City proposal to privatize 17 Park Point street-ends?

I’m wondering if anyone has heard of the city proposal to “privatize” 17 Park Point street-ends? Maybe this is old news?

Below is a letter from Dawn Buck, president of the Park Point Community Club, from this month’s Breeze of Park Point newsletter:

From the President
Hi Neighbors,
Many of us on Park Point cherish the opportunity to access the bay and the lake even if we don’t own property on the water. Access to the water is our greatest community resource. The Park Point Small Area Plan Committee is charged with responding to a proposal from City Planning about vacating (privatizing) 17 street ends on Park Point. Do you care? Let someone know. If you have kayaked, fished, skied, skated, rowed, ice boated, surfed, sailboarded, kiteboarded, paddleboarded, or birded on a special street end, don’t miss this opportunity to make your opinion known.

Last Wednesday at the Small Area Plan Committee meeting, City Planners Keith Hamre and John Judd proposed the privatization of 17 “useless” (the planning department’s term) public accesses to both the bay and lake. I was surprised by the City Administration’s proposal because the Park Point Small Area Plan Committee had already agreed with the Parks and Recreation Commission’s plan for Park Point. The resolution from the Commission states, “It should be emphasized that the Park and Recreation Commission does not endorse street end vacations of city property to Park Point residents.”

What happened during the summer of 2013 that would influence the City Administration to override the long standing City Council resolution that preserves public access to the lake and bay? I read in our City’s own Summer of 2013 Duluth Quarterly that, “Destination-class mountain biking, road cycling … kayaking … surfing … are all accessible within walking or biking distance from your home.” How does this square with giving away 17 public recreational sites to individuals in our neighborhood?

In 1990 the city council passed a resolution adopting a policy preserving access to the street ends. The 1990 city resolution states five purposes. (The city’s Comprehensive Plan supports similar objectives):

● Preserve lake and bay vistas
● Preserve access to the lake and bay for both Park Pointers and
other Duluth citizens.
● Prevent overcrowding the Point
● Provide visual relief from the continuous rows of buildings along
the avenues
● Provide for future utility corridors

This resolution is increasingly relevant today as more people are moving to Duluth to be outside and to enjoy the lake and the bay. This resolution also provides a process for adjoining property owners to use and enjoy the street end without vacation.

If you care that 17 street ends could be vacated, here is what you can do:

●Attend the next Park Point Small Area Plan Committee meeting to observe and to give your written opinion, 5pm on Wed., October 16 at Lafayette
●Attend the public meeting (date to be determined), watch our website for date and time.
●Because of diffi culties using the City website, you could email Keith Hamre, khamre @ duluthmn.gov or John Judd, jjudd @ duluthmn.gov with your comments for the SAP.

See you out and about & remember the extra bag for trash,
Dawn & Klaus

From: parkpointcommunityclub.org

25 Comments

Lucie1970

about 9 years ago

Most people have no idea that all those streets on Park Point that look like driveways, but dead end into the beach are public. You can legally park there and access the water.

annefluke

about 9 years ago

A friend who served on the Parks & Rec Commission just alerted me to this. Thanks for posting.

Ramos

about 9 years ago

This burns me up. Those street ends provide easy access to the beach all along Park Point, especially for people who don't happen to live there. Every time proposals to privatize street ends have come up in the past, the city has affirmed its position of keeping them open. As the poster indicates, this position has also been formally and legislatively affirmed several times.

This whole thing -- especially the way it's sort of sliding through without much public notice--smacks of back-channel land speculation.

Rather than calling them useless, the City Planning Department should publish a list of all public street ends and encourage people to use them. The mayor should also publicly state that he supports keeping the street ends open.

Claire

about 9 years ago

This makes me angry, public access to the beaches on Park Point is essential. Reminds me of the Skywalk between Greysolon and the parking ramp on 1st behind the Sheraton. It's private. Excuse me, if my tax dollars went toward building that skyway, I'd better have the right to walk through it on a cold night.

davids

about 9 years ago

Why on earth would we give a "public good" to private landowners? I wouldn't even support selling those street ends much less giving them away -- access to our public beach is way too valuable!

