Minutes for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2020 Partners Meeting Notes – Draft

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
5 pm – 6:45 pm
Environmental Services Building
Ground Floor Conference Room
417 North 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Chuck Ballentine, Peter Bruce, Joan Campbell, Jackie Cherryhomes, Raymond Dehn, Steve Dietz, Dan Duffry, Alice Eicholz, Beth Elliott, Jamil Ford, David Frank, Katie Hatt, DJ Heinle, Denise Holt, Matt Hoy, Dan Kenney, Nick Koch, Ryan Kronzer, Chuck Leer, Tom Lincoln, Bill Madden, Andy McDermott, Ellen McInnis, Peter McLaughlin, Carl Michaud, Luke Olson, Robert Pfefferle, Kit Richardson, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, LJ Rotman, Kian Sabeti, Bob Salmen, Hank Salmen, Max Salmen, Marcy Schulte, John Sigmund, Ralph Strangis, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner

  1. Introductions
  2. Steering Committee Activity – Chuck Leer, North First Ventures, LLC
    1. Announcement about Mary deLaittre leaving 2020 Partners. 2020 Partners membership unanimously voted approval for Chuck to send a thank-you letter to Mary.
    2. Metro Transit Plans and Ford Center Update removed from agenda; presenters not available.
    3. Steering Committee discussed Interchange matter—logistics and process for advocacy.
    4. Funding for Budget $50,000; Minnesota Twins $10,000, CenterPoint $1,000. Chuck is talking to other funders; so far no commitments. $6,500 cash on hand.
  3. Interchange Update – Chuck Ballentine, Interchange Project
    Chuck gave an overview of the results of the Design Workshop held at the Central Library on January 5-6. Participants included more than 50 professionals and an independent team of facilitators. Working in six groups of 5-8, their goal was to validate or refute design concepts developed to date, create other viable options, and enhance the development of a preferred option. They reached agreement on the importance of having the tracks elevated, and there was progression from nine points to six on the Project Description. Three concepts were forwarded as preferred options: across from Ford Center; closer to Fifth and Sixth – what can be done to eliminate Indy-500-style racing around corner?; and a retail structure below tracks, with greenery (Workshop Groups 2, 5 and 6 from PowerPoint presentation.)

    Common themes were: elevated tracks – connectivity, safer for pedestrians; HERC screening – plantings, additional screening on plaza; active street level – pleasant to walk and traverse; wider, softer edge along Fifth Street North (Workgroup 5 concept).

    Predominant Design Concepts included elevated track and platform; shifting track away from Fifth Street North; green elements, plaza, and support for future development. With the completion of the Central Corridor there will be more people and greater need for event management.

    Chuck showed several different conceptual drawings for elevated tracks and platform, with street scenes, plaza, etc. One concept was modified as Covanta said it as too near a loading zone with potential for ash fallout.

    Next step is detailed analysis of elevated concept as the “Preferred Alternative.” Surviving said scrutiny, the elevated concept will be circulated in the spring to local cooperating agencies and the FTA for approval as the Preferred Alternative.

    Interchange Advocacy – Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner
    Commissioner McLaughlin gave an update on what is happening at the legislature. He said the proposal to stop the Central Corridor will not go through. Currently the funding (bonding bill) is on Congressional desks waiting out a 60-day meeting period which will expire the first week in April. The funding has been approved; it will go through.

    Governor Dayton included The Interchange Project in his budget for $8.5 million. We asked for $17 million. Governors get what they want on bonding bills. However, legislature says there will be no bonding bill. They will continue to have conversations with the Governor.

    Peter and Jerry Bell had a great set of visits with members of the Transportation & Bonding Committee. The message was that in 2014, when the Central Corridor is complete, there will be twice as many trains and people, with safety and logistical problems. The Committee members were receptive to the message. With more people currently taking transit than anticipated, we need the plaza. The Metropolitan Council is also in favor.

    Peter encouraged 2020 Members to get involved in advocating for The Interchange, contacting their legislators. If 2020 Members will provide their work and home addresses, 2020 Partners staff will provide them with contact information for their legislators and a list of talking points. Reception to this by the 2020 Membership was very positive.

    Several questions came from the floor.

