Loppet Foundation Questionnaire
Candidate for Minneapolis Park and Recreation (MPRB)
In today’s world people, and particularly kids, do not get outside as much as they once did, which we believe is a factor in increasing rates of obesity-related health issues. What role do you see for the Park Board in encouraging outdoor activity?
As an avid urban outdoor user – a rower in the Mississippi River Gorge all summer, a walker of our lakes three times a week all year-long and a former runner, triathlete and WESAC soccer coach, I am a strong advocate for exercise programming for our youth. As the number one out-of-school provider, the MPRB has a great opportunity to encourage outdoor activity. Kids are only in school approximately 6 ½ hours per day. MPRB has an integrated connection with our schools with many of our 49 recreation centers, 19 Recreation Plus programs and Youth Are Here Bus. Expanding our neighborhood recreation services to utilize our expansive parklands is critical to addressing childhood obesity, establishing safe harbors for youth and their families and advocating for anti-bullying and racial inequities. The Park system in conjunction with private exercise providers like the Loppet Foundation can be the added value and resource.
In recent years, the Park Board has engaged in a number of public-private partnerships.
What are your views on the role of public-private partnerships with the Park Board? In the ’80’s, I chaired People for Parks, a fundraising arm of MPRB, when we funded the lighted cross country ski trails through Theodore Wirth. The MPRB is utilizing more public private partnerships because they understand the extra value that organizations like the Loppet Foundation has contributed with the extensive trail improvements, buckthorn removal, youth cross country ski programming as well as the annual Loppet event. More of these partnerships are needed to offset costs for our park system.
Park Board planning staff recently worked with the community to create a new master plan for Theodore Wirth Park. The plan includes an Adventure or Silent Sports Center in the northern section of the park. What are your thoughts on the Master Plan for Wirth Park and the Adventure Center?
The plans for this Center will better utilize this section of the Theodore Wirth Golf Course and still keep the golf course intact. To maximize its capacity with year round use of disc golf, mountain biking, hiking combined with the future connection of the Bottineau Transitway will make Theodore Wirth more accessible and better utilized year round. I chaired the MPRB Theodore Wirth Beach Redevelopment and see this area as underutilized with poor connections for immediate neighborhoods. I support the Master Plan and look forward to it being implemented.
Any additional comments?
I am a proven leader. I have advocated for park issues for 35 years. I am the only candidate who has been appointed to over a dozen MPRB Citizen Advisory Committees and appointed to chair two. I am a team player and have built region-wide relationships with policy makers. I am endorsed by Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble, Representative Frank Hornstein, Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman as well as many civic leaders like Tim Springer, former director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition; Mary McGuire, chair of the Above the Falls CAC; Vicky Moore, leader of the Van White Bridge creation; John Erickson, MPRB appointee to the Metropolitan Council’s SouthWest Light Rail Transit CAC; Catherine Shreves, former School Board Chair; Joe Selvaggio, founder of MicroGrants and Project for Pride in Living. I ask for your #1 choice vote for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Commissioner-At-Large and encourage you to share your support of my candidacy with others.