Dave P

about 9 years ago

This smacks of the same shortsighted thinking that gave rise to the much reviled Beacon Point development. I've got nothing against thoughtful, aesthetic development, but the shoreline requires/deserves exceptionally well thought-out consideration and a genuine effort to seek and heed public input. Our waterfront and beaches are our city's greatest natural resource and a principle economic engine. Anything the City does that makes the Lake less accessible or supplants view/access with private development is a self-inflicted wound. Lunacy.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

The post recommends people attend the next public meeting, but gives the date of a meeting that has already happened.

The next meeting is Oct. 30, 4 p.m., at Lafayette Community Square.

Chloe

about 9 years ago

It's especially vexing because the city is also proposing that a few Park Point street ends, such as 10th Street, be opened and more inviting to beachgoers with gravel paths, signage and such. Guess what? 10th Street is right across the street from one hotel being built and another hotel development site. So it's okay to privatize (vacate and close) street ends adjacent to beautiful homes much farther down Park Point (where it's already quiet and untrampled), yet open wide a few street ends where small, modest homes near the bridge will be overrun with hotel traffic? Methinks there's an agenda here. 

I think all street ends should be public and equal in terms of access, not just a few. It's completely unfair to give some street ends to homeowners as their private property and then open up others by aggressive signing and landscaping which will invite traffic, extra parking, noise and left-behind garbage. They should all be equal; the beach is public park property.

If the goal is to open up waterfront park land, why not put a small "P" (for city park access, or whatever) on all street ends, both bay side and lake side and treat them all equally?

mojowoikin13

about 9 years ago

Before people get too riled up - consider that what's missing here is any context - why, exactly, is the City making these proposals? 
The implication is that there are nefarious profiteering motives and a callous disregard for our community values and quality of life. 

Would it make a difference to know that the City's intent is something more along the lines of environmental preservation, i.e., limiting the degredation of dunes and minimizing the damage to a fragile ecosystem that inevitably results from unrestricted public access? 

This is my re-statement of the message I got from one of the planning meetings this summer- so yes, please, leave the pitchforks at home and show up at the upcoming meeting for a complete discussion.

As for the survey, its main value is as a case study of how to influence survey results by writing leading questions. Take it if you must - but I for one will take the results with the proverbial grain of salt.

Don Ness

about 9 years ago

Here are a few points of consideration...

1) The land we are talking about is privately owned - so it's not appropriate for us to be talking about "privatizing" the property - it is private.

2) The city does own street easements throughout Park Point - many times these easements are referred to as "paper streets" or "street ends." The City holds these easements and thus has the right to make public improvements in the future.

3) The public does not have access on these easements unless the public makes improvements - none of the easements in question have public improvements, this means they do not currently provide public access.

4) While the property is privately owned, the existence of an easement prohibits the property owner from building any permanent structure within the easement.

5) It is a common occurrence for private property owners to seek vacation easements from the city. Many of the easements were put in place 100 years ago with the thought of some future use. Property owners make the case that there is not a public purpose to retain the easement which restricts their use of their property - during my time in city government we have issued dozens of easement vacations for various reasons.

6) Over the course of the past 15 years, there have probably been around 6 to 8 individual applications to vacate paper streets along Park Point in order to allow the property owner to use their land to build an addition, a garage, retaining wall or the like. The vast majority of these are approved because councils want to support these property owners with their plans.

7) Given this dynamic, we have a situation in which the vacation of easements were happening in a haphazard manner, one at a time. There was little thought of having the larger picture of what is the access that the public should have to both the Lake and the Harbor.

8. The proposal developed by planning staff is a way to determine a final and permanent easement plan. The idea is that we are identifying the access the public needs and are making these easements permanent - that we can draw a very clear line that these easements will not ever be vacated because it is part of a thoughtful easement plan.  

9) Without a defined plan, there will continue to be attempts to vacate easements in the future and it is likely that a future city council will approve those vacations as they have in the past. But the vacations will be random and based upon the initiative of the property owner versus a thoughtful planning process.

