Feedback on stadium continues

Megan Kadrmas

Now that the Board of Regents approved the environmental impact statement for the proposed on-campus stadium, the next step in the community feedback process is the notice of adequacy decision.

The decision is due Monday.

With this deadline fast approaching, community members and groups are formulating responses to the document. Among their top concerns addressed in the final statement were traffic and parking, noise management, crowd control and littering.

Some community members said there are still issues the University needs to better address.

The community input process, which has been ongoing since January, involves the Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park and Southeast Como neighborhoods, along with business groups and government agencies.

Some of these groups have been further represented during the stadium planning process through the Stadium Area Advisory Group. The group, which consists of representatives from business and community groups, is one of two stadium advisory committees formed in response to feedback from the first draft of the statement last fall.

Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, said he thinks the University’s effort to involve different voices in the community has been important to the planning process.

“By being invited to be involved within this whole process, and by keeping us well-informed, I feel that our concerns are being adequately addressed and respected,” he said.

However, some issues still need more in-depth answers, said Jim Rosveld, general manager of Campus Pizza and the Stadium Area Advisory Group representative for Stadium Village businesses.

“For the most part, the University has addressed our concerns,” he said. “However, issues surrounding Station 19 have not been adequately discussed in the environmental impact statement or in Stadium Area Advisory Group meetings.”

Station 19, at 200 S.E. Ontario St., is a historic building. Local and state groups, such as the Minnesota Historical Society, have raised concerns about the effects of increased automobile and pedestrian traffic around the building.

The statement says that the stadium plan will avoid impacting the building.

Another issue for many community groups, especially those representing the adjacent neighborhoods, is who will fund the University’s proposed solutions to their concerns.

Thomas Lincoln, a board member for the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, said it is still not clear how traffic controls will be funded.

Mitigation funding for the neighborhoods also is being discussed as a way to help neighborhoods with maintenance and renovation projects, as well as unforeseeable problems in the future.

Community groups are asking for a small percentage of stadium revenue to be directed to a mitigation fund. These ideas were addressed in the final statement but no solid conclusions were drawn.

Although there are specific questions that still need to be addressed, campus-community relations are the broader theme of the stadium planning process, said Stephen Banks of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association.

“The University has a tendency to act unilaterally on issues that affect the surrounding communities,” he said. “The real question is, Does the University have an obligation towards these communities?”

“What’s good for the neighborhoods is good for the University,” he said.