❀ Spring 2014 News

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Our Beginnings:

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers, the flower beds along Stinson Parkway are planted.  For those who may not know how all this came about, the following is a brief summary:

In 2008, we began to take a closer look at the overall condition of Stinson Parkway, this precious green space tucked in a little corner of Northeast Minneapolis. Some of the gardens had been eliminated; a water source had long-since broken down and been shut off; trees, shrubs and existing plantings were aging and close to the end of their life. Individuals from other communities and nearby residents voiced their concerns about this situation. Formation of a group to work in collaboration with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was suggested.

One of the volunteers, who was a member of Park Watch at the time, suggested the formation of the Stinson Parkway Conservancy dedicated to the improvement and continued care of the Parkway.  We are ever grateful to these individuals for their resolve to save the green space, character and integrity of Stinson Parkway, several of whom do not even reside close to the Parkway, but enjoy and appreciate its unique beauty.  We are also grateful to Walter Dziedzic, Park Board Commissioner at the time.

Stinson Parkway Conservancy was founded in the spring of 2010.

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Volunteers and Contributors in Action:

Conservancy volunteers have worked over the past four years to replant an abandoned flower bed and create new ones.  Tangletown Gardens was hired to draw design plans for two flower beds: one on the median of the 2200 block and the other on the 2700 block median. Last summer we came close to completion of the design plans.  The small ornamental tree that died the previous year in the 2700 bed needs to be replaced and the plants set forth in the plan installed around it.

Bachman’s donated a large number of rose bushes from the Macy’s Flower Show and, with the approval of the Park Board, we created the rose garden on the 2500 median. Japanese Beatles invaded the rose bed in the summer of 2012, and donated mums were planted among the roses as a fall-back should the roses not survive. They survived, but not without a great deal of hard work by volunteers, who hand picked the creatures from the plants and nurtured the ravaged flower bed.

The Stinson Parkway Conservancy is a participant in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Stewardship Program.  As such, volunteers have contributed  a staggering 520 hours of work to the effort. Thank you, to each and every one of you who have helped make the dream a reality! Thank you to donors who contributed the funds to purchase the design plan and plants for the flower beds, and to the businesses who donated plants and supplies, including Bachman’s, Home Depot, D-Rock, Linders Nursery, and Bremer Bank (which made a home for a Magnolia tree close to the Parkway).

Our mission includes adjoining Parkways. To this end, the Conservancy Board members attended Park Board meetings associated with the creation of design plans for  a bicycle/pedestrian path and plaza at the Ridgeway Parkway Scenic Overlook. Construction is scheduled  to begin in 2014.

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More Recent Activities:

At our fall board meeting we reviewed our gardens along Stinson Parkway.  After two years of review, we have come to the conclusion that the garden at the point of Stinson and New Brighton Boulevard is not sustainable.  When digging down in the center of the bed, we hit what feels like concrete, which may explain the difficulty in getting even drought-resistant plants to thrive there.  Our board moved to close that bed, remove the plants, and put down grass seed.

The Stinson Parkway Conservancy Board members have met with the Park Board Forester and District Forester and Liz Wielinski, Park Commissioner, several times in recent years.  We discussed the condition of existing trees, replacement of those removed due to age, disease and weather damage and development of a specific plan for replacement of each and every tree by species.

The Conservancy have expressed the need to retain the character of the Parkway that was created by the majestic canopy of trees arching over the roadways and the flowering trees interspersed among gardens and shrubs in vibrant display in the spring.

We have also worked with the Park Board and residents on proactive ash tree replacement along Stinson.  A survey of boulevard trees in 2011 revealed that Stinson Parkway had 100 ash trees.  In the past two years we have collaborated with our Park Board forester to replace over 25 ash trees along the parkway.

We have knocked on neighborhood doors and distributed flyers notifying residents of the proactive removal of the boulevard ash trees and how to contact the Park Board Forester. The Park Board has selected a number of different tree species as replacement trees in an effort to increase tree diversity and reduce the negative impact of future insect/disease problems.  The tree replacement choices for Stinson include the following species: Kentucky Coffee, Burr Oak, Bicolor Oak (grows faster than the Burr Oak). disease resistant Elm, Honey Locust, and Hackberry.

Moving Forward with our Community:

Please consider volunteering to support the ongoing efforts to preserve and enhance the beauty of the Parkways. Volunteers will be needed for gardening, planning, and administrative projects.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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