10) The small area planning process is the appropriate time to bring forward these broader land use policy questions. I disagree with the criticism that this is not an appropriate time to discuss this issue - dealing with these requests in a random fashion is not the way to do it.

11) The areas being discussed right now are not areas in which people typically access the water today. They are not those well worn paths or improved street ends - these are areas that if you drove down Park Point you would assume are people's side yards - which, in fact, they are.

12) Under the planning department's proposal the public will continue to have access on both sides of the street every three blocks - in some areas the access is more frequent.

13) It is a legitimate question to ask - should city government continue to hold rights on private property which prohibit private property development rights if the city does not have a public use for that easement now or in the future? If there is a well-established public access point a block away, should the city hold an easement that limits private property rights?

So, in the end what we have before us is a legitimate public policy issue.   We have a choice - do we continue to deal with easement vacations on the initiative of property owners or do we develop a plan that outlines the public's interests in water access - and then take action to permanently improve those access point and make them permanent?  

I do think it is unfortunate when legitimate public debates become about general mis-characterizations or to attack the intentions of well-meaning staff who have invested their careers to making Duluth a better place to live.

If the planning commission and/or city council choose to vote against this proposal - that is absolutely fine and that policy decision will stand. That's what a public debate is all about. However, I do hope folks can appreciate that the issue is more complicated and nuanced than how it has been presented.  

Not having a plan has not delivered good results from a public policy perspective. We can debate what the final plan should look like, but having a plan about the future of access points is a positive discussion to have and criticizing those who offer a plan doesn't seem like a productive path forward.

Zeito

about 9 years ago

If you check this map you will see there are quite a few of these "paper streets" around town.  On Park Point many of them are out in the bay.  There are in fact several "paper neighborhoods" around town that don't actually exist, like the woods north of the Lake Superior Zoo.  It is really quite fascinating. 

Ramos

about 9 years ago

At a bare minimum, I think that every other street end should provide public access to the beach--and if they are truly established as permanent, ironclad access points, I would accept that. I would need to see very strong, unambiguous language before I believed they were permanent.

At every permanent access point, the city should build a trail from the street end to the beach, both to concentrate activity through the dunes and to satisfy the public use requirement of the easements.

Park Point street end easements are different from other easements in the city, because they provide access to an awesome, several-mile-long beach that belongs to all of us. It may be that nothing nefarious is going on, but I'm sure that vacating easements will greatly enhance property values for certain people, all of whom knew the easements were there when they bought the property.

The mayor is right in saying we need to move thoughtfully. I just think that our thoughts should be very strongly focused on preserving, and enhancing, public access to the Park Point beach.

Ramos

about 9 years ago

Also, I will definitely attack the intentions of "well-meaning staff" if I suspect that their ideas about what makes Duluth "a better place to live" differ markedly from my own. I will attack even harder if I suspect that an effort is being made to slip some contentious issue by with little discussion. The mayor's detailed comment shows that he has been thinking about this for some time. Why are we only hearing about it now, after city staff has already launched their effort to vacate "useless" street ends? 

I suspect, because it showed up on PDD. If it hadn't, we'd still be floating along in a haze of blissful ignorance.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

Ramos, did you read (absorb) Don's comments? Or are you just foaming by instinct? The Mayor's explanations could not be more clear. There is no emergency. No one is trying to block access to the water. No one is stealing anything.

 There is no conspiracy. Don's comments contain nuance and perspective. Yours are purely reactionary, and based upon clearly preconceived notions, and an auto-loaded attitude (which comes across as paranoia). In every comment of yours on this forum, you express that the city government is your (and by default, our) enemy. "They" are out to get you/us. I am a hard-working, non-wealthy individual with no inkling that the city government is out to get me. 

When is the last time you personally accessed the beach on one of the easement streets? Should easements exist in perpetuity, despite real-time realities? 

Park Point easements are not different than other easements; an easement is an easement. The law does not differentiate between "awesome" beaches and swampy spruce bogs. 

