Friday, August 07, 2020

A Park For All Seasons

Way Park is the heart of a vibrant neighborhood on the west side of Northfield. It features:

  •  the ROMP musical playground 
  • playground equipment and swings
  • pre-school equipment 
  • a half basketball court 
  • picnic and grilling areas 
  • a walking path 
  • a warming hut and ice rink (seasonal) 
  • a small baseball/kickball diamond (seasonal) 
  • a large open field perfect for pick up soccer games, kite flying, and dog exercise 
  • lovely rain gardens 
Our organization, The Friends of Way Park hosts several events every year including Yoga in the Park, the Fall Festival and a spring Explore the Outdoors event. Check out the kiosks in the park for more information and upcoming events!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Metting Minutes February 22, 2018

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes
Feb 22, 2018
7:30 pm
Ed’s house

Members Present: Peder Jothen (Treasurer), Ed Smith (Chair), Heidi Rubenstein,
Michelle Martin(Secretary), Mary Poole, Maggie Epstein

  1. Approval of Minutes.
  2. Treasurer’s Report
    1. $21,722.06 (includes year end gifts)
    2. $20 discrepancy for outstanding check
    3. Give to the Max Day
      1. 12 Donations - $900
      2. $100 additional direct donation
III. Healthy Activities Fund - Yoga in the Park
  1. Grant Proposal Deadline 2/22/18
  2. Grant submitted several weeks ago by Ed
  3. We’ll find out on March 20
IV. Harkness Picnic Plaza
  1. No News
  2. Paul Harkness has been in touch with Maggie
V. New Business/Ideas
A. Basketball Court
  1. Currently square concrete and hoop is in the court
  2. Adding an additional concrete pad would enable a North/South orientation with two hoops
B. What Do You Want to See in the Park?
  1. Good opportunity to seek feedback from people
  2. Either by e-mail or at the spring event
C.  Low level park needs
  1. Straighten bases and make closer together
  2. Possibly add a bleacher bench for kids to sit on
  3. Replace long picnic table
VII. Website
  1. Ed has looked at website and updated elements that needed updating (names, etc.)
  2. Everyone should look at website and get an idea of what (if anything) might need to be changed.  What purpose should it fulfil
  3. People should give Ed bio

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes Feb. 15th, 2017

Friends of Way Park Meeting Minutes
February 15, 2017, 7:30 pm

Members present: Anne Berry (Chair), Mary Emery (Treasurer), Peder Jothen, Michelle Martin, Mary Poole, Ed Smith

1. Anne described the Living Legend Award Ceremony for Judy Swanson. The stage was set with pieces of art that Judy had designed for things like Christmas Fest at St. Olaf, the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, Way Park, etc. The speakers described the award and nomination process, and then they described Judy and her contributions to Northfield. Dan Dimick’s remarks included a description of Judy’s efforts for Way Park, and hearing about her motivations and what she was able to accomplish was inspiring. Northfield’s poet laureate had written a poem for the occasion and it’s imagery centered on the hospital, the babies born there, the people treated there, and the idea that people today walk through that space and remember – that’s where my son was born (for example). It was a good reminder that we are carrying on a mission that she and others began when the hospital moved.

2. The discussion that followed was focused on the south end. Mary talked about the idea of the amphitheater as the healing garden or something, to make it more meaningful, more inviting. It’s not fulfilling its intended purpose. It’s barren and doesn’t get used. Talk turned to why it doesn’t get used as a stage/audience – no stage, no electricity, no shade (at the times when Books & Stars or the Vintage Bands are there). The group talked about trying to get someone to perform, both so that the amphitheater would get some use and so that we could get feedback from the groups about what would make it more appealing. Michelle suggested offering a grant ($100 for costumes and lemonade) to any group that wants to put on a show. Peder will ask the Counterfactuals if they would want to play there, why or why not, what would they need. Anne will ask Doug Bratland. Someone (Mary? Ed) suggested looking at other amphitheaters to see how they are landscaped and how they are used.

The other project at the south end that was discussed was memorializing the hospital. Peder noted that many new families don’t know that the park is the former site of the hospital, so any memorial should be done in such a way that it offers something to them. Ed described a clever memorial he had seen that appeared to show a space in its current and former shape at the same time. Anne committed to making a poster for the kiosk at that end that described the history and asked for help with an image that could show before and after. Ed also described the “home plate” that is right in the middle of Camp Snoopy at MOA to commemorate the location of the former ?? stadium. Anne suggested using stones flush with the ground to mark the footprint of the hospital.

