The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will get an update this evening on its fundraising foundation’s revamped program for people who want to endow benches, trees, picnic tables, bicycle racks and gardens. The meeting comes nine days after my story about how one memorial bench donor, former park commissioner Vivian Mason, decided not to renew her commitment for another five years because of the sharply rising prices and tight deadline for doing so.
Mason had hoped to tell the park board directly about her complaints tonight, but it was still unclear Tuesday whether she would be able to do so. She had planned to do it during the public comment period, but once that became an agenda item – with a presentation from Cecily Hines of the Foundation for Minneapolis Parks – park board rules don’t allow commentary on agenda items during the “open time” portion, said Dawn Sommers, the park board spokeswoman. Mason got a phone call from a park board staff member informing her that she wouldn’t be allowed to speak as a result.
Sommers said the board, which approved the program in February, was revisiting it because “there have just been a number of questions of late.” You can watch the meeting live, starting at 5 p.m., on the city of Minneapolis webcast.