What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

Posts about Parks and recreation

Northeast's cycling museum open Sunday

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: July 25, 2014 - 6:16 PM

When Brent Fuqua moved the expanding bike shop he co-owns into a newly refurbished storefront across Central Avenue last summer, he suddenly had thousands of square feet in which to stash the bikes the business had stored in rented garages across northeast Minneapolis.

That new space included a big second floor. Meanwhile a buddy, Juston Anderson, had accumulated somewhere between 40 and 50 vintage bikes in 27 years of collecting.

“I thought people should see these bikes,” Fuqua said.

So during Sunday’s Open Streets event, in which bikers will take over 8-1/2 blocks of Central for six hours, the Cycling Museum of Minnesota will debut in the upstairs of Recovery Bike Shop, 2504 Central Av. NE.

From 19th century boneshakers, including one with a 60-inch drive wheel, to trendy Pusgley fat-tire bikes, cyclists will get a glimpse of cycling history that highlights important advances in biking from technology to alliances with good roads boosters to changing social mores. They’ll see those how changes affected bike safety and speed.

It’s a coming-out party for the museum, which organizers say is only in the formative stages and won’t be open regularly until sometime next year. “It was just a bunch of dudes with bikes,” Fuqua told a sneak

preview Thursday night that was intended to elicit interest and funds from an invitee list that dressed from cutoffs to suits.

The organization’s nine-member board has incorporated and plans to put on educational programs, conduct community rides, host family events, present lectures and show films.

The collection includes beginner bikes for kids, BMX bikes, mass-produced bikes by Sears, hand-made frames by some of the state’s noted builder, bikes on which some of the state’s best-known racers sped, and vintage machines such as a locally made tandem designed for courting couples.

But there are also prosaic bike collectibles, such as the 1950s prototype of a Park Tool Co. bike repair stand.  It features such parts as a concrete-filled World War II shell casing, kitchen table legs and a 1937 Ford truck axle.

Anderson, 42, of Arden Hills, remembers looking at pictures as a kid of the high-wheeled bikes that dominated the 1880s but were typically affordable only to wealthy young men with strong legs. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know how you could balance on something like that,’” he said. But earlier this month he completed a century (100-mile) ride on one at a collectors meeting.

The nursing home janitor said he takes a frugal approach to collecting. He said he reminds his wife: “There’s other hobbies I could get into. I could get into hunting or gambling or drinking.”     

(Above: Recovery Bike co-owner with a bike that mimicked automobile streamlining; below: an 1897 courting tandem made by Deere and Webber of Minneapolis.)

Touching up Andersen United's image

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: July 21, 2014 - 4:58 PM

MPLS figured anyone out painting her school’s name in Monday’s brutal 91-degree heat deserves a shoutout.

Jena McDermott, an AmeriCorps volunteer at Andersen United Community School in the Phillips community, sent the kids inside due to the heat.  But she remained outside.  “I’m a perfectionist,” she said.

McDermott works with kids in an after-school sports and arts program, who decided to paint the bricks spelling out “Andersen” in rainbow colors.  The bricks previously were all-white.

Park Board sets 4.9 percent levy hike goal

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: July 16, 2014 - 7:37 PM

Minneapolis park commissioners set a goal Wednesday night of achieving a 4.9 percent increase in the parks levy for 2015.

Four percent of that levy increase would be for normal operating and capital purposes, while .9 percent would continue the tree replacement program the board began this year.

The direction to Supt, Jayne Miller followed a debate over whether a 2 or 4 percent levy increase was more realistic, given that the city's levy is slated to rise by 2 percent in its five-year financial plan.  Mayor Betsy Hodges has not yet made a levy recommendation for 2015.

Some commissioners questioned whether a 4.9 percent increase is politically realistic. But Miller already has projected that with a 2 percent increase the Park Board faces a $1.3 million budget gap just to maintain current programs. The board raised its 2014 levy by 2 percent, but devoted all of the increase to beginning a multi-year program to remove and replace trees damaged by storms or the emerald ash borer.

The board also seeks added money to repair neighborhood parks, where Miller said a dearth of maintenance funds has increased the cost of replacing mechanical systems once they fail. The board directed her to devise a strategy to fund those needs.

The overall city levy, which includes separate city and park levies proposed by different governing bodies, will be set by the Board of Estimate and Taxation, on which the Park Board holds one seat.

Bumps and grinding ahead on Grand Rounds

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: July 16, 2014 - 6:43 PM

The Grand Rounds system of Minneapolis parkways will become the ground rounds this summer with the advent of five planned projects to grind off existing pavement and lay fresh layers of asphalt.

Two projects began this week. The more ambitious will last five to seven weeks on two sections of E. Minnehaha Parkway, where seven inches of deteriorating pavement will be removed and replaced. The work will happen on both directions where the parkway is median-separated.

The longer segment is between Woodlawn and 38th avenues, but the project also includes a one-block segment between Cedar and Longfellow avenues.

Also starting this week is a shallower milling and repaving on Theodore Wirth Parkway. That includes two short segments, one just north of Plymouth Avenue, and the other several blocks south of Plymouth.

Cedar Lake Parkway will also get a grinding and repaving starting next week.  That work is scheduled to stretch from the Kenilworth Trail crossing to the bridge over the Cedar Lake Trail.

Although parkways are owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, repaving projects are supervised by the Minneapolis Department of Public Works. 

City beaches close for a day or two for coolness

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: July 14, 2014 - 3:48 PM

If you're going to swim in Minneapolis, you'll be doing it without a lifeguard -- the eight park beaches and two water parks are closed Monday -- and likely Tuesday as well.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board announced the closing Monday because the temperature didn't meet the minimum threshold of 65 degrees.  A water park at Northeast Park and the North Commons water park operated by the YMCA followed suit.

With one weather service forecasting a temperature of 63 degrees for 11 a.m.Tuesday, when the weather closure determination is made, the closure may well extend another day. But the forecast calls for a sufficiently high temperature on Wednesday that the beaches could reopen.

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