What Bloomington Isn't Telling You About City Question #3

Written by Neighborhood's Michele Lloyd offering her petition here.

Bloomington neighbors, the City is not being completely honest with you about Question 3 on the November 7th election ballot concerning Nine Mile Creek and Moir Park. Regardless of how you decide to vote, you need to know the facts.

**The draft budget for the $20 million they want to raise**

• $11 million will go to converting the existing walking trail along the creek into a walking/bike trail.

• $3 million will go to improvements in Moir Park.

• $6 million will go toward environmental restoration/protection projects.

(Details at end of post)

**Why didn’t you know this was the plan?**

Because Bloomington isn’t telling you. I know about it because I carefully read what information they do give, and then I asked Ann Kattrah, the Parks & Rec director, for details. More later in this post.

**What the bike trail means for the park**

Some people will be excited about a bike trail, and others, such as myself, will be despondent because the character of our unique trail will be lost. Let me tell all of you, including cyclists, why.

As you may know, the trail in question is fairly narrow, about 3 to 4 walkers wide depending on the section, and winds along the creek. Many parts have a lovely tree canopy making it nice and shady. (If you don’t know, go visit! Park at Moir Park and head down to the creek.)

The City’s plan is to widen that trail for bicycles. I don’t have details, but I think it is reasonable to assume that from mile 0 to mile 1.1, they’ll essentially have to double the width, and on the unpaved portion after that, maybe make it 1.5 to 1.75x wider.

This will mean taking down a lot of trees. My rough estimate from walking the trail from mile 0 to 2.1 was about 200 trees (of all sizes) would need to come down for the widening. That doesn’t include trees that will be taken down because they are in the way of the construction equipment, or those that will die from having their roots damaged. Because we are in a drought, the trees are already stressed and vulnerable. Our shady, tree-lined trail will have a completely different feel.

Most regular trail walkers will be upset about this, and also maybe the would-be cyclists who didn’t realize just how much damage would be done to give them that short, 2.5 mile corridor down to the river.

One reason the trail is not open to bicycles now is that it is considered too curvy to be safe for bicyclists and walkers to share. This implies that the new trail will be straighter than the existing one.

In a number of areas we have hills sloping down to the trail. To widen the trail, they’ll need to dig into the hillsides and put in retaining walls. So instead of walking/biking alongside nature, you’ll be up against a wall.

People who walk the trail now with dogs and children will need to keep their pets and kids on a tight leash so they don’t wander into the bike lanes. Very different from the walking experience today.

All of the bridges will need to be replaced.

I don’t want a bike trail. At first I was hesitant about voting no on 3 because I do want the work done to preserve the natural resources. Then I discovered that’s only a third of the money they’re raising. Plus, if there are cost overruns on construction, they’ll probably pull money from the environmental side of things. So, I’m now a solid No on 3.

**What to do?**

• If you want a bike trail, vote Yes on Question 3 on November 7th (or sooner if you vote early).

• If you do not want a bike trail, vote No on Question 3 on November 7th (or sooner if you vote early).

• Tell your friends what Question 3 really means.

• Read on for even more detail if you are up for it.

• Write to the Parks department to give your feedback:


• Write to the city council:


• If you don’t want to write a letter, sign this petition (Bloomington residents only):


(your email will not be used for any other purpose, and please do not give change.org money to promote the petition).

**What are they telling us (that isn’t the whole truth)?**

• To see the Plan and it’s bullet points, go here:


• To see where they do say there will be a bike trail, go here:


• To read the ballot measure, which does not mention bikes at all, go here:


• To see how they are talking about it in the community newsletter, go here:


**How did Bloomington decide this is what residents wanted?**

Bloomington has been working on a Park System Master Plan (PSMP) for a few years. It is an impressive document and a lot of thought went into it. I was very impressed. However, their arguments and reasoning for “residents want a bike trail along Nine Mile Creek right now” are logically thin, and I suspect they know this and that is why they are not being up front about their plans.

The PSMP talks a lot about how important the Nine Mile Creek corridor is ecologically. They state, “Providing bike access should be examined for feasibility.” There is no documentation I could find that such a study was done.

On the PSMP page, it also says, “As new park projects are considered and individual park plans are developed, hearing from the community will be a necessity.” But Bloomington did not ask us if we want a bike trail here before putting together this plan. Take this opportunity to make your voice heard.

