From the desk of the editor

By Scott Carlson

Sungduck Lee to speak at Bugle annual community meeting about protecting, using the treasury of our local parks

Sungduck Lee.

At the Park Bugle, we are a community-oriented organization dedicated to providing news and information that transform readers into neighbors.

With that goal in mind, the Bugle will have University of Minnesota School of Architecture lecturer Sungduck Lee talk about “Community Parks: How communities shape the future of our local parks.” Her virtual Zoom talk will be at 7 to 8:15 p.m., Thursday, June 23.

“Lee will share community-based conversations and decision making around strategic plans for parks and greenspaces,” said Bugle chairperson Kristin Wiersma. “As we consider how to best use, protect and care for the parks in our neighborhoods, you will want to hear how to engage the community so everyone benefits from these treasures in our midst.”

Offering a preview of her talk at the Bugle’s annual meeting, Lee said, “Public parks are considered cultural, political, and economic assets, essential to the social life and public health of cities. There is widespread empirical evidence that public parks and green spaces provide a wide range of benefits to adjacent neighborhoods in terms of economic value, environmental benefit, physical and mental health and social connection.

‘In urban design and planning, public parks have been discussed as one of the key urban public spaces. The traditional view defines urban parks as open spaces for providing and operating recreational facilities and programs.

“However, recently there has been increasing support for an alternative viewpoint that goes beyond the traditional understanding of parks and emphasizes the function of an urban park as a ‘true public space’—it does not attract people only for a specific event at a specific time, but also invites people for informal and unprogrammed public activities. Neighborhood parks are essential open public spaces that connect informal and passive activities with recreational and social purposes.

“Social Justice and Public Space will discuss the role of ‘true public space’ in communities. How can we re-evaluate existing public parks and neighborhood green spaces?

“We will also discuss various urban design and planning strategies that help create equal accessibility for a diverse range of people while generating unscheduled and unstructured public activities.”                 

Prior to Lee’s talk, the Bugle will conduct a brief business meeting to approve its budget and slate of new board members. Please contact me at for more information or to get the Zoom link.

Trees controversy for Cleveland Avenue project

One of some 160 trees slated for removal. Photo by Lou Michaels.

Since the May issue of the Bugle, reconstruction plans for a section of Cleveland Avenue between Como and Larpenteur avenues have turned controversial.

Much to the surprise of neighbors in the area and officials with the St. Anthony Park District 12 Community Council, the latest rebuild plans include removing up to 160 trees in the area to accommodate the repaved road with multiple bicycle lanes. That’s three times the number of trees that were previously slated for removal under earlier plans laid out in 2018 and 2019.

So, as the Bugle went to press for our June issue, Ramsey County officials were left scrambling to address the citizens’ uproar.

While the county said, in a statement, that it recognizes the prospect of losing so many trees “is disappointing news, we’ll work with contractors to identify any additional trees that can be preserved during the construction process.”

We don’t know how or if the tree removal controversy gets resolved. But I like the suggestion of District 12 board member Michael Russelle on one key point:

“There should be no net loss of trees from this project. Replacements should be larger than is currently required, they should be placed in well prepared, beneficial soil, not cheap fill.”

Battling Covid

If you believe we have put the Covid pandemic in our proverbial rear-view mirrors, think again.

Despite being fully vaccinated and boosted twice, I tested positive for Covid on May 5, suffering fatigue, bad coughing and some severe body aches (particularly severe leg pain).

Fortunately, a day after my positive test, I was able to start a regimen of Paxlovid, a Covid antiviral medication. After finishing the meds, I felt much better.

In hindsight, I believe I picked up the virus after coming in contact with some people at my church who were positive and didn’t realize they were contagious. Too many folks have let their guard down, believing they didn’t need to wear masks anymore.

Meanwhile, I know other people who picked up Covid in the last month. I think the lesson is: We can never be too careful.

And we should not forget taking sensible precautions. May you have a happy and healthy summer.

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