Re: Sidewalk stars; Loring Park and Peavey Plaza – one needs friends.
Sometimes my wishes come true.
Robert Roessel, the former Minnesotan who loves movies as much as I do, tells me some great news -- a Judy Garland star will be implanted in the Hennepin Avenue sidewalk soon.
Garland, a native of Grand Rapids, Minn., is perhaps our greatest star -- although Bob Dylan comes close.
Dylan also will receive a star this fall and on Oct. 15 there will be a salute to him at the Dakota on the Nicollet Mall, complete with singer Maria Muldaur and some local musicians who worked on Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album.
They are still thinking about what to do for Judy, but it looks like they may present a marathon screening of her films, including "The Wizard of Oz," of course, and the superb "A Star Is Born."
Others set for local stardom on downtown Hennepin include James Arness, Jessica Lange and Vince Vaughn. Well, swell. I will keep on wishing.
Marilyn Carlson Nelson is one of those who helped to bring this about. Salute, too, the Dakota, the Hennepin Theatre Trust and the Brenden Mann Foundation, among many more.
Friends, people just like you are what our parks need. Peavey Plaza, for example, needs friends now. And don't blame the Minneapolis Park Board for Peavey's somewhat wretched looks. Peavey long has been operated by the city. Maybe the current redo would be an ideal time to hand it over to the park system.
Peavey was designed by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg and in its early years, its fountain and reflecting pool added luster to the Nicollet Mall. But water stopped and drains clogged and the plaza suffered. Not completely, however. Outdoor concerts continue to draw and I believe it has a great future if new plans do not destroy it.
On that note, I have to disagree with my colleagues and good friends Rick Nelson and Claude Peck. In a recent Sunday "Withering Glance'' column, they suggested that the plaza be lifted to street level and that the pool size be reduced.
My thought is to move slowly and consider how successful it has been, to date, even with the problems. And you know, gents, a big pool, well-maintained, makes a great skating pond in winter. Now, if only Brit's or Vincent would figure out how to keep their sidewalk cafes warm and cozy in winter. In Scandinavia, they warm up bricks and put them under our feet. Whee!
The Friends of Loring Park is a splendid example of how residents can volunteer to improve a park. The Loring improvements are a fine job and there is more to come. There is a new park entrance on its Hennepin Avenue corner across 15th Street from St. Mark's Cathedral leading to a plaza, a large garden and new trees. And they promise 1,500 new perennial shrubs. That is truly friendship.
My old and, I suppose, "close and personal friend" columnist Sid Hartman soon will have a statue of himself downtown, and after 66 years of covering sports, that is as it should be.
The only problem the Minneapolis Arts Commission seemed to have with the sculpture by artist Nick Legeros is that it was labeled with a flag for WCCO and the Star Tribune. Those are the two emporiums that Sid works for. So, of course, they fit in. They are not signs. They are a part of Sid's image and they are his life.
Finally, the commission voted in favor of the work and I applaud them. You may call me prejudiced. Fine! But a picture always needs its captions with identifications. Hooray for Sidney.
Maureen Kelly Neerland is promoting the 100th year of the Minneapolis League of Catholic Women. She is a past president. Their present building is at 207 S. 9th St., but they were founded on Nov. 11, 1911, in the tea room at the former Donaldsons department store at 7th Street and the Nicollet Mall.
As they begin their second century, here is a salute.