Minneapolis parks, District 5, park election, 2017 election, minneapolis parks and recreation board, Bill Shroyer, Bill For Parks, sustainability, mprb, hiawatha, nokomis, park board, Hiawatha golf, Shroyer
Bill Shroyer Cares for Parks

Campaign Statement

Hiawatha Golf Course

     Home owners in Minneapolis Park Board District 5 have been frustrated by the lack of concern over serious water mitigation issues that affect property values, maintenance costs and indeed, neighborhood wide stability. 

The flooding in South Minneapolis that temporarily closed Hiawatha Golf Course in 2014, raised questions about the future of golf at that site but revealed a larger problem of run-off, storm water drainage, water tables in the area and how to deal with it. 

Entire neighborhoods are faced with basement water issues and repair bills.  The original flooding was the impetus for a Minneapolis Park Board decision to reduce pumping levels at the Hiawatha Golf site and look to close or severely cut back golf operations.

State Senators Patricia Torres Ray and State Representatives Jim Davnie and Jean Wagenius first held a Water Quality meeting September 13th, 2017, at Nokomis Park in South Minneapolis.  The issue of storm-water runoff and trash being piped into Lake Hiawatha was mentioned.

Another hearing was held at the State Capital October 6th, 2017 with the addition of State Senator Jeff Hayden, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, and Minneapolis City Council member Andrew Johnson.  The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minneapolis Park Board sent representatives also. The public hearing revealed that this water mitigation problem has gone far beyond the Hiawatha Golf Course.  Water released from a dam on Grays Bay on Lake Minnetonka, a smaller dam in Edina, and increased runoff from airport expansion by the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) all pour into Lake Hiawatha. 

The last lake on the last couple miles of Minnehaha Creek (a 180 square mile watershed) is being blamed for pollution and flooding. As the saying goes, ”We can”t all live upstream!”.

The larger issue has been avoided by the Minneapolis Park Board in 2017 but it now becomes a multi-jurisdictional question. How will the newly constituted Board address these pressing issues?

This will require cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the original group of concerned homeowners. 

 Bill for Minneapolis Parks is an issue-driven campaign. ​​

It is important for me to remain active concerning issues from the campaign and beyond because I love the parks. 

Some politicians seek to replace Hiawatha Gofl Course with flooded areas to simulate wetlands that would be subject to non-native invasive plants that would be difficult to control. Don't let this resource jewel disappear. 

Recent hearings and investigative forums have revealed the threat of flooding and infrastructure collapse due to decreased pumping at Lake Hiawatha and lack of alternative plans to prevent this flooding.

My 17 years of experience working at the Minneapolis Park Board have given me many insights into how to improve Operations, Forestry, Recreation, and Management.

Equity in park management, staffing and use is a top priority. My daily contact with the park staff give me insight into the need for diversity that fairly represents the population of Minneapolis with living wage jobs and more responsiblity for underrepresented communities. Click to view Bill's video statment about equity and institutional racism.

The focus for my campaign is sustainability.... environment, the economics, and equity. The Minneapolis Park Board must protect the next 130 years as an independent governmental body. The foresight of the founders preserved the land and water of Minneapolis...not for us, but for our children and grandchildren!

Thank you, Bill Shroyer  


I support buying land by the Mississippi River for park expansion.

I oppose extravagant plans for park expansion that I view as fantasy schemes such as floating islands and swimming beaches on the Mississppi. 

Several recent completed projects came in at double the budgeted cost. 

We need a fiscally responsible Park Board.  More property tax revenue is not a guarantee of success.

  • Cultural programs
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Tree preservation
  • Mississippi riverfront acquisition
  • Eighteen hole Hiawatha golf course redesign
  • Food Forest and silent sports projects
  • Water runoff mitigation Hiawatha/Nokomis
  • Seniors in parks: access, programs and sharing


Park Staffing

The trend in outsourcing park jobs is disturbing. Full time park employees go through a background check and a Civil Service interview process. This provides some basic protection to the public, especially for the children that use our parks. 

Outsourcing services removes the transparency and accountability that are built into the system. Costs and spending are public data at the Park Board, Private contractors are less accountable, leading to cost overruns and below subsistence pay for employees of contractors.

Forty percent of temporary employees are People of Color. Seventy-five percent of Full Time benefited employees are white. That's bad math for true racial equity. 

​​​Park staff should reflect the faces of the children they serve.

Park Safety

  The Minneapolis Park Police have a long history of being the “nice” police. The general emphasis is on safety more than strict enforcement. It is good to maintain community relations on a friendly level.

Almost 7,000 acres of sometimes remote areas require a trained Police force. Cooperation between Minneapolis Public Schools, Hennepin County, and Minneapolis Police is essential.

