Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wakeboarding Championships In Hawthorne, and We Read About Them in the Paper the Next Day

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, stock photo from the localyte blog.

Yesterday in the Star Tribune, there was an inspiring story of a wakeboarding contestant who has also battled cancer.  Apparently the national wakeboarding championships were held right here on Hawthorne's side of the Mississippi River.  Who knew about this?  I can't think of a good reason why a competition of a national caliber would not be highly publicized in the community where it was being held.  Whether it's the fault of the World Wakeboard Association, the West Broadway Coalition, Councilmember Hofstede the Park Board, or County Commissioner Stenglein, or even my own organization, someone clearly dropped the ball on this.

And such a lack of publicity around River events happening in NoMi (and especially Hawthorne) is not new.  Last year the Aquatennial had events along the River on the same day and at the same times as the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl.  There was no synergy or connection between events, and some local business owners didn't even know that either one was happening.

We still need easier bike access to the River, and I'm glad new signs are popping up around NoMi.  But access to the Mississippi and making the River a community connection goes beyond infrastructure.   There is a definite lack of communication around high-profile events that happen in our community.

9 comments:

  1. a bunch of you hawthorne folks have been complaining about this type of thing for a few summers now. what communication have you sent to the park and rec department asking them to communiate more or better? are they ignoring your requests or are you just complaining about something and not taking any action yourself to make it different in the future?

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  2. After last year, the Hawthornites who were most frustrated about the lack of communication did speak with the Executive Director of the West Broadway Coalition about this, as well as CM Hofstede's office. The Park Board connection didn't dawn on us until recently. But we have done more than simply gripe about the problem on a blog.

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  3. OK, so you complained to two entities that have zero control over the lack of communication about events on the river. Glad it dawned on you this year about where the problem lies.

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  4. I disagree, anon. One of the reasons a neighbor and I brought this specifically to the West Broadway Business Coalition was because we believe that creating synergy between River events and the community will markedly improve business along Broadway Avenue. I brought this concern to the ED there repeatedly. There's no good reason for that coalition to drop the ball here.

    And council members distribute a newsletter with important community events on a regular basis. Once again, I see little excuse for the lack of an email blast from Hofstede's office that would inform residents of a national championship event happening right in her ward.

    That being said, the issue was brought up at a Hawthorne meeting tonight, and we realized we're not even sure if the Park Board is the right entity to go to about dissemination of such events. Obviously the wakebaording championship folks didn't just show up in hopes that nobody was using that section of the Mississippi one night. They cleared it with SOMEBODY. Who? The Park Board? Coast Guard? Army Corps of Engineers? City Council? If Hawthorne wants to do our part to distribute this kind of information (and we do) then we need to know where it all starts from.

    So anon, if you know the answer to that question, I'd humbly ask for your advice.

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  5. I keep thinking about how this disconnect occurs and it still baffles me. I keep thinking to myself that there is no way that major events would occur in Powderhorn Park without the Powderhorn community being aware of them. I think a good place to start would be asking why or how that would occur over there. I think it is a little bit of a lot of things. Council Member news letters, neighborhood organizations being informed, Southside Pride - I'm sure there are other ways. For some reason that just doesn't happen Over North. The disconnect between North Minneapolis and the river front is more than just physical - some of it obviously also involves communication. The Mississippi Riverfront Design Initiative has a survey where they are currently taking feedback to from the community and I brought up this concern to them. With this initiative occurring, this seems to be the year that "connecting North Minneapolis with the river front" seems to be a big buzz, so it is a very timely topic to bring up.

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  6. Last year during FLOW, there was simultaneously a major spectator event drawing large crowds that occurred on the riverfront right at the foot of West Broadway. During FLOW, there were circulator busses running along West Broadway, but they did not extend to the river. There was complete disconnect between the two major events simultaneously occurring on the West Broadway Corridor. Especially considering the use of the word "FLOW" as the theme of the arts crawl, how awesome would it be to also be able to take the circulator bus to the riverfront for a water ski show? Or to attend the water ski show and be able to break off and venture onto an arts crawl? West Broadway is uniquely situated to be able to create such synergy of events between the river front and the business district if we make the connections. This isn't a gripe, it is a discussion to highlight a point of opportunity for North Minneapolis.

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  7. Maybe City authorities like the Northside the way it is? How convenient to have a contained area that they can isolate and blame for all their woes. Someplace without any political will because it is so highly dependent on social services and kept in constant disarray by the funding of dozens of small competing community organizations. Someplace with no major economic entities with political clout. Someplace that can be isolated by parkways, freeways, and geological features that can be even more restricted by limiting repair of bridges and curtailing improvement projects or circumventing transportation routes around the community. Someplace where criminals and sexual offenders can take advantage of lax law enforcement and feel at home. There is a name for places like this and every MAJOR city needs one - it's called a ghetto.

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  8. I debated whether to publish anon 6:38's comment. Obviously I let it slide but don't think it warrants much of a response. Other than this: Wrong, and even if you're right, we're going to change that dynamic in NoMi. So there.

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  9. (Paraphrased - Wrong, Well maybe...but it doesn't matter.) LOL Sorry, Jeff. I understand what you are trying to say and I feel for you because you are one of the most progressive leaders making inroads for this community. But it does matter because communications that enable NoMi to change it's image is just the tip of the iceberg. As long as the City and other community leaders have lowered expectations of the North Side, revitalization efforts will be painstakingly slow. As long as a bias exists regarding the capacity of Northsiders to appreciate and embrace opportunities and needed improvements, that funding will go to other communities. We will never be able to change this dynamic till we admit that there is an institutional component of the politicians and administrators who's home communities benefit by maintaining the status quo in NoMi.

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