I'm sure the "nefarious" secret meetings between Ness, the planning commission, and those billionaires on the Point who will quadruple their power and wealth by canceling easements nobody uses will be leaked be Snowden any day now. And then we will all be truly free of the tyranny of the City of Duluth.

Ramos

about 9 years ago

The easements should exist in perpetuity. The last time I used one was in August. I am fairly reactionary, but I don't think that saying a lot goes on in Duluth without the public being aware of it is paranoid. That's reality. I do think I'm commenting on PDD too much. I'm cutting myself off the Internet for a month or two.

Later!

tbeery

about 9 years ago

This is a healthy debate for Duluth as it speaks a great deal to issues of access that are critical to a community that is working very diligently to create new nature based recreational opportunities.

Up until recently I was a City of Duluth Park and Recreation Commissioner and a member of the Park Point Small Area Planning Committee. These are citizen input efforts. We developed a policy proposal for a tiered system of access to the Lake and Bay (to make access easier for visitors and respectful toward residents).  Our proposed policy included no vacations of public property (privatization of street ends) on Park Point.  Our efforts were based on a strong belief in the value of access to park and water space in the city of Duluth. One of the strong statements from a resolution that I helped write and the City of Duluth Park and Recreation Commission adopted that in June read:

"It should be emphasized that the Park and Recreation Commission does not endorse street end vacations of city property to Park Point residents.  It is not possible for this Commission, nor the Small Area Planning Process, to anticipate access needs in the future, therefore the long-term future access as well as current and projected near term access must be safeguarded by this process."

I stand by our effort to safeguard a broad vision of access.  

While I agree with many of the Mayor's points, it has come to my attention that many of the parcels in question are used by the public, or would be if they were not prevented by hostile actions of a few Park Point residents.  It is not OK to sprawl over an easement and then point out that it appears as someone's yard.

The MN Supreme Court has weighed in on this issue and it would be good for the those with legal interests to take a look! Consider this statement from a MN Supreme Court ruling: "when a street is dedicated by plat, a city may choose its own time to occupy, open, and use the street."  Vill. of Medford v. Wilson, 304 Minn. 250, 252, 230 N.W.2d 458, 459 (1975).  

This may very well be a case where the city, encouraged by a broad public vision, considers a potential future need and crafts a progressive policy.

I worry that today we are talking about Park Point, but tomorrow it will be "abandoned sidewalks" on the West Hillside (which can serve as amazing access points to the Grand Traverse).  If we present a policy of vacations, then we put future opportunities at risk.

[email protected]

about 9 years ago

I think I understand the mayor's points, and I respect them... But it feels like I could paraphrase them as: we are presently giving away the commons one parcel at a time, and it would be more efficient if we give it all away at once, in line with a plan to give it away.

Park Point is not through growing and changing. I don't see that ceding these spaces, privatizing these spaces, is a good idea for a neighborhood in flux.

Don Ness

about 9 years ago

Two additional points:

1) This issue has been discussed publicly within both the parks commission and the Park Point small area planning process -- a very public process. That is exactly the point, we are bringing this issue forward during a very deliberate public process in order to gain public input and debate. This issue is a public issue because city planners have brought it forward during an open and public process. So, yes, it's a little difficult to accept the idea that we are trying to hide something -- staff have intentionally engaged the public to have this very discussion.

2.  Without a comprehensive plan, then each individual property owner can make their individual pitch on the appropriateness of vacating the easement on their particular property. As a city councilor it is difficult to deny a person the right to develop their property when there is water access a block away.

It is my thought that we can develop a thoughtful plan that proactively determines what access is needed and important vs. access that is less important or not needed. With that in hand, future city councils can point to this open and public process in which it was determined (in a comprehensive way) which to vacate and which not to vacate. That will give strength to that future council to deny future vacation requests because of how that particular property fits into the broader system. Without that overall plan, it is each property owner making their case and the council trying to determine whether that specific easement is important or not (with the difficulty of trying to understand how that easement fits into the broader system -- and the difficulty of having to say no to a person that wants to invest on property that they own).

It is impossible to debate against an emotional characterization of "privatizing the commons" -- believe me, I understand the political difficulties of being on the wrong side of that sort of conversation. But I think it's appropriate to look at the details and the practical affects.

