Readers Write: Hiawatha and Hillcrest Golf Courses, Jewish Community, Snowy Sidewalks
The voices in this article commenting on the Hiawatha Golf Course redesign show no awareness of the golf course’s bustling parks, beaches and sporting venues hidden by an ugly, rusty fence (“Preserve Hiawatha, along with its story,” 6 March ). These are visited by far more diverse people in terms of age, race, gender and culture than the golf course.
Opponents also ignore the deeper history of this stolen land. They look to a substantial consolation prize: a nine-hole golf course, driving ranges, pro shop and more. They do not mention the long-term decline in use of the golf course or the threat that it will be inaccessible for any use if we receive heavy rain.
Meanwhile, the redesign balances conflicting needs and goals. It addresses history and environmental realities. It reflects insights from outreach work and the expertise of Minneapolis Park Board staff. I trust these officials and their focus groups more than the out-of-town golf consultant quoted in this Sunday article.
I feel for those who will sincerely mourn this necessary change. But I suspect many of their clubmates’ newfound attachment to the story has more to do with a desire to avoid a 10-minute ride to play another underused public course somewhere on the subway.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope these advocates also speak to the abysmal record of our state when given the opportunity to support racial equity through public and private investments in their workplaces, in council chambers, and anywhere else they occupy a privileged position.
Ben Horowitz, Minneapolis
With the proposed Hillcrest development, the City of St. Paul is taking strong action to fight climate change, provide fair housing and create good jobs where people live (“Hesitant about Hillcrest,” March 5). The planning process included more than 700 people over three years, particularly representing communities of color and current neighbors. (To see the plan, go to stpaul.gov and search for Hillcrest.)
The idea of 54 acres of light industrial land use initially seems ugly and off-putting – maybe that’s what some neighbors imagine. But the master plan makes it clear that with public art, trees, vegetation, landscaping, creative spacing and design, these areas can be functional. and attractive.
For nearby neighbors who are concerned about the project: Ongoing community engagement should bring together current and potential residents and business owners. What do they share? What would they like to see in the neighborhood crossroads? What resources does the neighborhood need (library, daycare, neighborhood security, parking, gathering space, open space)?
The master plan calls for the site to produce zero carbon, using geothermal district heating (now very reliable) and on-site solar electricity from rooftop panels on light industrial buildings. It’s important for the East Side and exciting for the whole city. I live near Marshall and Snelling Avenues, where apartment buildings rise on every block. They should all be zero carbon, and this project will show that it is possible!
Amy Gilbert, St. Paul
On March 6, I read two letters defending the Jewish community on the north side of Minneapolis against accusations of racism and bias in the treatment of their black neighbors (“Not how it came to be,” Readers Write). I lived in Minnesota for 54 years and in Minneapolis for 49 years. I grew up in Washington, DC in the 1950s, some of that time in a predominantly middle and working class Jewish neighborhood. Most of my neighbors were first generation Americans.
Despite the differences in place, I have two scenarios from my youth that might shed some light on the issue raised in these letters. First: In the mid-1950s, a neighbor of mine sold his house to a black family. Almost immediately, “For Sale” signs were posted. Some of our neighbors put up “This house is not for sale” signs. Despite everything, the neighborhood has become predominantly black in five years. The only reason for this change was racism, individual and structural. Second: My father owned a liquor store in a predominantly black neighborhood. He was polite to his customers and hired black employees. During the riots following the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., black neighbors protected his store. That didn’t stop racist stereotyping and comments from my family members.
I cite these examples only to show that racism exists in the wider Jewish community and can exist in the heart of Jewish neighborhoods with decent treatment of black patrons.
Maury Landsman, Minneapolis
Two writers of March 6 letters discussed their views on Jewish migration from north Minneapolis to St. Louis Park in the late 1960s, as featured in a recent and well-rounded “Curious Minnesota” column (“How the suburbs became the center of Jewish life,” February 27). Most of this migration occurred in the two decades following World War II.
The St. Louis Park Historical Society provided background information and materials to the reporter for the original story. One idea from our recent newsletter that didn’t make the final cut but that we think is important was the welcoming attitude of a rookie school superintendent (in 1948):
“In 1949, as usual, the Park High School Ball was to be held at the Bloomington Automobile Club. A principal discovered that a Jewish student was planning to attend and banned it. When the superintendent of the school in the park, Harold Enestvedt, was informed, he told the club that if all his pupils were not welcome, the ball would be held elsewhere.The club turned around and everyone went to the ball as expected.
Enestvedt served as superintendent for 24 years until 1972 and began including Jewish holidays in school calendars in the mid-1950s, but in 1962 he was caught in a fierce backlash when he attempted to rename the holiday from Easter to “spring break”.
My wife and I and our 3 year old daughter and toddler son moved to the park 36 years ago. We made our decision largely on the schools’ strong reputation – another of the many factors that could explain the Jewish community’s choice to settle here.
William Beyer, St. Louis Park
The author is a trustee of the St. Louis Park Historical Society.
I have been walking outdoors daily for over 20 years. From 2016 to 2021, I walked through the Lyndale neighborhood, taking several routes that included the east side of Bde Maka Ska. In April 2021, my wife and I moved to Nokomis Square Cooperative, located in the southeast neighborhood of Minnehaha. I experienced the joyous benefits of walking in the park around Minnehaha Falls, as well as along the Minnehaha Creek Boardwalk and the eastern shore of Lake Nokomis. In my personal experience, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has generally done a very thorough, consistent, and timely job of clearing snow from the combined bike and pedestrian paths.
Unfortunately, the source of my frustration was the all-too-common snowy and icy sidewalks in front of homes, apartment buildings and businesses. I believe Tony Hull’s observations in “Wintry city is no walk in the park” (Opinion Exchange, March 9) are true. My observations are also true. The Park Board is responsible for plowing many miles of boardwalks, trails and parking lots. It is possible that due to limited resources in terms of personnel, time and funds, it will be necessary to prioritize the snow removal schedule.
I share Hull’s expectation that the park board focus on being a good neighbour. However, I expect all owners to adopt a good neighbor ethic. Minneapolis snow removal ordinance not working. City sidewalks, crosswalks and bus stops are not cleared of snow and ice on a regular and timely basis. 311 complaints and complaint inspection were of little help from my point of view.
Perhaps a city-wide “good neighbour” approach could be a collaborative partnership with the park board, the city (especially the public works department), the pedestrian advisory committee, Metro Transit, disability rights advocates, pedestrian/bicycle advocates, neighborhood associations, trade associations, schools, environmental advocates, foundations, health care providers and other interested parties. This partnership (“Minneapolis Nice means snow and ice removal”) would design, implement and evaluate a comprehensive, creative and responsible program for cost-effective, fast, sustainable and consistent snow and ice removal from sidewalks, crosswalks and stop signs. bus.
Join me in picking up a shovel, electric snow blower, ice crusher and sand to keep all of our neighbors safe in the winter.
Kevin W. Corrado, Minneapolis
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