Curious to know what's happening in the fifth park district? Open this message to find out!
View this email in your browser
Share on Facebook Like 5th District Dispatch V5.12 on Facebook

Happening in A Park Near You

Santa Brunch

McRae Recreation Center | Dec 15th 10 am-noon
Small fee | All Ages
HO!HO!HO! It is time once again for our Santa Brunch! For a very small fee you can enjoy a home cooked meal of: Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Fruit, Coffee and Juice! There will be a fabulous art project to create and take home and you can have your picture taken with Santa while you whisper your Wish List into his ear!

Holiday Lunch and Cookie Bake

Morris Park Recreation Center | Dec 15th 11:30-1:30 pm
Free | All Ages
The kids are getting excited about the holidays and so are we! Bring your family and join us for some holiday fun. Enjoy lunch prepared by park staff then bake and decorate a variety of holiday cookies.

Frosty Fiesta!

Powderhorn Recreation Center | Dec 25 noon-3 pm
Free | All Ages
Start your holidays off right with a trip to the park for our family holiday celebration. A bounce house for the kids, family bingo with fun treats, a craft project, popcorn for sale and more!

Forestry Update
As leaves fall and trees settle into dormancy for the coming winter, MPRB forestry staff are wrapping up removals of ash and other tree categories for the season. To maintain and even expand the urban forest, we also planted some 8,300 trees this year.
About 1,800 were planted in parks and the balance of 6,500 went into boulevards along Minneapolis streets. Oak trees and coffeetrees, nearly 1,000 of each in various cultivars and species, were among the most-planted categories; planetrees were a close third.
Numbers of note!
Of course, an urban forest is more than the sum of its trees. But some numbers are worth noting.
For example, 900 oak trees may sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective: Oak still comprise just 7% of Minneapolis' street trees - and that's up from only 2% in 2004. Meanwhile, coffeetrees have moved from less than 1% to 3%. These single-digit gains are how we measure success in developing a diverse urban forest.
Two other measures of this type of success, also illustrated in the charts below:
The number of tree categories that comprised 2% or more of the total trees planted in 2018: Parks got 20 categories, while streets got 18.
Overall, 16 tree categories comprised 1% or more of the overall street tree population in 2018 - up from only nine categories back in 2004.

Seeing the forest for the trees: Diversity rules!
As shown in the charts above and below, MPRB's overall mission is to ensure variety, which protects the entire urban forest from the kind of blight brought by diseases like Dutch elm or insects like emerald ash borer.

Some key MPRB practices advance this mission:
Plant hundreds of tree types from dozens of categories
Mix three to five or more tree categories on any individual city block
Limit any tree category within a neighborhood to 10% (that's a limit, not a goal)
In practice, that limit 10% limit means that MPRB continues to plant tree categories that currently represent only single-digit percentages in parks and along streets. Over time, this lowers the percentages for categories that currently dominate - maples, lindens and yes, even elms - as shown in the street-tree charts below
Up-and-coming trees!
As diversity develops throughout the urban forest, you may begin to see more of these categories:
Maackia - A great option for our climate and urban conditions, maackia cultivars are becoming more readily available. Their small size makes them a good option on streets where space is limited.
Corktree - If we could get more, we'd plant more! But supplies are limited, since it takes years for nurseries to respond to changes in the demand for specific trees; most of the corktrees that MPRB procures are five to seven years old.
Larch (aka Tamarack) - Locals may be familiar with this tree from the Quaking Bog in Theodore Wirth Park - but the larch holds promise in parks and even along streets; MPRB is monitoring plantings in both locales.
Find out more about MPRB's park care and maintenance and its stewardship of the urban forest and park trees.

Seasonal Trail Update

Now that Winter has arrived, seasonal use trail signage has been deployed and trails are being plowed and salted/sanded for the winter season. Please follow posted signage and yield to pedestrians. The MPRB has moved to an asset management based work ticket system to help track what areas have been plowed this season, if you have noticed trail segments that are not plowed, but that have been in the past, please let me know so I can notify management that those segments were missed when mapping out the winter plowing schedules. This change helps to standardize service delivery and ensure that institutional knowledge is retained generation after generation. 

Ever wondered why only the trails furthest from the lakes are plowed? This practice helps reduce salt runoff into our water bodies, protecting water quality.