    Q1: Is it better to call or email.
    A1: Handwritten letter is best – they are unusual, and legislators take notice. If you email, send them one at a time, not in batches. If phone calls are easier, do that. When it comes to crunch time, we will bury them with phone calls.

    Q2: When should we do this? Is there a 30-day window?
    A2: The bonding bill may not have a hearing until after Easter. They do the budget first, then policy, then bonding as an end of session deal. Contact legislators a couple of times – start now, then we will call upon you again when we need a second wave.

    Q3: When visiting with leadership, what is the relationship between Interchange and Central Corridor? Are the two codependent?
    A3: Peter has spoken with people in various decision-making positions, and described the process. Full funding of grant agreement will happen; we’re in a 60 day waiting period where members can ask questions. There will be no vote, no sending it back to committee. Then it goes to the Federal Transit Authority, and will be in the hands of President Obama. Already tens of millions of dollars have been spent; if it doesn’t go through there will be $100 million in damages.

    Peter ended by reiterating that Central Corridor will happen; there’s almost no chance it will get derailed. There is a contractual commitment for half the cost. Chuck added a plea to the members not to shy away from the Central Corridor. This is the first time 2020 Members, “wonderful public citizens,” have been asked to help; they have never been contacted individual with a request to help. To date nearly 25 have signed up to be involved in the advocacy project.

  4. Minnesota Twins Opening Day – Matt Hoy, Vice President, Operations, Minnesota Twins
    Matt started by saying this year’s approach to Opening Day is remarkably calm compared to last year. Target Field will host Big Ten schedule for the University of Minnesota. North Star will run for all home games. Transportation plans will continue as they were done last year at the end of the season.

    The ballpark field has been uncovered. The grass is green. Heat has been turned up in areas where the sun doesn’t hit the field, and it will be good for Opening Day. There are some big drifts in some of the seating areas.

    Season ticket sales were cut off at 25,000. Single game tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, March 19. They expect to sell out all games before Opening Day.

    The team is healthy. They’re not going to hurt anybody in spring training. Luke Hughes has been hitting great. Outfield is set, with a number of options. Pitching is sound – 6 guys for 5 spots. Questions about bullpen seem to be dissipating.

    Improvements since last season: Twins Tower (scoreboard) is pretty much complete. They’re adding radiant heat in upper levels. There’s no way to duplicate weather we had last year!

    The black spruce trees in center field have been removed; they were able to save all of them. Two will be planted near the entrance to the Target Field parking lot on Twins Way; one will be held for an online, public auction benefitting the Minnesota Twins Community Fund; one will be held for a season ticket holder contest; and the remaining 10 will be donated to the Minnesota State Park system. The trees will be replaced with ground cover that the batters can’t see, and the new surface for the back wall will be less shiny, safer for the players.

    Q1: What about non-baseball events at Target Field, like Food & Wine, etc.?
    A1: Non-baseball activities have exceeded all expectations. Last year there were 75,000 tours, and 150-200 non-baseball events. Twins are exploring other options: baseball events (RBI-Reviving Baseball in the Inner City), weddings, bar mitzvahs. The newness of the building is not wearing out.

    Q2: Will the box offices be open Saturday?
    A2: All will be open, but try to get tickets before then. Saturday will be crazy!

    Q3: What is the status of Gateway Project?
    A3: Matt’s understanding is that it is going forward.

  5. Forum: Taking stock – how are we doing?
    Karen Rosar invited 2020 Partners members to attend a focus group conversation to help create the vision for Downtown Minneapolis by 2025. The goal is to describe the challenges and opportunities to reach new levels of success in the areas of arts and cultural, crime and safety, development education, entertainment, hospitality, human services, marketing parks and greening, residency, restaurants and bars, retail, sports, tourism, transportation and transit and worship. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 29th at 6:00pm, at the Rock Island Lofts, 111 4th Ave North. An email with this information was sent to all members on March 17.

    David Frank brought up the subject of the Vikings stadium, and wondered if 2020 Partners should take a position on that. After extensive discussion about whether it’s a good idea for the Vikings Stadium to be situated in the Warehouse District – and where – the members decided they would hold a special meeting to hear more about the Vikings stadium issue. Lester Bagley and others will be invited to present. That has been set for Tuesday, April 19, 2011; location TBD.

  6. Special Meeting on Vikings Stadium Issue: Tuesday, April 19, location TBD
  7. Next regular meeting: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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