Many are blamed for facility delay

The rowing team’s issue is between the University, the park board and the city.

by Lora Pabst

The new rowing facility might be delayed significantly because the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are in disagreement over storm water runoff on the rowing facility construction site.

Orlyn Miller, director of planning and architecture for Capital Planning and Project Management, has met with representatives from the city and the park board to address the storm water runoff. The issue was supposed to be resolved several weeks ago, but a decision has yet not been reached, Miller said.

The project was supposed to break ground in early fall but is being postponed because of the disagreement.

“The contractor said that if this is resolved in the next week, they would still proceed (with breaking ground),” Miller said. “We had hoped to be done by early summer but this might push it into late summer or early fall.”

Miller said the delay began earlier this fall when the University found out it had to move existing storm water pipes.

“What caught the “U’ by surprise late in the game was the degree to which the requirements expanded,” Miller said.

The University then proposed to hold the excess runoff in a retention pond on the site, but the park board didn’t approve the plan. Currently, the University is working with the city to come up with a solution that will meet requirements and satisfy the park board.

Dawn Sommers, spokeswoman for the park board, said the board didn’t make the regulations on runoff.

“The initial plans were approved by the park board and then they came in with a retention pond we didn’t agree with,” she said.

Sommers said the issue is between the University and the city.

“The park board is right in that at this point they’ve concluded they’re not gonna allow (runoff) storage in the park, so now it is up to the University and the city to make a plan,” Miller said.

But he said the larger issues of runoff regulation are between the city and the park board.

Because the park is owned by the city but managed by the park board, the matter of where runoff should go is an issue in many major projects along the river, Miller said.

“We’ve simply accelerated that discussion,” Miller said.

In the meantime, the rowing team and staff are the ones suffering from of the delay.

Rowing coach Wendy Davis said the team will have to stay in its temporary practice room at Mariucci Arena for the rest of the winter. It shares the space with several other teams.

“Not having a permanent facility is frustrating, but it doesn’t stop us from being good,” Davis said. “It does stop us from reaching our full potential.”