❀ Mid-Winter Review 2013

 

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Plantings

You may have noticed a flurry of activity this spring and summer in the 2200 and 2700 block median of Stinson Parkway.  Thanks to the generous contributions of donors and the hard work of volunteers, flowering perennials now enhance the two azalea gardens we planted in previous years.

We began this phase last spring by hiring a certified landscape designer from Tangletown Gardens to lay out a design plan for the planting of the two perennial gardens.  In part, our design requirements stated that the plan include sustainable, drought-resistant plants that provide colorful blooms and foliage throughout the growing season.  We wanted “showy” flowerbeds requiring little watering and maintenance, and we wanted them to be compatible with the existing azaleas and trees.

With the design plan completed, two planting events took place on June 13 and June 25.   Volunteers were recruited by flyering the neighborhood, and via notices in the Northeaster and on the Park Board web page.  Both events were a tremendous success with15 to 20 participants of all ages joining in with shovels and spades
in hand, including our Park Commissioner, Liz Wielinski.

Thirty-five flowering perennial plants, purchased by the Conservancy, were planted:  ‘Vibrant Dome’ and ‘Purple Dome’ asters, ‘Baha’ hemerocallis, ‘Jane’ hydrangea paniculata, ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ hydrangea, and ‘Little Spire’ perovskia.  Linder’s Garden Center donated six large potted petunia plants.  Three were added to each of the gardens for color until the new plants flowered.

 

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The watering of the new perennial plants
presented a huge challenge because of this year’s drought.  Dedicated volunteers lugged gallon jugs
of water from their homes daily to sustain the new plants.  Several others who live across from the gardens stretched hoses across the street, or allowed volunteers to use their hoses and water.

If donations allow, we hope to finish the planting and design plan next spring.  We are grateful to
our volunteers for their dedication and hard work!

 

 

 

 

 

Stinson Parkway Lighting

The new median and intersection lights have finally been installed along the Parkway.  They are attractive and give off a softer glow while achieving the safety features necessary for the roadway and surrounding community.  The completion of this project was “worked in” among other lighting projects at the same time.  Still, Bill Prince, City of Minneapolis Lighting Supervisor, kept the Conservancy involved in the process so we were able to contact homeowners whose plantings had to be removed in advance of the installation work.  Mission accomplished, no more blackouts, we hope!

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Truck Traffic and Speeders

Truck traffic and speeders continue to be a nagging problem.  Safety issues, noise and roadway damage due to  the illegal, heavy truck traffic continue to be a concern.  The Conservancy has made a number of complaints, requests and suggestions for improvement.  This has included more effective signs like the one at the south entrance of St. Anthony Parkway at Ridgeway Parkway: “No Trucks Permitted On St. Anthony Boulevard.”  Consequently, you don’t see trucks along this stretch of the Parkway.  This issue has been continually raised with the Park Board over recent years.  Past Park Commissioner Walter Dziedzic sent a request to the City of Minneapolis to install such a sign at the south and north entrances to Stinson Parkway.  There was no response.  The Conservancy pursued the issue again with Park Commissioner Liz Wielinski and provided her with documentation of the prior request including a photo of the existing sign at the south entrance to St. Anthony Parkway.   The Parkways should NOT be abused by trucks in this way!

Linda Berquist, Park Police Chief, has occasionally assigned a Park Police officer to tag speeders and truck drivers along the Parkway.  When an officer is present it helps in one direction.  Enforcement of any kind helps, but may not be the only solution.  The possibility of a permanent automated lighted sign–“Speed Limit 25, Your Speed Is …” –has been discussed with Commissioner Wielinski.  This technology is very expensive and would most likely be weighed against enforcement costs.  Our urban parkways were not intended for speedway traffic the likes of what exists here.  We will continue to pursue a remedy.

 

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Meeting With Ralph Sievert, Parks Forester

On July 25, the Conservancy’s Executive Committee met with Ralph Sievert, Parks Forester, and Gary Myhre, District Forester, to discuss plans for the future removal and replacement of trees along the Parkway.  The following outcomes were reached:

  • Forestry will notify the Conservancy whenever major trimming is planned for the median.
  • Permission to remove suckers was granted with the caveat that workers sign Park Stewardship’s hold harmless agreement and receive Forestry’s guidelines for sucker removal.
  • Replacements for removed trees will be: bicolor and burr oak, disease resistant elm, honey locust, hackberry, and Kentucky coffee.

Mr. Sievert was invited to tour Stinson Parkway with the Executive Committee and did so in early September along with Mary Berthiaume who had completed an inventory of the trees that line the Parkway.  The survey identified 100 ash trees, most of them on the boulevards.  While we are not aware that any are infested with the ash borer, we need to be prepared for the inevitable and to plan accordingly.  At the conclusion of the tour Ralph Sievert offered to share the data collected from the survey with the Conservancy and invited us to participate in the replacement planning process.

Fifteen ash trees will be preemptively removed this fall/winter.  Replacement trees will be planted in the spring and the stumps removed.  The Conservancy worked with the Park Board to inform homeowners of the removals and replacement options.  The Park Board followed their policies for notifications as well.

We look forward to our collaboration with Park Board Forestry and thank them for their time and commitment to this beautiful Parkway.

In conclusion, as you have seen, this has been a very busy year.  And as you have read, we have committed ourselves to next year and beyond.  We are beginning to see results, and if you are liking what you see, please consider joining us as a volunteer in some capacity, or as a donor if you are in a position to do so.  Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated as well.

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