Superintendent Selected

The board recently selected Al Bangoura to be the next Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Bangoura is the Recreation Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, which includes Charlotte, NC and serves over 1.1 million people. Bangoura currently oversees community and recreation services for the county’s 17 recreation facilities and three senior and active adult facilities. Bangoura is currently leading the construction and program development of the county’s first 100,000 sq. ft recreation facility. He is a Certified Park and Recreational Professional (CPRP) and has a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Prior to joining Mecklenburg County, Bangoura served as the Director of Recreation Centers and Programs for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. From 2001 – 2015, Bangoura held a variety of recreation leadership positions with the MPRB.

2019 Budget Update

The board unanimously passed an amended version of the superintendent's budget on December 5th. Several amendments I supported to ensure that current service levels were maintained have been incorporated into the budget. There will be no cuts to hours or access at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. There will be no cuts to the planting of trees, or grinding of stumps. More full time Park Keepers will be hired to care for and maintain our parks. A full time position has been added to the forestry division to better manage and expand community outreach and engagement in caring for our urban canopy - helping our young trees to get the support they need to become high functioning and successful mature members of our city tree community for generations to come.

The Intergovernmental Relations add to staff that has been the subject of several heated debates and negative press coverage due to the appearance of political patronage and questionable process remained in the budget. The awarding of a $65,000 contract to a lobbyist that the board as a whole did not have an opportunity to vote on, diverging from a 20 year practice of bringing lobbying contracts to the board for approval even if they do not meet the $100,000 financial threshold for public review has rightly been the subject of public scrutiny and as I have received questions from my constituents, I have been regularly questioning aspects of the process used to create and award this contract. I am of the opinion that such a position is not necessary, as the job description from the request for proposals is essentially what the Superintendent, executive staff and Commissioners are hired or elected to do, unfortunately the majority of my colleagues did not agree. Whether or not this position is filled will be up to the discretion of the incoming superintendent. 

An updated version of the budget itself will be published in January.   

The proposed budget and related documents, including a summary of the amendments, are available for viewing at or by calling 612‐230‐6400.

At our Dec 5th meeting to approve the 2019 budget, a majority of my colleagues suspended our board rules and policies and renamed park board headquarters for Interim Superintendent Merrill. I voted against amending the agenda to include this motion for several reasons: there was no prior public notice of the intention to rename a park asset, the annual budget meeting by the park board at city hall is not broadcast and held in a conference room behind closed doors, and due to the lack of a time certain for this meeting it is very sparsely attended by the public.

I supported Commissioner Forney's amendment to abide by the public notification component of the park board's naming policy which requires that we make serious efforts to notify the public of our intent to name or rename park assets through outreach to elected officials, neighborhood associations representing the area where the naming is proposed and adjacent to the neighborhood where the naming is proposed as well as by holding at least two public hearings to allow for public input. This amendment failed to garner enough support to be adopted. In the end, I abstained from voting on this motion as I was blindsided by the board action and had no opportunity to gather feedback from the people I represent on the appropriateness of renaming a park building for Interim Superintendent Merrill. 

Doing business in this way does not meet the standard for transparency that I hold our local government bodies to and is unfortunately becoming a common practice supported by a majority of the board members I currently serve with. From what I've heard from my constituents over the past five years, more transparency in decision making is strongly desired, not less, and I will continue to encourage my colleagues to follow our adopted rules and policies to ensure the public is given ample opportunity to know what business is being conducted by the park board on their behalf.

For those of you that want to be able to participate in the renaming process, although the board chose to forgo the public comment opportunities called for in board policy, there is an Open Time for public comment on any topic at our meeting on December 19th at 5:30pm. Members of the public unable to attend but wishing to comment, can send me emailed statements that I can submit for the public record. 

Planning Projects

Community Engagement Policy

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is updating its Community Engagement Policy.  The policy guides MPRB’s community engagement processes and practices, and your input will help shape an updated policy.

About this project:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Community Engagement Policy outlines how community stakeholders participate in planning all MPRB park facility construction and redevelopment projects. This project will evaluate the current policy and redraft it based on public feedback.

MPRB staff spent months reflecting on experiences, having conversations with park users, researching best practices around the nation, and learning from local and national thought leaders and community stakeholders to develop a draft update to the MPRB Community Engagement Policy.

The policy guides MPRB’s community engagement processes and practices, and public input will continue to shape how the MPRB uses feedback from the public to influence park projects, programming and care. Click the link below to view the current policy and a draft of the new policy:

Current MPRB Community Engagement Policy

Draft Community Engagement Policy

To subscribe to updates on this effort, please visit the project page.

Master Planning for Hiawatha Golf Course Property

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is in the process of orchestrating a master planning process to explore methods of balancing water management and use of the Hiawatha Golf Course property. The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) process is one of the best paths to a robust conversation supporting the master planning process. During the master planning process, the CAC will meet frequently, even as MPRB staff and consultants reach out to others interested in the future of the golf course property through other formal and informal input opportunities.

