In irons: Calhoun sailing village may shrink

A sailing village proposed for Lake Calhoun's south end is being scaled back, said Jon Gurban, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

"There were too many buildings," he said. "It was too much for that site."

The Lake Calhoun Yacht Club and Sailing School proposed last November to move from its current home on Calhoun's north end and develop a $1.5 million, five-building sailing village on Calhoun shoreland near the archery range.

The proposal included an events center, a sailing school building and retail/concession buildings. The Sailing School building was to top 40 feet, almost as tall as the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Proponents said moving the Yacht Club and Sailing School would address congestion and parking problems at the sailing school's current location off Lake Street.

Several residents and neighborhood groups oppose the still-nascent plan. At the June 15 Park Board meeting, Gretchen Trygstad read a Linden Hills Neighborhood Council Board resolution opposing the sailing village, and saying: "We feel the lakeshore should be kept as natural as possible."

Kay Anderson, secretary of the East Calhoun Community Organization read a similar resolution strongly opposing the plan. Nicollet Island resident John Chaffee said he was worried a Calhoun sailing village proposal would come to the Park Board "without warning," similar to a proposed new DeLaSalle athletic complex in his neighborhood.

Gurban said after the Park Board meeting that there is no "formal proposal," only a "concept plan." His staff has done a little analysis and determined that four or five buildings were too much for the area.

Gurban said a smaller development is still under consideration, and his staff likes the idea of adding south-end service buildings - public restrooms and a place to get coffee and a roll.

The plan could still include moving the Yacht Club and Sailing School to the lake's south end. He called it "a strong principle" to move the boat launch away from Lake Street.

Gurban said the plan is not a top priority. The timing is unpredictable, but the Park Board most likely would not consider it for six months to a year.

If so, the decision would fall to a new set of Park Commissioners. All nine Park Board seats are up for reelection in November. At least three Commissioners have announced they would not seek reelection: John Erwin, Vivian Mason and Marie Hauser.