Building Affordable Housing on the Lola Restaurant Site MPRB Discussion

Minneapolis resident Joe Tamburino writes:

Dear Cmmrs Cowgill and Meyer:

Cmmr Cowgill knows that I am a constituent of his and the Chair of the DMNA and I have appeared before the MPRB in the past.  I am writing today about the proposal that both of you presented at the June 12th meeting to have affordable housing units at the Lola site.  Specifically, you proposed building affordable housing units at the Lola site for Native Americans and/or people who used the city’s temporary navigation center.

(time-mark 2 hours, 13 minutes, 46 seconds to 2 hours, 20 minutes)

I would respectfully but strongly disagree with your proposal for several reasons.

First, to the best of my memory, MPRB has never sold parkland or used parkland for private housing/dwelling/uses.  Allowing any piece of parkland to be used for affordable housing would open the floodgates to our parkland being sold for other uses in the future.  Eg. – I’m sure the Masjid Salaam Cultural Center on Central Ave and St. Anthony Pkwy in NE Mpls would love to get the MPRB to sell off a piece of Columbia Park so that they can build a parking lot for their members and visitors.

Second, your proposal violates MPRB’s mission. Your mission statement clearly states that “The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board shall permanently preserve, protect, maintain, improve, and enhance its natural resources, parkland, and recreation opportunities for current and future generations.  The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board exists to provide places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community, and the environment.”  Providing affordable housing is 100% absent from your mission statement and any actions toward building affordable housing on parkland would violate your duties to preserve, protect, and maintain parkland.

Lastly, MPRB’s resources are better used for the ensuring safe and accessible parks for the public.  You could not justify to the public using a dime from MPRB’s funds to build affordable housing units for anyone.

Please let me know if you are moving your proposal any farther in the reconstruction process of the Lola site. 

Thank you,

Joe Tamburino

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