The MPRB has updated its website with a page that is directed solely to this project. The site is being populated with a calendar of meetings and events, master planning progress updates, and presentations made during CAC and other meetings—in addition to the core materials gathered through the past few years of study. There are links to work being conducted by other agencies that might inform the work of master planning the golf course property, and a link that allows interested stakeholders to be notified about the project.

CAC meetings are open to the public, and formal meeting notices will be sent out by email. The final 15 minutes of each meeting are dedicated to providing the public an opportunity to address the CAC and members of the public in attendance. The next CAC meeting is being scheduled for February, to share initial draft design concepts and notice will go out via gov delivery when the details are available. The materials shared with the CAC and attending members of the public at the December CAC meeting will be available on the project page early next week.

All CAC meetings are public and anyone interested in the creation of a long-term plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course Property is welcome to attend.

Previous Action

At the July 25, 2018 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commisioners meeting, commissioners approved a modified Resolution 2018-230 after the Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan CAC requested clarification on the parameters of the new master plan for the property.

After a lengthy public testimony period and board debate, commissioners voted 6-2 to approve the modified version of Resolution 2018-230. The modified resolution directs the CAC to only consider a reduced pumping scenario and bring forward a solution that includes, at a minimum, a flood-resilient and ecologically-driven nine-hole configuration for a golf course on the property.

The modified Resolution 2018-230 also included Board direction to the CAC to reflect in the master plan appropriate methods of recognizing the role of Hiawatha Golf Course and the history of black golfers in the Minneapolis park system.

Please visit the project page for more information and to sign up for notification of upcoming meetings.

Lake Nokomis Shoreline Enhancements

Shoreline enhancements will improve habitat for both aquatic and upland animal species. It will stabilize erosion, seek to remove invasive plants, and create a functional continuum of shoreline zones. Plantings will accommodate fluctuations in water level, allowing for resilience to changing water level conditions in the lake. Improvements will be constructed primarily along the north shoreline of the lake.

Project still requires regulatory approval
Work expected to be performed in 2019

The Lake Nokomis Shoreline Enhancements project is still working its way through an extensive permitting process and work is expected to take place in 2019. An update on the permitting process and project design is below.

Permitting Update

Development of construction drawings is nearly complete. However, Lake Nokomis is a contributing property to the Grand Rounds Historic District, which requires the project to go through a Section 106 permit process that accounts for any effects on the historic nature of the Grand Rounds.

First, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will review the project, then it will send the plans to the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

The proposed project creates a natural shoreline edge instead of the hard edge the old Works Progress Administration (WPA)-era retaining walls created around the lake. This project only affects areas where these walls never existed or deteriorated and collapsed long ago, so the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board believes the proposed design has no adverse effect on historic properties and will meet the required standards. 

Approval by USACE and SHPO and completion of construction design documents are all expected by the end of 2018. The project is expected to be bid and built in 2019.

Project Design

The proposed design uses three different planting zones along the shoreline. 

The Emergent Wetland Zone starts at the ordinary high-water level (OHWL) and extends into the lake. Once established, new aquatic plants will reduce wave energy to help reduce erosion. A temporary fence will be installed to help plants establish. 

The Shoreline Buffer Zone lies between the OHWL and wetland boundary. It will be planted with a seed mix that's compatible with shoreline environmental elements.

The Upland Buffer Zone starts at the wetland boundary and extends away from the lake until four feet from the paved trail. It will be planted with a seed mix that's compatible with upland environmental elements. The four-foot strip will be mowed grass. Another temporary fence will also protect new planting areas and connect to the emergent wetland fence.

A variety of access points will still remain so park user can still access the lake.

Questions about this project can be sent to the project manager, Jon Duesman

Subscribe to the project page to receive updates.

Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan
A Master Plan is needed to map management strategies befitting a river-adjacent, ecologically rich regional park with the potential to see two very different river futures based on the future of the lock and dam structures nearby on the Mississippi River. 

The gorge encompasses parkland flanking both the east and west banks of the Mississippi River between Bridge No. 9 and north edge of Minnehaha Regional Park.

The draft framework concepts and diagrams were shared with the CAC at their last meeting and are available on the project page for review and comment. Feedback can be submitted via survey.


The Final CAC meeting will be held Monday December 10th, 2018 from 5:30-7:30pm at MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road.

At the meeting, the CAC will be asked to make final recommendations on design frameworks for focal areas within Mississippi Gorge Regional Park. If you're unable to attend the meeting, please weigh in online by following the Design Concepts Survey link below.

