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Minneapolis City Council Candidates
Survey Response
Luther Ranheim - Ward 12

SaveHiawatha18 sent the following survey questions to all Minneapolis City Council candidates. This response is from Luther Ranheim, Ward 12.

To Candidates for the Minneapolis City Council,

SaveHiawatha18 is an organization that supports the retention of the Hiawatha 18-Hole Golf Course in South Minneapolis. We have been working on this issue for the past 7 years. We would like to have your responses to the following questions regarding Hiawatha Golf Course in South Minneapolis.

1) Have you read or studied the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan?

I have read elements of the plan and I have discussed it with various stakeholders including members of the surrounding neighborhoods Park Board commissioners, Hiawatha golfers, and City of Minneapolis employees.

2) The Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan proposes the termination of pumping on the golf course and moving the pumping into the neighborhoods. This would alleviate the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of the responsibility for keeping up to 500 homes and businesses safe from water intrusion and flooding, and place that responsibility on the City of Minneapolis. As a City Council member, would you be in favor of the City of Minneapolis taking over this pumping responsibility and installing as much infrastructure and as many pumps as necessary to protect the neighborhoods?

I am in favor of ensuring that flooding does not have a negative impact on our neighborhoods and our local businesses. It's my understanding that the status quo is that the Park Board has a permit from MN DNR to pump as needed on the golf course. We have been in a year of drought, so there has not been a lot of pumping needed. The Park Board should continue to pump water out through its agreement with MN DNR.

3) We have found that the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan does not follow Metropolitan Council equity guidelines for recreation and climate change as put forth by the Metropolitan Council in 2020. The Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan was approved by the Metropolitan Council earlier this year. As a part of that approval, and at the request of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Metropolitan Council voted to exempt the plan from the Metropolitan Council equity guidelines. Do you agree or disagree with this exemption? Please explain.

No, I do not agree that there should be an exemption to the Met Council Equity Guidelines granted to the Master Plan project if it is implemented. This course is a hallmark space for the golf and Black sports communities. Also, what is the point of equity goals if we can ignore them when they are not convenient for us?

4) The Hiawatha 18-Hole Golf Course was added to the National Register of Historic Places in early 2023 for its rich Black golf history. Is it important to you to retain this important Black cultural institution as is? Please explain.1) Have you read or studied the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan?

Yes, it is important to me to maintain the Hiawatha Golf Course as is. Minneapolis is a City that unfortunately has a history of racial discrimination, redlining, and has a lot of work to do to remedy past harms to historically marginalized communities. The NRHP designation is truly historic and honors the rich history of the site as one of the first integrated golf courses in the country. We should maintain that history and continue to support it.

5) Do you support the retention of the 18-hole Golf Course or do you support the current Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan? Please explain why?

I support retaining the golf course as 18-holes. Golfers want to be on an 18-hole course. This is a revenue generating site for the Park Board. The rich history of the site should be honored by keeping it as is. The environmental considerations, namely the needed pumping of water from the site, are already covered by the agreement signed between the Park Board and the MN DNR. The Park Board can pump water from the golf course/park area at any time that it is needed in order to keep nearby homes and businesses safe from flooding and stormwater runoff.

6) The cost of the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan was estimated to be up to $64 million in 2019. We estimate, with inflation, the cost in 2022 could be almost $80 million.Would you vote to help fund this project?

No. There is no dedicated source of funding for this project. I am running to be a sound steward of the public's fiscal resources. From the totality of what I know about this project, I'm concerned that the Master Plan would not be a wise investment of public funds.