A good news-bad news column that's mostly good

  • Article by: BARBARA FLANAGAN
  • Updated: December 16, 2005 - 11:11 PM

Among the good: a date with Paul Douglas and his wife. The bad: no licorice ice cream.

The Flanagan Memo - Re: Holiday goodies and holiday baddies, just like every year; and a happy Merry Merry!

To begin, a baddie:

Reader Faith McLain Kirchdorfer wails, but only slightly, that she loves black licorice ice cream but that you can't buy it in the Twin Cities anymore.

Well, I can't find a good soda-fountain-made chocolate soda, either, so I understand. But I make an occasional soda at home. Licorice ice cream is too tough to try at home, I fear, and I'm sorry.

And some goodies

When I rail on occasion about something that isn't working right somewhere in town, I realize that there are dozens of these little things happening and that no one is doing a thing about them.

A good example is the streetlight on W. Calhoun Parkway at 32nd Street in Minneapolis. It's been dark since early summer, but why?

And my suggestion to the Minneapolis Park Board for more signs around the lakes to explain things such as the direction one should take at Calhoun to blade and bike on the special path. (It's CLOCKWISE.) More signs would explain, but where are they?

Ray Harris thinks there's a way to cope with this neglect, and he's doing something about it. Harris is retired -- or he's supposed to be -- but he can't stop tending to this city where he has spent about 50-plus years developing parts of it. For example, Calhoun Square and the Greenway Gables townhouses at Loring Park were his.

There are three "little things" that have Harris back in action.

One is Peavey Plaza on the Nicollet Mall at 11th Street. Then there is the Loring Greenway leading from the Mall to Loring Park and, in the park, there is the Berger Fountain. It is named for Ben Berger, longtime park commissioner who gave the fountain to the city.

"The Park Board doesn't care about fountains. They accept them and then ignore them," Harris said. "The Berger's foundation needs lots of work. It's leaking. And there are so many other things that need repair on it.

"The [Loring] Greenway is in horrible condition," he continued. "It's supposed to be a charming walkway from city streets to park greenery. Well, take a look at it. The one good thing I can tell you is that the city has agreed to repave it, which will give it a temporary lift.

"Then, Peavey Plaza next to our Orchestra Hall is in horrible condition," he said. "The surface needs to be replaced. It needs greenery. At night, it could be dangerous. The orchestra realizes it, but it is not their worry. Peavey Plaza is city property."

So what do we do? Harris is working on a plan that would attract volunteers, like himself, to organize and work on doing these three projects at once.

On Dec. 12, he's sponsoring an afternoon seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel featuring Gianni Longo, a New York architect and urban planner who is familiar with Minneapolis. Longo will offer comments about the project and other ideas.

Harris said he hopes to appeal to some local executives to join him. "We are a world-class city or we were and we can be again," he said, "but we have to tend to what is ailing. I hope we can do it."

Anybody ready to begin?

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