From: Frank Pomeroy, Chair
Eric Sorensen, Vice-Chair
We are the Chair and Vice Chair for Mayor Peterson’s Levee Park Committee. We offer the following comments and observations regarding the process and hoped for outcomes that the Committee has been following:
1. The Mayor appointed the committee to develop recommendations for improvements to the City’s downtown waterfront which would attract the public.
2. The City hired a University of Minnesota team to help the committee in formulating those recommendations. Two-thirds of the funding for the consultants’ fees were provided by private donors, and we are grateful for that.
3. The U of M team uses a process called scenario planning, a problem-solving tool, to develop possible “what if” outcomes that help focus the committee on the “now” and “future state” of the levee that needs to be addressed. One scenario is not better than another; they simply help us to think about all possible impacts on the levee.
4. That process has been used to think about things affecting the levee such as industrial issues and river conditions that might change.
5. Events have been held on the levee to allow the public to offer comments as to how the levee should be improved. Attendance has been wonderful and many comments have been offered which will help direct the final report and recommendations to the Council. More public events are planned.
The Committee has discussed the positive relationship between manufacturing growth and job creation and the growing arts, cultural, tourism, and outdoor recreational activities in Winona. They are not mutually exclusive, and, in fact, complement one another. Why? We believe that the arts and outdoor events create another reason for manufacturers to keep and attract new employees from looking elsewhere, and the arts and outdoor recreation activities benefit from the greater resources that industry provides, both in capital and people. Manufacturing growth in Winona has been terrific over the past few decades and underpins our emerging new industry, envied by many other communities in the region: We believe that new industry can also be attracted to Winona for this very reason.
Our hope is that a redesigned and active levee becomes emblematic of that relationship. A grassroots group LIVE ON THE LEVEE has already demonstrated this possibility.