A tentative plan was made to try to meet with Judy Swanson at the south end and talk to her about our ideas and how they mesh with the ideas of the original group, and then to talk to the city people about what type of changes would be possible (since maintenance must be minimal).

3. The picnic table project is somewhat clearer and more easily accomplished. The group talked about the sidewalk (“closing the loop,” finishing the path between the playground area and First Street) and about a larger area for more picnic tables. Many ideas were exchanged and Mary agreed to make a drawing that incorporates some of what was discussed so that we have something to look at and discuss at our next meeting.

4. Anne told the group about a conversation with Leif Knecht, in which he asked if we had a need for a tree. He and a group of friends would like to plant a tree in honor of a friend who recently passed away and who used to play in the park. Alternatively, they would like to place a plaque near one of the trees he already planted. The group decided that if he wants to move quickly, he
should just go with the plaque. The trees that the park “needs,” that are in the master tree plan, are along the east and west edges of the south side, and not really the kind that you would dedicate to someone. There is a desire for a climbing tree at some point.

5. Anne informed the group that Andrea Een is interested in doing a benefit concert for us. Everyone agreed that her offer is one we should accept, but once there is something to fundraise for.

6. Discussion of upcoming events was brief. Mary and Michelle will talk about that at our next meeting.

7. Anne described an idea that the Girl Scout troop has to create a backpack that can be checked out from the library with kid-friendly information about pollinators and another that will incorporate use of the musical plaza.

8. We did not talk about or approve the minutes. This can be point one on our next meeting agenda. Next meeting: March 15 at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes Jan. 18th, 2017

Friends of Way Park Meeting Minutes
January 18th , 2017, 7:30 pm

Members Present: Sara Payne (Vice Chair), Mary Poole, Mary Emery (Treasurer), Peder Jothen, Ed Smith, Anne Berry (Chair), Maggie Epstein, Cynthia Kauffeld (Secretary).
Location: Sara’s house.
Approval of October minutes. 

  • Minutes approved with two minor changes.

Treasurer’s Report: 

  • Mary E passes out the report. We received $1,734.25 in new donations this month. $17,647.93 is the current bank balance. Mary E sent out thankyou notes to everyone who donated for GiveMN and at the end of 2016.

Bee City update:

  • Our contact Lauren from the co-op has relocated to the Cities, but Sara met on her own with Tim Behrendt and Wanda from the City to discuss the bee city initiative. She learned of an effort the city has been working on, with collaboration from City Council member Erica Zweifel, to participate in a program to support pollinator friendly best practices and to seek a “pollinator-friendly” city designation. It looks like efforts associated with this program overlap a lot with the Bee City program (reductions in the use of anything that’s destructive to pollinators, moves from “turf to pollinators”, etc.), so this may be where we should place our efforts rather than with the Bee City option. The City needs help with the education piece of the pollinator-friendly program, and that may be an area we could help with.  
  • Sara was invited to a meeting off the environmental quality commission by Tim, and Erica is sitting on that committee too, as is Nancy Braker. They’d like to form a subgroup of the EQC (a pollinator working group) that would focus on the pollinator questions and try to identify how to involve the community and get support and participation. Sara gave them her contact information and will serve as a sort of liaison between this city initiative and FWP to identify ways we might support this effort in the park (e.g. we should have information in the park kiosks about an existing program that offers free seeds, as well as the rain barrel reimbursement program). 

Give to the Max report:

  • Ed updated our website and our information on the GiveMN, and set everything up for Give to the Max Day. Donations added up to just over $825!! We sent a mailing to our list, and placed info in the kiosks; with minimal input, we got a significant return.

Mailing list/membership/communications 

  • Maggie now has the spreadsheet with our mailing list and has access to our gmail account. She set up a Google Group for us and is starting to take over the tasks associated with mailings and membership. [Post-meeting she also set up some shared folders for us on Drive to simplify archiving and sharing information].

Park Board- and City-related

  • Sara attended the most recent PRAB meeting and met Tim Behrendt (the new Jasper). There is about $60,000 budgeted for any new amenities in all parks for next year.
  • Peder is now on the park board.

