Citizen-advisors named for DeLaSalle project

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September 12, 2005 // UPDATED 1:57 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has released the list of appointees to the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and a timetable for its meetings.

DeLaSalle is proposing a joint use athletic facility on Nicollet Island, that the Park Board could use during non-school times. It would span park and school property and require closing half of Grove Street.

The 21-member CAC has:

- Thirteen members appointed by elected officials;

- Five neighborhood representatives;

- Two youth sports members; and

- One business owner.

President Jon Olson appointed Bert McKasy, a Lindquist & Vennum attorney and lobbyist, to chair the committee. McKasy is vice-chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and is a former Republican state representative, State Commerce Commissioner and U.S. Senate candidate.

The other CAC members are as follows, (with the official who appointed them in parentheses):

- Theodore Wirth, grandson of former parks superintendent Theodore Wirth (Commissioner Rochelle Berry Graves);

- Thomas Hoch, president, Hennepin Theater Trust, (Commissioner Walt Dziedzic);

- Edna Brazaitis, Nicollet Island resident (Commissioner John Erwin);

- Judy Blaeseg, a Linden Hills resident and DeLaSalle parent who has been a parent/helper on softball teams that Commissioner Bob Fine coached. (Fine);

- Minneapolis State Rep. Neva Walker (Commissioner Marie Hauser);

- Jim Nestingen, architect and landscape architect, former Hiawatha Corridor Community Advisory Committee member (Commissioner Carol Kummer).

- Chris Johnson, member of the Park Board reform group Park Watch (Commissioner Vivian Mason);

- Jeff Lee, former Park Board staff who managed environmental programs (Commissioner Annie Young);

- Rip Rapson, senior fellow at the McKnight Foundation and former deputy mayor under Don Fraser (Mayor R.T. Rybak);

- John Pacheco, Downtown resident, director of the Xcel Energy Foundation and former Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission member (Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin);

- Susan Howitz Hanna, Windom Park resident, member of the city's Civil Rights Commission and former DeLaSalle parent (Council President Paul Ostrow);

- Roger Cummings, (Councilmember Natalie Johnson Lee)

- Barry Clegg, attorney and Nicollet Island resident (Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association). Ryan Curry is the alternate.

- John Chaffee and Prudence Johnson (Island residents). Judy Richardson and Deanna Cummings are their alternates.

- Ken Shaffer (St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association). Alternate: Mary Jane Partyka.

- J.D. Pride (St. Anthony West Neighborhood Association). Todd Roeder is the alternate.

- Former Park Board member Scott Neiman, and Thomas Johnson, a former Park Board staff member who worked on youth sports (Park Board staff appointments to represent youth sports/athletics)

- Jim Surdyk (business appointee).

The Park Board has set a schedule to reach a decision on the project before the current board leaves office. All nine commissioners are up for election.

The first CAC meeting is primary election night, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m., at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road North. The group is also scheduled to meet Sept. 22 and Sept. 29, said Emily Ero-Phillips, a park planner. It will take public comments Oct. 4 and then vote on recommendations.

The Board's Planning Committee will hear the recommendations Oct. 19, she said. If there is an appeal, a public hearing would be held Nov. 2. The committee will "review and comment on the schematic design alternatives for DeLaSalle's proposed recreation facilities on Nicollet Island," Park Board documents said.

For more, see the Park Board Web site,