If this is purely a philosophical debate, then the pure concept of not vacating any easements is the easiest to defend. But when we look at it from a practical standpoint and really examine the particular parcels in question (which the planners have done) and balance the interests of the public with the interests of the property owners -- then I think a more nuanced discussion and solution is possible.

Suggesting a plan that goes against a compelling philosophical and emotional issue is difficult to do -- I give credit to the planners who are willing to bring this issue forward despite knowing that they would be characterized as being on the wrong side of an emotional issue.

Thomas

about 9 years ago

Well meaning city staffers told Park Point that the antenna behind the old fire station was going to be a monopole too.  A single cylinder support.  Take a look at what they left in their wake of well meaning.  Why not a one year moratorium on the decision and place a sign at the end of each designated give-back stating "This access will be vacated October of 2014.  Email the mayor with your comments."

wildknits

about 9 years ago

Are the current adjacent landowners paying taxes on those platted but unbuilt streets?

If not, then I contend they are not the owners of that property at this time. 

I live adjacent to a platted and unbuilt street. I was told by a city worker at one point that I could have it vacated but I would then be responsible for the taxes on the additional land that I would now own. 

In the meantime we don't sweat it when folks use the "road" to access the Superior Hiking Trail which runs a few hundred feet uphill.

Rod Johnson

about 9 years ago

I applaud Don Ness's thought full comments.  I have no comment on the other parts of the plan, just the beach access issue.  

As a resident of 34th, I can only say that I am rather strongly opposed to "funneling" all the non-tier 1 resident and non-resident traffic to the beach into a few of the streets.  

Will the city readjust my taxes downward for all the damage caused by the traffic, garbage blowing around, vandalism, people parking on my lawn, etc.  Right now those of us that live on a street with beach access know what it's like.  The teens having parties, the tourists leaving behind their trash --  both of which we pick up after.  

I know that the police can't possibly afford to police all these Tier 2 areas, they can't even afford to come when we have theft.  

I know that the city can't possibly afford to pick up the garbage each day and I know that the teens will feel entitled to use these marketed accesses for more parties (hey - I was young once).  

Making a few of us take on even more of this traffic and the resultant negative results is totally unfair.  

Instead, I suggest: 
1)	Putting up better signage at the Tier 1 areas - tourists don't know where they are, and maintaining them better if you want to find a way to spend more money. 
2)	Why not require any homeowner (that doesn't have a street vacated) that makes street end improvements (existing or future) to be required to allow a method for a healthy individual to walk through to the beach.    Some have effectively built barriers, but this is not their right. What I propose is all just common sense. 

The complaints that people are cutting across private property will certainly be increased if we limit the number of street accesses.  If the person is too lazy to walk the half block to the street end, they certainly will be too lazy to walk 2 blocks.  Don't let the few penalize the rest of us.  Fix the tier 1's for tourists, eliminate the illegal barriers.  Don't put it all on a few of us who happen to be on the street you picked. The city doesn't need to spend more money on this Tier 2 idea, nor deal with the increased complaints, the idea is an example of a fix that is worse than the issue it is trying to solve.  

Park Pointers always have shared Park Point, we pick up the majority of the garbage, replant to prevent sand erosion, pay healthy taxes, deal with the traffic, etc.  But if you make a few streets Tier 2, you can bet that the increased pain you put on me and my neighbors will result in us making routine calls to the police to deal with parties, the city to deal with garbage and blowing sand, the Towing company to tow cars off our lawns, and the mayor's office for lack of response by the police and the city.  Not a threat, just a fact of what will inevitably happen if you dump this all on the few streets.

LakeVoiceNews

about 9 years ago

If you can't make it tonight, Lake Voice News will be live-blogging the entire meeting. Follow along here:

http://www.lakevoicenews.org/park-point/

kuszler

about 9 years ago

My sister and I own the house at 3801 Lake Avenue South, which is on a street end on the lake side. We have rehabilitated the home, improving its value and currently pay a substantial tax bill. While it is currently a second home for us, we plan to reside there full time upon retirement which is imminent.  

