Posted by Michael-jon Pease on Oct 18, 2017
President Jerry Faletti called the meeting to order at 12:15 p.m. Darrell Butterwick offered a heartfelt thanks for the hard work of our Rose Sale Committee and led the members in singing that forgotten favorite One Dozen Roses by Harry James, followed by “God Bless America” with Bill Given at the electronic ivories.   Nancy Brady offered an inspirational poem called “Mission.” Jim Delameter introduced visiting Rotarians and guests. Thanks to our today’s greeters: Cindy Dupont and Brianna Vujovich (way to go, President Jerry on the name pronunciation!!), and today’s scribe, Michael-jon Pease.  Remember to sign up for your preferred meeting location for Rotation Day on Oct 31! 
 
Kristin Montpetit reminded members to register for the Holiday Party and Auction on December 7 at the Intercontinental (so we know you know how to get there!), and also to think of auction items.   Former District Governor and Past President Joe Kovarik offered a Rotary moment from the current Rotarian Magazine (note that it was “above the fold” in a prominent location!).
 
Mr. Kovarik’s very own letter to the editor offered members “Eight Little Words” to define Rotary to potential members: “improve people’s lives locally and globally through service.” And, if eight words are too many, you might consider the portmanteau word developed by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed to say “improve people’s live glocally through service.”
 
Past President Chuck Whitaker reported that the St. Paul Rotary Board Nominating Committee is putting together the slate of directors (6 needed) and officers (drawn from current board members) to be offered the first week of December. If you are interested or have someone to nominate, please contact Chuck.
 
Jim Delameter collected happy dollars. He started with his own contribution to honor the engagement of his daughter Lara in Whittier Bay, Alaska, followed by Jean Vukas-Roberts (now interim President of Hazelden Betty Ford, one this month’s Rotation Day sites); Chuck Roach (for reading about his friend Malcolm in the book Hidden Figures. Malcolm was then president of Hampden College from which the book’s main characters graduated); Linda Mulhern (Thanks to Dick Nicholson for a great party last night – Linda’s mom loved seeing the historic Louis Hill House! Linda’s daughter – our exchange student to Finland –spearheaded a fundraising effort for a fellow exchange student who lost his home in Santa Rosa, CA); Roger Nielsen (in honor of a successful Art Meander at his Wisconsin cabin, where he sold honey, maple syrup, and apples off the tree as well as paintings and prints).
 
Jay Pfaender promoted next week’s program: Grant Merritt speaking about the discovery of Iron Ore in Northern Minnesota by the Merritt Brothers and the eventual investment by JP Morgan.
 
Program: Minnesota’s Bid for the 2023 World’s Fair
Jay Pfaender, a founding member of the organizing committee for Minnesota’s bid, reviewed the Minnesota proposal which will be voted on in under a month by the World Exhibition Bureau in Paris.
The process started two years ago at – wouldn’t you know it – a St. Paul Rotary meeting when Mark Ritchie was on the dais. Expo 2023 is our project, a smaller world’s fair designed to last three months long and be the right scale for mid-sized cities like ours. The timeline for Expo 2023 would be May 15 – Aug 15 so that it would end before the MN State Fair. 
The last large world’s fair in the United States was in 1983 in St Louis, after which the United States dropped its membership in the World Exhibition Bureau. The next major fair will be in Dubai in 2020. Jay shared images from various past world’s fairs from Chicago in the 1890s (where our own Clarence Johnston was one of the architects), to Seattle and Paris. The stadiums built in Flushing Meadows, NY, have been in host to the Tennis Championships since their fair. San Antonio’s Riverwalk is one of their enduring legacies from their expo.
Partners in our project are the City of Bloomington, the Bloomington Port Authority, and the owners of Mall of America. The Bloomington Port Authority just purchased the remaining 62 acres of the Kelley Farm along the river near MOA which is the proposed site (almost exactly the 60 acres required for a world expo).
 
Our Competition
The other finalists are Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Lodz, Poland. To reach Lodz, visitors will have to fly into Warsaw and take a train. Reaching the site in Argentina will require them to build a proposed light rail that doesn’t yet exist. These transit factors, in addition to Minnesota’s long history of hosting major events like the Ryder and Stanley Cups, puts our bid out in front.
 
What Did It Take To Make the Bid?
The first step was for the US to resume in membership in the BIE that runs the fairs.
Next was to craft a public-private financing partnership required in the US (in other countries, fairs are financed by the government).
After choosing a themed purpose for the expo, the committee needs to create a legacy plan for the use of the infrastructure and buildings constructed for the event.
 
Our theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet – Wellness and Well-Being” is popular with the smaller developed nations on the voting committee. This theme ties in well with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and our own strengths in medicine, research, healthy communities, etc.
 
Likely Economic Impact
The projected audience is 12M visitors from 140 countries driving $1.4 billion in spending. The draw for these events is generally 10% local, 40% regional, 45% national and 5% international. Just off 494, our site already experiences clogged rush hour traffic, but with 12,000 hotel rooms in walking distance, connected bike trails and our transit infrastructure, it is estimated that up to 70% of expo visitors will use public transit and shuttles and only 5% will drive. There is room along the 494 corridor for more dedicated bus/shuttle lanes.
 
Legacy of the Infrastructure/Exhibition Buildings
While the actual buildings haven’t been designed in detail, there are colleges in universities interested in locating some operations to the Twin Cities and to this site.
 
What Are Our Chances?
Our Achilles heel is current foreign policy coupled with our long absence from BIE membership.
Our strengths are many:
  • Award-winning airport nearby
  • Award-winning transit system already in place and scheduled to expand
  • Award-winning parks and bike trails (which also fit the theme)
  • The nearby attraction of MOA
  • Decades of experience hosting hundreds of major events
Our bid as finalist received 45 votes from the 90 voting members of the BIE and we only need 46 votes to win.
After a brief Q&A, President Faletti adjourned the meeting with a recitation of the Four Way Test.
 
Respectfully submitted,

 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael-jon Pease
 

 

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