Future projects

  • Discussion of the plan to expand the picnic table area.
    • We could design it ourselves, we could find someone, such as Roger, from Aloha, who was at the music plaza dedication, to create a design for us. We need to get to know Tim B better and see if possibly he could design it for us (Jasper did a lot with the Music Plaza in the end). We should determine our wish list for this and then set up a meeting with Tim. There was support for making this effort a focus of our work this year. This project could also be a goal for fundraising. 
      • more and differently shaped and arranged picnic tables.
      • extend the sidewalk, make it a true figure 8. 
      • water fountain.  
  • The healing garden. 
    • This is going to be a long-range project so we probably need to work on it simultaneously with the smaller picnic area project.
    • Should we work to make the amphitheater be a more pleasing, meditative space? We have not used it for any community activities besides yoga. Would be helpful to have electricity near it.
    • We should create a display that highlights the hospital for the south kiosk, especially until the healing garden is completed.

Musical Plaza update: 

  • After the dedication ceremony, Matt Rohn finished filling out all of the follow-up paperwork for the SEMAC grant and sent it in.

Pumpkin Fest update:

  • went well; it was well-attended, with many city officials there. Many stayed until the end in the warming house. We moved everything into the warming hut closet for storage (sandwich boards, tables, wagon, leftover yoga mats, cooler, etc.) Mary Poole and Anne Berry have keys. 

Next meetings

  • 3rd Wednesday of the month for our next meetings.
    • Feb 15th
    • Mar 15th
    • Apr 19th 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes Oct. 25, 2016

Friends of Way Park Meeting Minutes

October 25, 2016, 7:30pm

Members present: Maggie Epstein, Sara Payne (Vice Chair), Anne Berry (Chair), Mary E (Treasurer), Ed Smith, Cynthia Kauffeld (Secretary), Mary Poole, Peder Jothen

Meeting Location: Co-op meeting room.

  • Lauren (education coordinator for the co-op) and Andrew (an audio technician) to talk about the bee city question for first ten minutes.
  • opportunity to be the first bee city in the state.
  • raising credibility as being a pollinator friendly area. establish a healthy pollinator habitat, ensure survival of animal species, raise awareness of how our food grows – opportunity for education and outreach, improve plant nursery markets. Dissemination of info about best plants. could have a local honey fest 
  • Lauren:  thinks a lot of the community would be supportive of the idea. We’d have cooperating partners within the city – Girl Scouts, the Coop, the Key. Would require holding an annual event – maybe a concert, a gathering in Way Park. The project needs to be sponsored by a non-profit and the Co-op is for profit. FWP and the Garden club also could be partners.
  • Jasper’s replacement starts Nov. 1st.
  • annual fee, but the co-op would cover the cost.

Treasurer’s report:
  • $364.64 left in the Allina grant due to the rain days from yoga. Final bank balance is $16,005.72.
News and updates
  • Yoga – All follow-up paperwork has been submitted. Two dates in spring? Next year? maybe do more dates and add our funds to supplement? spring weather unpredictable too. If we want to do the grant again, the app will come due in Feb or March.
  • ROMP – Stone benches are in place. Grasses in spring (TJ says we need to wait to spring to do this). We have yet to get mallet covers. The tall tubes just don’t sound that good – they have to be hit perfectly to sound right.
Pumpkin Fest/ROMP dedication of Music Plaza.
  • If anyone can come at 4:30 to get set up that would be helpful. facepainting and art project in warming house. Pumpkin carving. Monster puppets in warminghouse. Apples with caramel, hot apple cider. Anne has the microphone and will charge it. Fire pit. Cynthia will bring wood. Older kids to do the apples again. Tools and tarp for carving. What do we do if it rains? If light rain, go ahead, hard rain: cancel. Formal invitations went to park board, arts commission, art teachers, etc. See Google planning doc for what’s left to do.
Give to the Max day – Nov 17th
  • Using Pumpkin Fest to educate public about future plans? Vote with spare change game?
  • We should try to grow the mailing list – have quarter sheet with Give MN info, but not hit it hard for fundraising at this event. Discussion of the picnic tables, re-doing the patio area near the playground – make it more useable; maybe a sidewalk connecting that side of the park.
  • Pea gravel and border of playground – in a two-year time frame for removal . Playground – a 6-year time frame – this according to Jasper. We should go to park, look at this, go to Jasper’s replacement and see what he thinks, maybe ask him to come to one of our meetings.  He starts Nov. 1st. Wanda is their secretary, friendly and a good contact.
Looking farther ahead
  • Winter events
  • Spring events
  • Bee City
  • Park designs
Task handoff – from Anne to others
  • Mailing list (an excel document – names and addresses from long ago, plus new emails as they get added) – Anne would be happy if someone else wanted to take on that task.  (gmail, communications, etc.)  Maggie volunteers.
  • Agendas
  • Equipment – microphone – Anne will pass it to Mary.
  • City relationships
  • Treasurer? Peder volunteers to take over from Mary E. at the end of the year when her term is up.
  • Technology?  Ed will put something together around re-doing the website for one of our upcoming meetings. Sara will look into why she can’t post photos to our FB page. Ed checks and it looks like anyone should be able to. Blogspot is horrible to use. Discussion of whether or not it’s worth it to switch to a different blog site – like wordpress. Need to identify what we really want the website to be in order to find the best program for doing it. E.g., how much is it going to be updated? Anne will look into the requirements of being a non-profit to make sure we know what is needed there.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Give to the Max Day!

Hello, Friends!

This Thursday, November 17th, is Give to the Max Day! As you're deciding how to donate, please remember Friends of Way Park.

With your support, we have been able to make regular to make improvements to the park. We've continued to add elements from the master plan and plant trees with that design in mind, and this summer we expanded the pollinator garden and built the musical plaza. Upcoming projects include updating the playground, designing a memorial healing garden for the south end, and adding more picnic tables, and installing a drinking fountain!

Your support also allows us to host events like Pumpkin Fest, Cocoa Day, and Explore the Outdoors!

It's easy to give! Just go to the Friends of Way Park page on the GiveMN site on November 13, or go now and pre-schedule your donation.

Thank you for your involvement and support!

-The Friends of Way Park Board

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes Sep. 15th, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes
Sept. 15th, 2016, 7:30 pm

FWP Members Present: Anne Berry (Chair), Mary Emery (Treasurer), Mary Poole, Cynthia Kauffeld (Secretary), Ed Smith, Michelle Martin, Peder Jothen, Sara Payne (Vice Chair), Maggie Epstein

Meeting location: Just Food Co-op meeting room.

I. Announcements and updates from the summer.

  • Sara has been working on the FWP brochure and it is improved for colors and content.
  • Board members introduced themselves for the benefit of the new members, Sara, Maggie and Peder.
  • May minutes were approved.
  • Music plaza: the boulders are in, but the three big benches not done yet; the concerns about the volume of the instruments now seem overblown as they are really not that loud, although we do need foam covers for the mallets of the big chime instrument.
  • Vintage Band Festival: FWP was only involved as far as spreading the word about the event.
  • Yoga in the park: we’ve had to cancel two of the 6 sessions so far due to weather, but still have two left. It’s decided additional sessions will not be added on now, but we may be able to hold some spring yoga classes with the remaining funds.
  • The closet in the warming hut is complete, although we still need a door handle; also a ramp will be built for the entrance. 
  • The 2nd street kiosk has been repaired and re-installed.
  • The Girls Scouts organized a planting session and pollinator plants were installed in the southeast rain garden.

II. Treasurer's report

  • Mary E passed out copies of the report. Balance is $16,835.72. She explained for the new members that our funds are the result of past fundraising efforts and grants.

III. Pumpkin fest

  • There was a meeting in the park to discuss having a ROMP dedication of the music plaza during pumpkin fest (tentatively: Matt Rohn, a Rotary representative, and Liz Shepley would speak briefly; then ribbon-cutting, and then a concert on the instruments led by Dave Hagedorn). We’ll invite the Park Board, the City Council and the mayor.
  • Oct. 29th; we’ll start the dedication at 5 pm, then the rest of the festival to begin at 5:30 (costume parade, etc.)
  • face painting: Michelle will talk to Donna and Sharon
  • advertising: sandwich boards, flyers (we’ll make a Spanish version), Greenvale newsletter (Anne), Northfield News (Cindy Carlson)

IV.  Possible ideas/topics for this year; where will our priorities be?

  • Relationships: new city staff on board (Jasper has left) so it will be important for us to continue to develop a good relationship with his successor and with TJ.
  • Infrastructure: healing garden, playground (getting a plan for next steps; splash pad?), water fountain
  • Partnerships: Cannon River Watershed, Arts Guild (maybe theater in the park), Q Block, etc.
  • Communications: mailing list, website, kiosk (maybe start a “By the way” series of posters with historical information about the park – Sara)
  • “Bee” city USA, we could become a bee-city, in partnership with Just Food, to promote bee awareness; one event/year

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes May 17th, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes
May 17th, 2016, 7:30 pm

FWP Members Present: Anne Berry (Chair), Mary Emery (Treasurer), Mary Steen (Vice Chair), Keith Covey, Cynthia Kauffeld (Secretary), Matt Rohn

Meeting location: Mary Steen’s house.

