Candidate for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner-At-Large

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Why a Vote for Meg is a Value-Added Vote

  • She is passionate about Parks.
  • She has proven commitment.
  • She practices public service.
  • She jumps in with both feet.
  • She finds creative solutions.
  • She is a team player.
  • She sees the big picture.
  • She listens before she acts.

It’s time for Meg Forney as your Commissioner-At-Large of our Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board!

Not a single-issue, agenda-driven advocate but one who sees tremendous opportunities, not overwhelming problems

I have steadfastly worked on civic committees and projects because I am committed to the quality of life that defines this city.

Sierra Club 2017

Sierra Club 2017 Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board Candidate Questionnaire

Due by 11:59 PM Friday, September 8, 2017
Name and District: Meg Forney, Commissioner at Large
The Sierra Club’s priorities for Minneapolis Parks include equity, environmental justice, reduction of carbon emissions, prevention of air and water pollution, protection and expansion of wildlife habitat, and improvement of transit and pedestrian opportunities to and within parks.
For more information about Northstar Chapter activities and priorities

1. Why do you want to serve on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board?

I have served one term as a Commissioner at Large and look forward to continuing my advocacy for another term. I have worked on park issues for some time from People for Parks, the Committee on Urban Environment, the original Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee, the original Midtown Greenway Coalition – all broad base initiatives regarding urban open spaces and access for all.

2. What environmental efforts have you undertaken or achieved to improve the Minneapolis Park system or parks within your community?

I was one of the lead Commissioners in passing the 20 years of funding for our neighborhood parks. My advocacy in securing the shores of the Mississippi will be a healthy equity move for our underserved north and northeast communities.

3. What do you see as the most pressing environmental issue facing Minneapolis parks? If you are (re-)elected as Park Commissioner, what specific policies or actions do you propose to address the Sierra Club priorities identified above?

  • Reduction of water and air particulates, particularly in north Minneapolis.
  • Bird safe glass in new buildings.
  • Implementation of our racial equity matrix for our regional parks.
  • Connecting the Great Northern Greenway to the river and connecting the missing links of the Grand Rounds.
  • Continue constructing ADA connections throughout the system.

4. What steps will you take as a Park Commissioner to expand riverfront parks and to finish riverside pedestrian and bike paths in North and Northeast Minneapolis?

As the Park Board’s appointee to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, I have advocated for the substantial donations to this area, particularly to the connection at the Great Northern Greenway. The closing of Northern Metal scrapping is a game changer for our north residents and the Park Board’s goal of securing the continuous trails adjacent to the river. Our continued community engagement around the Upper Harbor is paramount.

5. When, if ever, is it appropriate to privatize or sell public parkland? What is your position on the Hiawatha Golf Course?

I do not believe in selling park property. Engaging private not-for-profits in sustaining our park system as critical partnerships we need to monitor. I believe you are asking if Hiawatha should be sold and/or privatized. I do not believe this is appropriate. I look forward to the Citizen Engagement Process to guide us regarding the use of the property.

6. What is your position on the use of artificial turf in Minneapolis parks?

I have always voted against the installation of artificial turf.

7. What specific steps will you take if (re-)elected to ensure that access to and quality of parks throughout the city—including upkeep of amenities like playgrounds, wading pools, tables, grills, etc.—are equitable across the city?

The 20 year neighborhood parks funding plan’s roll out is based on a racial equity plan focusing on racially concentrated areas of poverty. To me this is a transparent process, instead of a politically led process and more beneficial to the community. It will ensure the upkeep of quality parks and access to all amenities for 20 years. We have just adopted a similar matrix for our regional parks. Tracking the impacts is critical in understanding the changes in employment, health, economy and more.

8. The MPRB has a unique budget process. In what ways will you, if (re-)elected, work to bring greater integrity, fairness, and opportunity to the budgeting, procurement, and contracting processes?

I would like to implement periodic listening sessions with stakeholders in setting our budget each year.

9. How will you ensure that parks are well-connected to the city’s bikeways?

Collaborating with the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee is important to make seamless infrastructure improvements to and from the parks and the City roadways. With three appointed citizen members from the Park Board, regular reports to the MPRB regarding improving connections are essential.

10. What is your position on Crown Hydro?

The use of the river as an energy producer is no longer viable. The river is best in generating the new economy of tourism driven by aesthetics.

11. Minneapolis parks include hundreds of miles of shoreline. How do you propose to improve litter collection in our parks to ensure that less trash pollutes our lakes and rivers?

Campaigns such as Earth Day clean ups are important but obviously lacking in long term impacts. Raising people’s awareness of the issue of litter needs more than just more trash barrels, but what is needed is more concentrated education of the impacts on our water quality. Graphics like way-finding can be incorporated into the “fabric” of our our park system

12. If you are (re-)elected, how will you develop stronger partnerships and collaboration with schools? Include ideas for coordination on after school access and programming, as well as partnering on environmental education opportunities, if applicable.

Our recent Memorandum of Understanding with the School Board is exploring partnering in more programming to leverage each other’s assets and staff. Our Team Teenworks and Green Team programming is essential for college and career tracking our youth. Marrying more of these programs with the schools is critical, particularly in middle school years.

13. What should the role of the Park Police be?

With 15% of the land of the city and less than 2% of the crime, our park police function as community liaisons’ effective and vital in maintaining the best park system in the nation — one that is safe and welcoming.