Southwest Voices readers have reached out with questions for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. We sent them over to Robin Smothers at the the Park & Rec Board and she helped track down the answers for us.

Southwest Voices: A few parents asked about the lack of RevSports programming available for young children this spring and summer for young kids. Are you able to share more information about the lack of Rev Sports right now?

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board: We needed to offer this type of programming across Minneapolis and RevSports was unable to do that. Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board staff has created our own programming to serve the same age group and plan to roll it out this fall.

In a follow-up email, we clarified that RevSports is a contracted organization. The Park & Rec Board is opting to develop its own preschool recreational programming.

Southwest Voices: Why was the decision made to cut temporary bathroom budgets?

In short, the decision was not made to cut the budget, but rather to align operations with the budget. Over the course of COVID the expense of portable bathrooms began to grow beyond what was budgeted. Since 2020-21, we’ve been able to open more permanent bathrooms allowing us to reduce the number of portable facilities.

At the May 24 board meeting, there was a presentation made titled “Portable Restrooms: Service Level Adjustments” which you can watch starting at the 3:03 mark of the recorded meeting on YouTube.  

Southwest Voices: Why was the decision made to purchase the property of the burned house next to Bde Maka Ska?

Park & Rec Board: The property is recommended in the Board-approved Southwest Service Area Master Plan for incorporation into the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park, along with the adjacent Loon Lake Trolley Path, a process that has been initiated by Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board staff. The Southwest Service Area Master Plan sets the direction for future park development in this location. This property would be used as a nature play node, an overlook including public art and historical interpretation elements, and a gateway feature.

Southwest Voices: Herons like to nest in buckthorn. How do you find a balance between protecting heron habitats and fighting invasive species?

Park & Rec Board: This answer comes from Natural Resources Supervisor James Shaffer.

While I'm sure Herons have been observed nesting in buckthorn when that is the only understory tree/shrub available, I doubt that a thick stand of buckthorn is their preferred nesting habitat. The trouble with buckthorn is that it crowds out other understory species as well as prevents regeneration of canopy trees. So the removal of buckthorn will free up this space and allow a diversity of canopy trees and native understory species to thrive, which in turn creates better nesting habitat for birds of all kinds. This improvement in understory diversity also increases the availability of food for all kinds of native birds and insects.

Southwest Voices: In regards to the Minneapolis Sailing Center’s plan to move to the northwest corner of Bde Maka Ska, a reader asks, “I looked over the announcement, and it discusses only the Minneapolis Sailing Center itself. Do you know what implications there are for the sailboat buoys and the dock? Are they planned to move with the Minneapolis Sailing Center?”

Park & Rec Board: According to Assistant Superintendent of Planning Michael Schroeder, when the move itself happens, which is years away and dependent on fundraising, there would be a dock and buoys at both locations.