MPRB staff is aware of community concern regarding the potential of mountain biking in the gorge. This concern will be addressed at the meeting, when natural surface trails and draft frameworks are discussed. Please note that all frameworks currently reflect and support the current use of natural surface trails within the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park, which are pedestrian-only trails.

Subscribe to the project page to receive updates.

Minnehaha Creek Parkway Regional Trail Master Plan

Master Planning is underway for this regional trail. The trail encompasses parkland along both sides Minnehaha Creek between Minnehaha Regional Park and the western city limit.

Over the winter, the project design team will review all feedback received from public meetings, events, and online comments, and create draft concept drawings showing potential improvements along the trail. A published version of the Community Engagement Summary can be found on the project page under "Key Documents."

The concept drawings will be published for public review and discussion in early 2019, then those concepts will be refined after park users have a chance to weigh in on the initial designs.

Subscribe to the project page to receive updates.

Minnehaha Creek FEMA Repairs

At their October 25, 2018 meeting, the MCWD Board of Managers awarded a construction contract of $163,844 to Sunram Construction, Inc. of Corcoran, MN to complete flood repairs along Minnehaha Creek at 9 sites in Minneapolis. The repair work will begin this fall and is expected to continue through summer 2019.This project is happening in conjunction with the MPRB's Minnehaha Parkway Trail master planning process. Please visit the project page for more information. 

Phelps Park Improvements

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will be replacing the playground and wading pool at Phelps Park in 2018/2019! Thank you to all who have participated in the Community input process by sharing your thoughts and opinions on the future of Phelps Park. The schematic drawings reflect the comments and preferences shared by park users and neighbors including the Boys and Girls Club, neighboring childcare centers, neighborhood residents and community organizers.The board of commissioners approved the design plan and construction will begin in Spring of 2019.

Final Schematic Design Concept [PDF]

Questions about this project should be directed to the project manager : Kelly Wilcox,

Subscribe to the project page to receive updates. 

The MPRB is conducting a system-wide needs assessment for our recreation centers and their programs called RecQuest.  As you've no doubt noticed, many of our recreation centers are in need of updating. This project is helping the MPRB discover the gaps between our current facilities and offerings as well as the recreation and programming needs of the community to ensure that investments are made responsibly. It also helps ensure that both rec centers and their programming keep pace with the changing demographics and recreation trends of Minneapolis residents. This assessment project gives you a chance to tell us what features and activities you want to see in your recreation centers.

Two important pieces to the project's success will be inclusive community engagement and a racial equity impact assessment, or looking at how racial and ethnic groups may be affected by any proposed decisions. The MPRB Community Outreach department is helping lead both of these essential efforts.

There is no preset agenda or outcome for this assessment, all recommendations will be determined only after the completion of a multi-faceted facilities assessment and in-depth community engagement process. This project will set the stage for the next 25-30 years of investment in recreation centers, most of which are 40-50 years old.

The community advisory committee made recommendations to the board during the month of July: 

The four recommended programming priorities are: 

Active Older Adults
Youth Development
Access to Equitable Athletics
Equitable School-Age Educational Programs

Keep abreast of this effort via RecQuest project page.


Ecological System Plan

Planning is underway for the Ecological System Plan for the Minneapolis Park system. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) are preparing this plan together. This plan will set a vision for making parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.

Specifically, the ecological system plan will:

  • Compile, create, and illustrate city-wide ecological data
  • Craft a vision for natural resources and public lands within the watershed and city
  • Outline guiding principles for management
  • Challenge the community to rethink the city around them – from the local neighborhood park to the Grand Rounds to backyards – in terms of ecological function, benefit, and health.
Draft Goals and Strategies have been developed to frame how MPRB can address environmental impacts and concerns in Minneapolis parks.  Your input is welcome!  Read through the Goals and Strategies and then complete a survey to share your response.

Subscribe to the project page to be notified of upcoming meetings.  Please take this survey to help the MPRB understand how you connect to nature in the city.



Bossen Field Park

A sweeping overhaul of Bossen Field Park began in 2016. Last fall, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Bossen Field Park users celebrated a number a new and upgraded park amenities: 

  • Six new softball fields realigned in a safer layout
  • New playground
  • New full-size basketball court
  • New pathways and parking
  • Two new open play fields

Park Building Upgrades

The park improvements will continue this fall when the existing park building is renovated thanks to rehabilitation funds allocated through the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20). Building improvements include:

  • Repairs to the damaged building exterior
  • Bathroom upgrades
  • New single-use ADA-compliant bathroom
  • Building lighting upgrades
  • New door security hardware

The water line to the building, which supplies water for the wading pool and bathrooms, is also scheduled to be replaced. The deteriorating condition of the pipe requires full replacement, despite multiple repairs in recent years.

