 3A):

A motion to ask for Requests for Proposals for both commerical and residential development of Waseca’s Maplewood Park was defeated by a 3-3 vote at last week’s council meeting. . . .

Council member Mike Parry said he made the motion because the process to find a use for the park is moving too slowly . . . .

Parry is not on the [Maplewood Park] task force, he said, because he is “so pro-development of that park” that he didn’t want to sway the group.

The task force stagnated, he said, and has provided no ideas for the park’s future.

He made the motion during discussion, he said, because he wanted the dialogue to start with the entire city council.

Parry wants the future of Maplewood to be a focal point of community discussion and he wants people to be actively involved in researching park options. That includes contractors, builders and big thinkers, he said.

While Parry was not on the Maplewood Park Task Force, it does sound like he had been talking to developers interested in the land (was he somehow charged to do this, though not on the task force?)

. . .He advised the four developers who called him to put their ideas in writing, to be presented to the council.

“Maybe it’s nothing more than a nature center with a coffee shop,” Parry said.


The Waseca City Council minutes from May 3, 2005, when the task force was proposed, state:

It was moved by Parry, seconded by Johnson, to form a committee which includes representatives from various boards and commission [sic] to consider future uses of Maplewood Park.

Considerable discussion was held regarding the need to further utulize the park, while still retaining the history and natural setting it evokes for Waseca.

Councilmember Parry stressed the need for a committee for further discussion of this item and stated he would be willing to serve on this committee that would include citizen input.

In May, Parry wanted to be on the task force he proposed. That’s quite a different story than Parry’s spin to the WCN in November. In November 2005, he told the paper he was “too pro-development” to be on the task force. By 2008, the entire episode three years before was simply a ruse to shock city residents into appreciatring the park.

Will Senate District 26 residents ever know where Parry stands? Or does he just go for shock value as a leader?