The fight over whether DeLaSalle High School should be allowed to build an athletic stadium on Nicollet Island went into overtime Wednesday as opponents filed a lawsuit.
The long-simmering issue pits the interests of those who want to keep the Nicollet Island parks and neighborhoods the way they've long been against those who want to build a 750-person-capacity stadium on park land adjacent to the school near downtown Minneapolis.
The stadium would be located on and across the eastern half of historic Grove Street and on regional open-space parkland on the island, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.
Plaintiffs include Friends of the Riverfront, which is a group of home-owners and others who use parks on Nicollet Island, and condo owners in the Grove Street Flats Association. Defendants named in the suit are the city of Minneapolis, the Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Agency, DeLaSalle High and City Council President Barbara Johnson, who is on the executive committee of DeLaSalle's board of trustees.
The plaintiffs want the court to determine whether Johnson has an ethical conflict and should be barred from voting on, or in any way influencing, city decisions on the facility. "The obvious and fatal problem with DeLaSalle's proposal is that it is in a completely inappropriate location -- namely on nearly 3 acres of regional open-space park land [if it is open-space park land, how is it that homes and schools and a nearby Central Business District are allowed there?] and across a whole block of a historic street in the upper residential area of historic Nicollet Island," the suit contends.
DeLaSalle has failed to look for a "feasible and prudent" alternative site, say the plaintiffs, who are seeking an injunction and recovery of legal costs and fees.
Supporters say the high school, which serves many inner-city youth, has never had a stadium and that it would benefit the community.
In August, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission voted against the project. But in March, the Park Board voted 6-3 in favor of two measures that would allow DeLaSalle to build the athletic facility. Star Tribune