3/9/20 Parks & Environmental Commission Meeting Notes

See the agenda packet for this meeting.

Friends of the Parks Update

Lona Doolan presenting on behalf of Ashley McCormick, Friends of the Parks

Topic: Silver Point Park demonstration garden update

  • Next: It’s time to order seeds
    • General Pollinator Seed mix: shorter plants for the dry, sunny, windy hillside. Includes creeping thyme.
    • Monarch seed mix
  • Recommendations: Expand City Bee Lawns
    • Public Works: evaluate areas to convert to bee lawns
    • Public Works: intersperse native plants in existing gardens
  • Q&A
    • Chair Bellinger: could we propagate previous years’ plantings? Lona: We can, but it may take another 3 years before they’re large enough to split, but could perhaps extract seeds earlier.
    • Comm. Penner: Which companies were the plants purchased from? Lona: Will look this up.
    • Comm. Penner: are the plantings you’re supposed to mow once a year different from other native plantings? Lona: The seed mix plants do stay short, but you can mow if they start to get too unsightly.
    • Comm. Niemi: Can creeping thyme spread to neighboring areas? Lona: They should mostly stay within the intended area due to bordering paths and shady areas, and that the nearest resident will be using the same type of seed mix in her lawn.
    • Chair Bellinger: Can use this type of seed mix in other parks? Lona: It should be considered for any difficult-to-mow areas like this one that’s rather steep.
    • Dr. Palmer: Will an informational placard be installed at the space. Lona: it is indeed the plan: information about the seed mix and for residents to participate.
    • Find information about the plantings or the organization: Friends of the Parks on Facebook.

Central Park/Stadium Field and Turf Feasibility Work

Dr. Troy Urdahl, St. Anthony High School Director of Athletics and Activities
Dr. Renee Corneille, St. Anthony New Brighton School District Superintendent
Gary Goldsmith, St. Anthony Sports Boosters

  • [Slides were not provided in advance.]
  • Dr. Corneille
    • District strategic directions: Community, Students, and Staff. In this case, we’re considering the Community
    • A 2019 Fall Friday night case study
      • Roughly 1000 people in the park
      • Kids from 3 and up
    • Fields bring the community together, and Central Park paths
    • City doesn’t provide youth sports, so the St. Anthony Boosters do
    • The schools do indeed use the park
  • Gary Goldsmith
    • Organizing all the sports within the limited space used to be a big challenge and the fence upgrades allowed for more neighboring sports
    • Need space for 75 home games in Stadium Field
    • Each year, they have to keep one field unused to regenerate the grass
    • There are more and more kids in SANB
    • Turf came up 6-7 years ago and it wasn’t the time yet
  • Dr. Corneille
    • Stadium improvements investigation process
      • Improved press box?
      • Add a track
      • Improve the turf
      • Confirm the need, and find partners
  • Dr. Urdahl
    • Feasibility Study (in progress)
    • PE, co-curricular, interscholastic, and booster activities are limited by field space/closures
    • Turf would improve use for existing groups, and add the ability for marching band
    • Lost Wilshire Park field
    • Reduce travel needs
    • SANB is 50 acres short for MDE new school construction
    • 2000 youth users annually and growing
    • Turf would double the use of the Stadium Field
    • City has explored improvements as part of its goal setting
    • Soil Stability: Braun Intertec preliminary soil study showed the surface would support turf
    • Maintenance costs $20K/year currently, $5K/year if turf
    • Stadium running track is pea gravel and unable to be used for competitive events. They have to travel to Spring Lake Park for track events.
    • Cost
      • $1.2 mill for turf
      • $2.4 mill for turf and track
    • Current funding
      • $280K grant from Hennepin County is already secured
      • $20K funds raised in local organizations with matching support
    • Benefits to turf project include student health, improved attendance, higher GPAs
  • Q&A
    • Student Liaison Carre: Where would the $15K annual savings go? Dr. Urdahl: Into its eventual replacement: turf requires replacement every 10-12 years.
    • Dr. Palmer: Can we find information about this project anywhere? Dr. Corneille: Not yet, we will add information once the feasibility study is complete.
    • Comm. Penner: How often do you need to resurface the track? Dr. Urdahl: Replacement is similar to turf. Roughly 10-12 years.
    • Comm. Penner: How do you double the play time? Dr. Urdahl: by not limiting play time to 2-3 hours one day per week and opening the field earlier in the year.
    • Student Liaison Carre: How long would the installation take? Dr. Urdahl: months.
    • Student Liaison Carre: When would you do it? Dr. Urdahl: Late fall or early spring.
    • Chair Bellinger: Are other parks going to become more available due to turf installation? Dr. Urdahl: Wilshire Park, practice park, other Central Park fields.
    • Dr. Palmer: Are there any similar fields/tracks in the area to look at? Dr. Urdahl: Roseville is adding one. Moundsview, Irondale, Spring Lake Park, Minneapolis schools have them already.
    • Comm. Niemi: What does PE use for running now? Dr. Urdahl: Central Park paths
    • Comm. Niemi: Would other teams be able to use the Stadium Field turf? Dr. Urdahl: Yes.
    • Comm. Penner: Would the proposed track be similar in size? Dr. Urdahl: The track would be wider, but cut into the existing field, not the overall size.
    • Chair Bellinger: What’s next? Dr. Corneille: Budgeting
    • Comm. Niemi: What sources are you looking at? Dr. Corneille: Investigating bonds and lease levy
    • Student Liaison Carre: Is it down to financing to start this project? Dr. Corneille: Yes. But do still need to secure more.
    • Comm. Niemi: Will non-district users be able to rent Stadium Field? Dr. Urdahl: We’ve never had that opportunity, but we have enough programming here that we may not be able to. But, the potential is there?
    • Chair Bellinger: Will we need more parking? Dr. Urdahl: No. Dr. Corneille: Everybody is going to be walking there.