Youth sports and diversion programs pay big dividends in public safety.

Public safety is the most important role of the Park Police. They are responsible for the safety of children, staff and patrons of Minneapolis Parks.

 Republican Funding of DFLers Campaign

In the 2017 Park Board elections, Bill's opponent and other local candidates joined an attack campaign against unnmamed commissioner candidates that proclaimed, "they would destroy our parks." That absurd assertion lacked credibility and was outrageous on the face of it. This attack campaign was funded by a PAC that was formed in late September, 2017 by some outgoing Park Commissioners and Park Board candidates with sources of funding from an organization representing right-wing Republicans and downtown business developers called Minnesota Jobs Coalition.

The campaign was aimed at protecting the status quo and developer interests and preventing needed changes to the Park Board. It doesn't even name the candidates against whom the claim is made, implying that candidates not endorsed by this group would destroy the parks. Totally irresponsible campaigning with dirty money from conservative Republican sources backing DFL candidates who supported their agenddont' let these turncoat supposed DFL politicans run under the DFL banner in future attempts to hold public office. Hold them accountable.

See Tribune article about Minnesota Jobs Coalition which funded $15,000 (50%) of the attack campaign endorsing certain candidates.

Post election article by MinnPost detailing some elements of the developer funded campaign against 2017 Park Commissioners and City Council candidates.  

Some Politicians Fail to Listen

Some Minneapolis Park Board commissioners and other politicians failed to attend community forums in 2017 that would have helped inform them of emerging concerns.   During the 2017 campaign some commissioners were absent from critical informational meetings, political forums and community gatherings where District 5 and citywide issues that affect our parks were the topics.

Sept 13: Water Quality at Nokomis; attended by District 5 Park Commissioner candidate Bill Shroyer, State Senator Torres Ray, State Representative Jean Wagenius, Rep. Jim Devnie and others.

Sept. 23: “Listening Session” at Nokomis; attended by Bill Shroyer, at large Park Commissioner candidates Londell French and Devin Hogan and others.

Oct. 3: League of Women voters Civic Buzz “Equity in Minneapolis Parks” at Black Forest: attended by Bill Shroyer, Parks Board representative Joelle Allen and Jake Virden of Parks & Power, at large commissioner candidate Russ Henry,  and others.

Oct. 5: District 5 & 6 “Racial Equity” Forum at Martin Luther King, Jr Park; attended by Bill Shroyer, Park Commissioner Brad Bourne, commissioner candidate Andrea Fahrenkrug and others.

Oct. 6: Hearing at State Capital concerning water issues at Hiawatha and Nokomis; called by State Senator Torres Ray and attended by Senator Jeff Hayden, State Rep. Wagenius, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Mpls City Council Member Andrew Johnson, staff from MPRB, DNR and Minnehaha Watershed; Also attended, Bill Shroyer, Russ Henry, many community activists and more.

Various other community gatherings in District 5 for the purpose of discussing the issues relevant to the Park Board and the community were not attended by incumbents and some candidates for the Park Board: 

Aug. 15: Hiawatha Golf Course; attended by Bill Shroyer, Nekima Levy-Pond, Charlie Casserly, Bob Fine, Andrea Fahrenkrug, and lots of Hiawatha/Nokomis neighbors. Link to video.

Sept 28: Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Hiawatha/Nokomis water mitigation meeting. Link to video.

Oct. 18: Hope Lutheran Church, Hiawatha/Nokomis water mitigation meeting.

All of these gatherings were attended by constituents who participated with many questions and insights. 

Tree Wood Utilization

The Star Tribune published a story featuring a photo of stacked tree trunks that illustrates one of my main environmental campaign initiatives--wood utilization. Tree trunks stored on Scherer Bros site have value: economically and environmentally. We need to use them for carbon sequestration, i.e. wood products and lumber. Does anyone know that these trunks are given away? No revenue appears in the 2017 Park Board budget for sale of this wood. Actually there is a $126,000 negative listed from the loss of rental income at a grinding site at Fort Snelling. This is an enterprise resource too.

The Trib photo shows what I call "saw logs" that were obviously stacked to be used by someone. Who get this wood and what do they pay? Does tax-payer property stored on Park Board land by Park Board employees benefit tax-payers and the environment?

We need to make boards at the Park Board. This stack of lumber could make picnic tables or benches. Don't chip it or give it away. Create jobs, preserve the environment and increase revenue.

At least the Park Board should receive fair market value if we don't utilize it for the parks. I've pushed urban wood utilization for many years and will defend our trees as we plant, trim and remove them when necessary. Up to 30% of America's hardwood needs could be filled using urban trees.

Look again at the photo. The tree trunks are on the Scherer Bros site---a lumber yard. Join me in saving and using these logs. 
Bill Shroyer.