When you wish upon a city

If you could wave your magic wand and make one improvement to the Twin Cities, what would it be?

Meanwhile, the residents of Lakewood hold their ground, perhaps because no one dares to ask them to leave. But what if they were asked--politely, and with all the reverence they deserve for saving that pretty place from a land-eating century? The newly liberated park could be given over to life and its pleasures, among them art and sport, which would have room to exist side by side, as well they should, both being forms of play--the true source of creativity. It would be an interesting social experiment, I think, to worship play for a while instead of bones.

 

 

GENE SAMPSON
owner of Big Daddy's Old Kentucky Bar-B-Que

I would make St. Paul more vibrant in the Lowertown area. Put a baseball stadium there, maybe, though that's voted against already. I've had a business in St. Paul since 1979--my place is in Lowertown, on Fourth Street, in the old Union Depot. After 5:00 p.m., they just roll up the sidewalks around here and call it quits. I was hoping that Mayor Coleman would be able to turn that around. People need to come see me more; don't let me get so lonely at night. So I say let's get some nightlife here, get people out in Lowertown, and stop all this shutting down at dark. That's just boring.

 

MARK STUTRUD
founder and president of Summit Brewing Company

I'd bring back all of the architecturally significant buildings that were razed during the "urban renewal" time of the 1960s. I would also include with that the old trolley system.

 

KIM BARTMANN
Co-owner of Bryant-Lake Bowl and publisher of Siren Media

Losing my dog park to a stupid, offensive, dinosaur plan for the Highway 55 reroute has moved me from being disappointed in how we plan for the future around here to being downright embarrassed. City of Lakes? New York City has more off-leash areas and "wilderness" than we do. The people were not heard. To make Minneapolis a better place, I would undo the carnage wrought by those tin-eared politicians wielding chainsaws in the oak grove and encourage citizens and their well-behaved dog friends to congregate willfully and often on the shores of the mighty Mississippi.

 

MARK ANFINSON
First Amendment attorney

The Y chromosome. I'd genetically re-engineer men to get rid of the Y chromosome. I'm not saying they don't make their contributions, but the more I reflect on and examine the serious problems we have, it keeps coming back to men and their Y chromosome. Go down the list: Crime, for starters. It's just got to go. And it's not like it is with dangerous genetically engineered food. Men aren't an agricultural product, unfortunately--otherwise they'd be more domesticated by now.

 

WING YOUNG HUIE
photographer

I don't think I'd like to change anything. It seems to me there are at least four ways to react to something you find disagreeable: You can try to change the thing that bothers you; you can change yourself; you can run away; or you can accept it. I think that accepting reality is necessary before any kind of change is possible.

Having said that, I think it'd be great if I got the right-of-way every time I drove, and that whenever anyone pisses me off with the way they drive, their car would be immediately impounded.

 

BARBARA FLANAGAN
Star Tribunecolumnist

I'd bring back the streetcar system--but modernized! In 1916 it could take you everywhere, from Stillwater to Hastings to Minnetonka. I didn't see it then, obviously, but I did ride the streetcar at its very end. I started at the paper in 1947 and used to commute from out here by Lake Calhoun. What a quick way to go--they were enclosed, of course, for the weather, and there was always a back part for the smokers.

 

JEFFREY KAHN
director, Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota

Real choice in airlines, and a flight path that doesn't fly right over southwest Minneapolis.

 

STEVE MINN
state commerce commissioner and former Minneapolis City Council member

My practical answer is that I would like a comprehensive light-rail system going north to south and east to west as quickly as possible. My whimsical answer is that I'd like to find some way for Norm Coleman to be mayor of the whole metro. It would be nice to be under his leadership--he's an out-of-box thinker, an excellent marketer of his ideas, and he's not afraid of being rejected. He just keeps throwing good ideas out there.

 

KATHERINE LANPHER
host of Midmorningon KNOW-FM (91.1)

All transportation and transit departments in city and state governments would be required to have a pedestrian advocate on staff so that walking and biking needs would be considered as important as cars and buses. Then I would increase the number of bike trails and walking paths. I would have a select number of sidewalks and paths heated so that in the winter you wouldn't have to worry about breaking your neck.

 

ERIC TRETBAR
filmmaker

I would eliminate all the parking meters. With a $2 billion state surplus, who needs 25-cent meters? I would repurchase all the streetcars the 1930s gangsters sold to Toronto--which are all, by the way, still in operation. Light rail is just a dull half-measure. Let's go all the way. Put your quarter in the streetcar instead.

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