This past week, the anticipated Lilydale Regional Park Environmental Assessment Worksheet report was completed and submitted to Saint Paul Parks & Recreation by their contractor, Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc (EOR). Friends of Lilydale Park received a copy of the report by mail Saturday, June 9. To date, we have not seen the report posted on the City's website, but presumably they will post this week.
We have begun to peruse the report and thought it important to share some of the things found in our initial scan. Our reaction was "Wow!?!" And not in a good way. We had expected the EAW to be an environmental analysis of Park staff's proposed new Lilydale Park roadway, buildings etc. and how those things fit with a "natural-resources based park." The report is that - and more. The report includes new elements Park staff have added to the plans for Lilydale Park - that to the best of our knowledge have not been presented or discussed by the LilydalePark Task Force or in any other public forum. Here are a few of the things from the report:
- A startling (never-heard-discussed-ever-before in our 13.5 yrs of being a Friends group) comment that "motorized use of the (Pickerel) lake is considered."
- Also, a map showing a second "future picnic shelter" of unspecified size located beside Pickerel in the new, now dubbed "central gathering area" of Lilydale Park; and
- Nearby, a new 10'-wide paved trail will replace the current, recently-constructed, rustic trail along the lake.
- The current unpaved small lot by the lake still disappears in place of a new 25-car paved lot to be placed alongside "Pickerel Clearing." The "clearing" is still planned to be built on the to-be-mounded-up site atop the continuing to decompose, gas-venting old town of Lilydale landfill.
- There is more of the report we need to read, but clearly Parks' staff has no shortage of ideas for how to "improve" Lilydale Park.
Last week, Saint Paul Parks & Rec announced via the Pioneer Press that the required public hearing on the report will be held Monday, June 18, 6:30 p.m. at Neighborhood House. The public will be limited to comments of three minutes and may speak only to the EAW report. Parks assured the West Side Citizen Organization (District Council) staff that even if people haven't had access to the EAW report to read or consider, EOR, the paid consultant, will provide an overview at the hearing. It was interesting for us to read in EOR's proposal to Parks to become the EAW vendor, that among their company's strong attributes: a long history of working with and understanding Parks' staff needs.
There will be a 30-day period for taking written public comments beginning Monday, June 11, although it is not clear in the report who to address comments to or where to send them.
As soon as we learn more, we will provide an update.