The MPRB appreciates the public’s patience while the second phase of this project is completed. Work on the building is expected to begin in August and wrap up this fall. We ask that you please stay away from areas under construction.

The project page provides an opportunity to sign up for updates and to be notified of news related to the project.

Sibley Park Public Works Lift Station Construction
The City of Minneapolis Public Works department is doing repairs on a lift station located on their property adjacent to Sibley Park. Residents interested in additional information on this project should contact 311 or Council Memeber Johnson's office. 

Minnehaha Park Area Regional Sewer Improvements Project

The Metropolitan Council shared information with residents and businesses near Minnehaha Park at a public hearing on May 22 about a proposed sewer improvement project. Construction work, scheduled to begin in 2019, would rehabilitate an aging regional sanitary sewer tunnel under Minnehaha Creek, Hiawatha Avenue and the METRO Blue Line LRT along the north side of East Minnehaha Parkway. The information shared at that meeting included these handouts.

Project Page:

NPP20 (20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan)
Earlier this year, a new round of rehabilitation projects began at 33 neighborhood parks throughout the city. The focus is on the repair or replacement of aging, obsolete and non-functioning assets, ranging from exterior lighting and sidewalks to roofs and heating systems at park facilities.

For details on the scope of the projects and a list of the parks where work will take place, read the full news release on the MPRB website.

Commissioner Musich represents the fifth park district in the South East corner of Minneapolis.

Hello from the 5th District!

If you're not interested in receiving emails like this one, please scroll to the bottom and click on unsubscribe to remove yourself from the list.

Commissioner Musich sends out newsletters about what's happening in the fifth park district periodically.  Previous newsletters can be found here.


Communicate with residents about what's happening in the district. Suggest your neighbors subscribe to this newsletter! Subscription page:

Broaden access to youth sports and environmental education.

Utilize a systemic approach to capital improvements and planning processes to ensure that investments being made build on system wide goals and are done equitably.


Commissioner Musich has a BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, and has worked in the banking industry for the past 16 years, six of them as a Corporate Accountant and for the past seven years in various capacities on an IT team.  Along with several other neighborhood residents, she started the Friends of Lake Nokomis, a non-profit stewardship and advocacy group that partners with local government agencies and other non-profits to protect, preserve and improve Lake Nokomis and its surrounding park.  She has also served the community as a University of Minnesota Master Gardener with Hennepin County.   

Special Interests 

The commissioner, along with her husband and son have converted the lawns of their urban lot just south of Lake Nokomis into a small farm with honeybees in a second story apiary, plum trees, a cider apple tree, lingonberry and blueberry bushes, grape vines, a vegetable plot and herb gardens.  To bring more pollinators to their gardens, established perennial beds have been slowly converted to house native plants, and turf has been over seeded with yarrow, marjoram, tickweed, ground plum, creeping thyme, calico aster and clover and a green roof prairie was incorporated into the rebuilding of their garage. Learn about Bee Lawns and Green Roofs

Avid cyclists, skiers, canoists, sailors and swimmers you can often find them cruising the trails, swimming or boating throughout the system. The commissioner's son participates in the MPRB's and MPS youth sports leagues bringing the family to park courses and athletic fields throughout the city for games. While recuperating from outdoor adventures, the commissioner can be found immersed in a book.

Current reading selection: Becoming by Michelle Obama. The former first lady's memoir is a journey through the events that helped shape this amazing woman into the person she is today. A compelling story teller, Mrs. Obama's written an engaging and candid narrative of her life.  


Discover Your Next Park Adventure!

Each year, through generous donations from corporate sponsors and local musicians, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board puts on concerts and shows films throughout the summer season. This year, I've added all of the events occurring in or very near the 5th district to my Facebook events to make it easier for you to find something fun, and free to do that's close to home. So pack a picnic, pump up the tires on your bike and head to a park near you for some free and fun entertainment this summer!
Family Nature Club

Parks on Social Media

Lake Hiawatha Park
Minnehaha Park
Morris Park
Keewaydin Park
Hiawatha Golf Course
Elmer the Elm Tree

Help Minneapolis Parks Flourish

Translate this Newsletter into:
беларуская мова
eesti keel
македонски јазик
بهاس ملايو
Português - Portugal
Tiếng Việt
Copyright © 2018 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp