The Mean Grass of Holmes

Another turf battle in another city park

Ruth Eggert, who lives half a block down the street, admits she has never voiced her concerns directly to the players. She's intimidated, she says: "Many single women don't feel comfortable in the park because there are 80 males playing team sports there. I mean, it's all guys. [Neighbors] feel powerless and some are going straight to the police." While crime is certainly not a big worry in the park, Eggert links instances of illegal parking and drinking to the volleyball players.

In the past few months, Eggert, Bauter, and their camp have gained momentum, adding more than 20 signatures and collaborating with an association board member to revise their petition. Bauter herself got elected to the board last month, and she has since penned a stream of complaints to park officials. She's hoping to arrange a meeting soon with the city's park commissioner, Walt Dziedzic, who in April dispatched a colleague to Holmes Park after he received a first draft of the petition.

Maureen Durand, a Park Board superintendent, says that spring visit wasn't her last. "I have been to the park several times and everyone is friendly and enjoying the park. It is a great oasis in the sun." Whatever the outcome of this latest battle over turf in a Minneapolis park, Durand figures there's plenty of room in the Meadow; it's a matter of making compromises so everyone, whether they live in the neighborhood or not, feels welcome. "I'm delighted that the volleyball players are there," she says. "The biggest issue is the grass, and we do not consider that to be a problem: Go to any well-used park and you'll find torn-up grass."

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