Silverwood Park Update

Alyssa Baguss, Silverwood Park Supervisor

  • Overview of Silverwood Park’s amenities. [See packet for slides presented]

Hennepin County Backyard Composting

Lona Doolan

  • Welcome new commissioners
  • Hennepin County is offering cedar frame and wire mesh compost bins for $50. A lid is available for an additional $15.
  • Pickup event 5/16 10-noon in city hall parking lot.
  • Chair: Is there any limit for ordering bins? Lona: No.
  • Order form will be available soon

ISD 282 Environmental Grant Update

Lona Doolan

  • Hennepin County Green Partners Environmental Education Grant to promote student leadership awarded for the 2019/20 school year
  • [See agenda slide for 5 intended outcomes]
  • Environmental Projects at high school:
    • Students got together to build no-waste bathroom kits
    • Students raised funds
  • Currently reviewing 3 proposals for the solar demonstration installation. Will work with the superintendent.
  • Q&A
    • Comm.: Where are we considering installing this? Lona: Between the high school and the pavilion, nearer to the pavilion
    • Chair Bellinger: Could these be installed in other parks? Lona: Yes, Because they are self-sustaining, this would be a good opportunity to install elsewhere.

Citizens for Sustainability Updates

Lona Doolan

  • Founded in 2013 by Clif and Betty Ware
  • Jay Hartmann has asked that CFS present ideas through the Parks and Environmental Commission, so she presents at each meeting to provide a quarterly update
  • [See agenda slides for details]
  • Anyone is welcome to come to CFS meetings.
  • Requesting that a PEC member help at one of the CFS parks cleanup location
  • Organics drop-off site is a great example where we partnered with the PEC to run the project through the city.
  • Note: hoping to reintroduce a multi-city collaboration on a sustainability fair again
  • Will show more specific actions at our next update after finishing our strategic planning
  • Requesting collaboration with PEC on multiple goals
  • Other events not on the slides
    • Nativity Pollinator Event: Regenerative Gardening
    • March 23 Pollinator Forum at Silverwood Park
    • March 30 Don Shelby will be speaking
  • Jay: Can the Hennepin Compost bins be available at the City Cleanup? Lona: I will ask and get back to you.

City Updates

  • Ice Skating Rinks are closed (2200 users this season)
    • Comm. Rengstorf: How are the attendees tracked? Jay: There are high school students monitoring the sites
    • Comm. Niemi: How do these numbers compare to previous years? Jay: Depends on the weather, but still a little low.
  • Tree Trust partnership, Hennepin County Forestry, pruning workshop, and Tree Stewardship training
  • Will need to collaborate with school district (Will provide update after meeting with the district)
    • Tiling C2 and C3 fields. Varsity and C1 have been. Will improve fields.
    • Tennis Court resurfacing
    • Turf and track
    • Trail replacement in Central Park
  • Q&A
    • Comm. Niemi: Any other surfaces for tennis? Jay: It’s really just concrete or asphalt.

Commissioner Updates

  • Chair Bellinger: Attended the city’s planning event

Earth Day Proclamation

Dan Kunitz

  • Chair Bellinger: PEC will forward recommendation for proclamation.

By Dan Kunitz

Dan Kunitz is a Minnesota native interested in decarbonization. He is a business analyst at the University of Minnesota and volunteers his website and design skills to Citizens for Sustainability.

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