Nowhere in the Community Engagement section of the PSMP did they ask residents directly if they wanted this. Here is what I was told by Anne Kattrah: “I don’t have a tallied result from all of the meetings, discussions and stakeholder engagements from our 2+ years of community engagement for park planning and the park system master plan. We received a lot of feedback from residents that staff did not solicit. This is one of those examples.”

This says to me that some unknown, possibly small, number of people spoke up and said they’d like to bike in the park, but that’s very different from asking the question to all the residents who would be affected by this massive change. And those people may have meant they want to bike on the trail as it is now.

Ann also said, “In a statistically valid survey was completed in 2019 as part of that Master Plan and residents identified natural areas and nature trails as high priorities…. Overall, based on resident input, the top four highest priority themes were:

1) Natural Resources

2) Trails and mobility

3) …”

I took that survey. All it did was ask you to rank priorities. Giving trails a high ranking does not translate to “add more trails.” Also, notice that Natural Resources ranks higher than trails. And putting in this trail will really damage our natural resources!

Ann's direct contact info:





**The draft budget**

$10,902,024: Accessible routes from Moir Park, wider trails to safely allow bikes which are not allowed today, replace 7 bridges, and a new boardwalk to connect Moir/Central Park to MN River trails and new MN DNR State Trail planned for construction in 2025-26.

$6,262,704: Improve Nine Mile Creek ecology by repairing erosion, restoring vegetation on creekbanks, restoration of bluff erosion. Restore vegetation in woodlands and wetlands -invasive species management and new plantings.

$2,835,272: New park building and picnic shelter with accessible restrooms, accessible playground.


Democracy dies in darkness. Now you know what’s really going on so you can make an educated decision on how to vote (there is an admitted bias against the measure, but I didn’t hide anything from you). Thanks for reading!

Property Tax Valuations

March 25, 2022        

City of Bloomington 2022 Property Tax Valuation Notice


Property owners in Bloomington began receiving property valuation notices by mail this week. Numerous residents we have spoken with are concerned with the tax burden implications on the horizon given major valuation increases from the city (20%+ in some cases).1 This comes on top of significant tax increases already levied for 2022 (communicated by the City this past November with 10%+ in some cases).

12022 Property Assessment Information included with the 2022 Valuation Notice


Your share of taxes are determined based on your property valuation and classification.

1. City, county, school, or other taxing authority budgets determine your property taxes. Proposed levies and taxes for 2023 payable property taxes will be disclosed by Hennepin County in November 2022.

2. Our City Council has shown no appetite to control spending, even after the City admitted last November that commercial property values are declining and more of the tax burden will be levied on residential properties (source: Notice for proposed levies & taxes for 2022).

3. A decrease in the Homestead Market Exclusion also decreases any eligible property tax refund.

4. Property taxes are regressive and affect those who can least afford them; they are not equitable


Contact the Bloomington Assessor’s office if you disagree with your valuation:

Phone: ​​(952) 563-8722

Email: ​​assessor@bloomingtonmn.gov

Website: ​blm.mn/assess

City Council Proposing to Change Public Comment Period at Council Meetings


At the March 21, 2022, City Council meeting, the Council took Public Comment and discussed its plan to remove the Public Comment period from during regular Council meetings (see page 145 of the March 21 City Council Agenda Packet - Item 8.2 Council Rules of Procedure Amendment).

The recommendation is that a new meeting be established before each Monday meeting

of the Council — as a listening session in a room separate from the Chambers — wherein members of the community will have an opportunity to address the Mayor and Council in a more conversational and less formal setting.


This “informal and conversational” meeting could be recorded over voice or video, which is the current standard for Public Comment. Bloomington residents deserve MORE transparency in the municipal process, not less. Publicly petitioning elected officials is a cornerstone of our First Amendment.

This move notably occurs after Mayor Busse already chastised public commentators who disagreed with some of the Council’s recent decisions and initiatives in August of 2021.

As we have previously reported, see Section 4.1 Response to Prior Meeting’s Public Comments (2:19 - 3:45) of the August 30, 2021 Council Meeting.

After chiding concerned residents for their “bad behavior” and warning future commentators to be on their “best behavior”, at the 3:32 mark, Busse stated, “I will also say, Council, if we’re not able to achieve that over the next few meetings, I would like to open up the discussion about how we can achieve that through our Rules of Procedure.”


CONTACT our Council and voice your displeasure at this attempt to limit public input. Be sure to have your email noted as part of the public record by writing to the Council Secretary (see below). Emails to individual Council members may be deleted by them and not retained as part of the public record).

Email: council@bloomingtonmn.gov