I. Treasurer’s report:

  • Balance same as last month; current report includes a summary of the support for Music Play in Way Park. Current balance: $16,040.98

II. Music plaza:

  • Jasper received two bids for the plaza and chose the lower of the two. 
  • Around June 6th is target date to break ground on the plaza.

III.  Vintage Band Festival:

  • Anne met with Paul Niemisto of the Cannon Valley Orchestra. Our role will essentially be to publicize.

IV. Closet and Kiosk:

  • Anne spoke with Scott Swanson and he will get moving on both projects, although he did not give a time frame. The city will cover $600 toward the closet project and Scott will try to come in under that. He will also get a bill for the kiosk restoration to the city to be submitted to insurance of the vehicle driver.
  • Mary P took the kiosk door that had blown off in the wind to the City, so they have that as well as the damaged kiosk.

V. SEMAC grant survey

  • One of the requirements of the grant was for us to gather information regarding use of the instruments. Discussion of how best to do this. Possibly arrange for volunteers to sit in the park and observe and record usage at several time slots of the day during a couple of chosen weeks after installation (i.e. right away, then another month later, etc.). Volunteers would explain what they’re doing to the park users.
  • We will also give a concert with the instruments as part of the grant, which we think we’ll do during Pumpkin Fest. Maybe we can get Dave Hagedorn involved in this.
  • Discussion of having some sort of “lesson plan(s)” designed for the instruments, with instructions in the kiosk and on the website, perhaps even for phone.

VI. New Members

  • Mary S, Matt and Keith are stepping down, so we need to look for 3-4 new members (we are currently at 9 instead of 10)
  • Discussion of various possibilities, neighbors of the park, people with children of varying ages or differing backgrounds that might be helpful to have on the board. We will start with our first round of invitations and work from there.
  • We should have the new members on the slate for the Annual meeting, tentatively scheduled for June 7th (Keith will see if the Fireside Rm at St John’s is available).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes Apr. 19th, 2016

Friends of Way Park (FWP) Meeting Minutes
Apr. 19th, 2016, 7:30 pm

FWP Members Present: Anne Berry (Chair), Mary Emery (Treasurer), Mary Steen (Vice Chair), Mary Poole, Keith Covey, Cynthia Kauffeld (Secretary), Matt Rohn, Ed Smith, Michelle Martin

Meeting location: Mary Steen’s house.

I. Website:

  • some discussion of Blogspot, our website (which is a rather cumbersome system to use, although probably not worth changing to something else) and where the minutes and different components should go. It was decided to leave current minutes where they are, on first page you see (the “home” tab).

II. Treasurer’s report:

  • Mary E handed out a revised report for 2015 that reflected some corrections to expenditures related to the Rotary funding; also passed out a new report for 2016 that shows the Allina grant received.
  • Current balance: $16,040.98

III. The music plaza:

  • Jasper has the final budget for plaza; he is getting three bids and City will decide.
  • Discussion on the placement of the quotes and number of quotes. We decided to go with four quotes.

IV. Closet and Kiosk:

  • Anne will get in touch with Scott Swanson about these two projects. 
  • the door on the north kiosk got blown off in a storm, Mary P has the parts in her garage. The lock for this one keeps disappearing.

V. Outdoor Day (May 1, 1-3 pm):

  • Science Alliance, Waxwing Farms, confirmed.
  • Bob Bjorkland and the drummers can’t come this year. Cliff Martin may be able to come.
  • Mary P will do an art project, possibly May baskets.
  • Matt will have a sustainability table, with Community Solar info and pollinator garden info.
  • Mary P will get the poster to Anne for printing. Cynthia will translate it to Spanish.
  • Anne will check on the Girl Scouts and volleyball, and also slack-lining.
  • should we check to see if the library could have a presence? they’re busy with the grand re-opening preparations. Mary S will check.
  • we could have attendees do park clean up at the same time (parents, especially).
  • Michelle will check with Gear Resource.
  • Anne will check with Police regarding bike safety and registration.
  • Keith will be out of town.
  • Michelle will reserve the park.

VI. Misc.

  • July 28-31 Vintage Band festival
  • next meeting we’ll talk about yoga
  • Sat. June 4th is Volunteer Day
  • Matt’s daughter wrote up a proposal to Rotary to fill in the open spot in the south garden as a pollinator garden, will take approx $600 for the flowers.
  • Mary S and Matt leaving the board this year after three terms; ideally we should have a board of ten so add possible members to the google doc.
  • be in touch with Anne if your 2-year term is ending and you’re not planning to continue.