RiverFirst Steering Committee
October 11, 2012
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Room
7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Attending: List Appended
Welcome: Commissioner Wielinski welcomed Committee members and visitors and called the meeting to order at 7:45 a.m.
Introductions: Bruce Chamberlain – Assistant Superintendent, Planning – Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Introduced the visiting members of the two lead design groups – Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architects.
There are two key efforts proceeding simultaneously:
- the schematics efforts led by the two design firms which are focused on site planning, permitting and design.
- the overall management of the initiative that is being led by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and includes coordination of stakeholder engagement, fundraising and communication.
M. deLaittre described how the Initiative is entering Phase III – Start-Up. This consists of several pieces :
- a 9-month phase for overall program coordination, the development of a financial/funding strategy and community engagement and communication.
- a 3-month phase for developing a strategic plan to weave all aspects of the Initiative together
- a 4+ year plan to implement key pieces of the strategy
M. deLaittre also shared the key communication steps that have occurred:
- a rebranding for Phase III; it is now called the RiverFirst Initiative.
- a new website (riverfirst.com), e-newsletters and other communication tools are in place
- T. Leader and F. Violich noted that they are also in Phase III – the detailed design work that includes budget planning, site investigation and construction details.
- Project plans and team structure are aligned along two key areas: the landscape side and the physical construction side.
- In both cases the lead teams are partnering with local firms and technical experts.
- An early focus is Scherer Park.
J. Hanson-Willis stated that parallel to the RiverFirst Initiative, the City is working on revisiting and updating the master-use plan for Above the Falls. Originally established in 2000, plans are to have draft recommendations by year-end. This also will tie into existing discussions regarding the Upper Harbor Terminal.
Financial Strategy: John Commers, Donjek, Inc.
J. Commers outlined the financial strategy under development. This will tie into the 9-month phase for overall coordination of the Initiative and will include identification of capital and operating funds.
Steering Committee Composition
M deLaittre reviewed four questions on the questionnaire handout and appealed to all attendees to help expand the Committees composition; to identify community stakeholders that could be involved in furthering the Initiative’s financial strategy.
- A request to ensure that the Initiative closely ties back to the water – and noted that there may be additional revenue streams available for these purposes.
- Suggestions to consider short-term projects or activities that tie people to the river directly to see the projects and progress. Partner with existing organizations in the community with strong ties and experience in this area.
- Consider expanding the committee composition to other communities of color.
- A note to make sure that safety for residents and visitors to the river area remains a high priority.
- Discussion about the West River Parkway extension plans and how that may impact the various projects in this Initiative.
- A reminder that this entire endeavor – from Phase I to now has moved at a very quick pace and it has been an example of partnership.
- A reminder that the riverfront is very active – both for individual activities and community events; while we can work to engage people more we should be proud of what we are doing.
- Questions about the BNSF railroad bridge – its future and how it may tie into the overall plan for the area.
- A request that all partners work to engage the residents of Minneapolis in this Initiative effort – informationally and financially.
- Suggestions that the partners develop a framework for funding strategies that articulates corporate, private, philanthropic and government roles.
- A note about considering the value of public art in these projects.
- All Steering Committee members are asked to complete the composition questionnaire and return to M. deLaittre.
- Next quarterly meeting is January 17, 2012.