My understanding is that there will be certain Tier I streets end which will get an access sign, gravel path and portable toilet installed to facilitate use of the beach and a number of additional streets that will get Tier 2 signage and gravel path treatment. I understand that my street end is one of the latter.  

I have several concerns about this turn of events and some major ones directly related to 38th.    

First, in the general category, there is clear public access to the public access points (Franklin, Lafayette) and at the very large state park at the end of the point. In fact, there is extremely ample and generally underutilized paved parking in the park as well as bountiful access to the beach on both lake and harbor side. The very public access at these two sites is fully sufficient.  There is no need for additional formal access points and certainly not at many residential street ends.

Second, with the current informal public access on the street ends, we already get people accessing the beach. I believe that providing this informal access is not an unreasonable burden. While most daytime informal access is not a problem, in the summer evenings, most of those who access on the street ends are seeking to have fires and beer parties well into the night - something that is not tolerated in the park areas which are policed to prevent it. The illicit use at night of beach off the street ends is not policed - even if we seek to notify the police, there is little if any timely response. Those of us who live on the street ends get the privilege of disposing of the beer cans, bottles and trash.  Pointing the way and adding dedicated paths from residential end street will only make this problem much worse -- and I doubt that there are adequate resources or interest for policing more aggressively

My overarching concern is that these are residential streets - many of the folks living on these streets are young families or alternatively, vulnerable elderly.  No one should have a portapotty at their street end. It is a public health hazard and a magnet for additional problems with vagrants and illegitimate camping on the beach - made worse by the fact that this already significant problem will be brought even closer to people's homes. Similarly, the gravel paths themselves are likely to be intrusive with respect to adjacent residential living, as well as unsightly. A high price for darned little legitimate public benefit, especially given our beautiful large park at the end of the point. 

With respect to 38th street, my house actually is partially in 38th street. It is less than six blocks to the main park entrance at the end of the point. My home's footprint dates to 1905 and it sits approximately four feet into the street. I know this because when we added the second story and new roof we had to get a special ordinance because our roof eave extends an additional 3.5 feet further over the street. As a result, the proposed path will pass directly under my bedroom windows and be only a few feet from the north wall of my home. This will be a significant privacy and noise incursion, as well as a safety threat - in fact my gas, electricity and water all enter the house on that side on the ground floor. Moreover, I believe that putting this path right next to my house will significantly damage the appearance of my property, decrease the value of my home, and potentially increase the risk of vandalism.   

More generally, we on 38th are already doing more than our part for public access. We are directly across Minnesota Avenue from the rowing club. During the summer, our street and Minnesota Avenue are regularly parked up due to the crew activities. During the competition, the entire harbor side of Minnesota Ave is filled with campsites (presumably illegal but tolerated). By formalizing the public path at the end of 38th - this camping experience will migrate to that area as well - a further and not tolerable situation. The pathway in this particular street will encourage further illegal camping for the crew competitions and events, directly adjacent to our homes. We all value the rowing club and the image it provides for Duluth, but only a few of us actually experience the downside. We on 38th should not have to do "double duty" re public access. I do not think there is a single other street end that would experience this double public access burden.

Finally there is the formidable maintenance issue. Thirty-eighth street, as well as many of the other street ends, is gravel. During the eight years we have been there, it has not been maintained at all by the city. We have had no re-graveling, no grooming of the gravel, and no maintenance of any type, including in the winter. Last winter, the sand/plow came down our street end exactly once.   With melting and refreezing, the street was glare ice for most of the winter - the residents hand-sanded the street just to be able to walk on it and get our cars out of the driveway and down the street. Given the extremely poor maintenance of the street, I see the public pathway being yet another poorly maintained byway that will be an eyesore compared to the green space and gardens that are currently at the end of the street.

In sum, while I am not opposed to having informal public access to the beach on the street ends, I do not support formalizing access with signage and dedicated gravel pathways - especially when these signs and pathways only affect some and not all.   

I want to stress that I am not opposed to continued informal public access on the street ends. I would even support signage at entrances to all street ends so that all of us who are similarly situated on street ends would be similarly burdened.  

I do not support signage that serves to disadvantage and, in effect, persecute, only a few homeowners allowing others to neglect their duty to allow access on equally publicly owned street ends.  

Most importantly, I am vigorously opposed to the imposition of gravel pathways on the street ends. We have ample access at clearly public sites and putting these unsightly "public park" entrances right next to homes is an unreasonable, unfair burden, not to mention an economic injury.  

I am quite certain that most of the proponents are not on any of the affected street ends. It is pretty easy to push for public access when you are not affected or have already had your street end vacated and the burden will be borne by those who have tolerated informal access as reasonable and/or have not had the resources (time and money) or political connections to seek vacating the street end.

Rod Johnson

about 9 years ago

My neighbor and I were trying to figure out what was driving this T2 access plan.  It made no sense to add a burden to the city budget, to invite visitors (with signs) to use these additional access points -- when we don't have the money to maintain the existing T1 access points. So, we made multiple calls to the City Planning people and the Parks & Rec. department and no one could give us answers.  

The planning people at the first meeting said it was all the Parks & Rec people. When we called the head of Parks & Rec, he said he didn't know a thing about it. He directed us to his people and they said they had nothing to do with it (there was a guy initially involved, but he left and no one was currently involved).

But now I understand. It was interesting to hear the city at the last meeting state that the current ruling is: street ends, that haven't been improved by the city, are technically not beach access.  

So the assumption (that we have all had) that they are beach access is incorrect.  Even the survey used that incorrect assumption so the results are not particularly valid.

Behind all the smoke and mirrors, this is what is really going on:

1) The planning guys need to "make improvements" so that the street ends could be considered access (to meet the requirement).

2) They didn't want to do it to all street ends because then they would just have more people upset, so they were smart enough to dump it on a few of us.

3) They don't intend to spend any money or resources maintaining them (that's why Parks & Rec isn't involved).

It's all about meeting the requirement for as little cost to the city as possible.  It's all about avoiding the related cost issues (garbage, parking, parties, vandalism, etc.).  

Mmmm, let's see, with 10,000 cars on a busy day, you'd think that at least 5 percent would stop on the T2s so that's 500 additional cars parked on the side of Minnesota.  

You notice how no one from the city has addressed these concerns nor made any commitment on them. It's all smoke and mirrors. Parks and Rec isn't involved because it is not going to pick up the garbage or maintain the "new improved" T2s. It has no money and is already cutting back on what it has. The entire approach is just spend as little as possible to meet the requirement, and let those of us who live on Park Point deal with the problems. 

From the city that used smoke and mirrors to justify the tax chewing up aquarium (even though the consultants they hired, before they built it, said would be a big money loser), who put in the incredibly expensive pedestrian bridge that keeps breaking, we have another smoke and mirrors program.  

Some say this, some say that, lots of innuendo but no answers, certainly no commitment.

Let's just call it like it is, it's all for the sake of more tourism revenue for the technically bankrupt city. All about making the hotels happy so more get built and more taxes get collected. To hell with the people who live near the T2 streets, let them deal with the garbage, parties, vandalism, parking, etc.  Use smoke and mirrors to justify the changes to the road under the category of "it will improve things." You don't have to be an engineer (which I am) to see that the proposed road will cause more congestion. This road proposal isn't about anything but getting the road to run by the hotel. Park Pointers, just shut up, you aren't valuable for anything other than paying taxes.

In his comments above, the mayor promises that this would be an open process, where people get heard. So, mayor, when will that start? At the meetings so far, no one was allowed to speak, and the city planning guy was quick to point out that everyone had to be quiet and that the city planning was making the decision. And when you try to talk to them after the meeting, they point at someone else.

So far it's just to hell with the dumb bunnies that pay taxes on Park Point. Just give them smoke and mirrors and they will have to learn to live with the problems this all creates.

So mayor, when will you keep your word? (I know, I know, "shut up you dumb bunny just keep paying your ever increasing taxes")

Rod Johnson
3340 Minnesota Ave.
Duluth, MN

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