Parks update

Lake of the Isles island restoration

On Feb. 11, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) began the process of restoring Mike’s Island and Raspberry Island, two wildlife sanctuaries in the middle of Lake of the Isles.

According to MPRB documents, forestry crews will be removing and burning fallen trees and invasive species, such as buckthorn and mulberry. Workers will create multiple burn sites on the islands, using the existing snow to prevent desired vegetation from burning. They will also treat buckthorn stumps with herbicide to prevent re-growth.

Dead trees, which provide shelter for wildlife on the islands, will be left standing, but some downed trees will be removed to provide easier access for crews.

The report states that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires restoration of the island under the Lake of the Isles renovation project, which is currently wrapping up. The project involved stabilizing shoreline, reconstructing pedestrian paths and installing new plantings, among other activities.

Once the island restoration is complete, the Park Board plans to put in new trees, shrubs and plants, which will help native species survive and, hopefully, deter new buckthorn growth. According to the report, opportunities for community input are planned for this spring.

New data on fish in Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently tested the amount of perfluorochemicals (PFC) in fish in lakes around the metro area, including Cedar Lake and Lake Harriet. The manmade chemical is commonly used to make products like nonstick cookware or stain-resistant fabric, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, and high concentrations have caused liver damage, developmental problems and cancer in test animals.

After sampling five fish, the agency detected an average of 28 nanograms per gram of PFC in Cedar Lake, which is not a health hazard. Residents eating fish from Cedar Lake won’t need to restrict their intakes.

In Lake Harriet, however, samples turned up an average of 114 nanograms per gram of PFC in fish, which means residents shouldn’t eat fish from Lake Harriet more than once a week.

Park Board approves Toyota sponsorship

On Feb. 6, the Park Board approved an agreement with Intemark, a marketing company, for implementation of a sponsorship package with Toyota. Under the agreement, the board will receive $100,000 annually and 10 cars for three years with a three-year renewal option. In exchange, Toyota will be granted title sponsorship of the Minneapolis Bike Tour and Earth Day, which includes the right to display vehicles during events at park venues.

The new cars will replace 10 existing Park Board vehicles, saving an estimated $36,000 on mileage and car allowance costs, and the $100,000 will go toward building a community center in East Phillips.

Board supports city’s youth violence-prevention program

The Park Board’s Recreation Committee voted to support the city’s Blueprint for Action: Preventing Youth Violence in Minneapolis, a multifaceted, public health plan to address violence among kids. A steering committee comprised of 30 public safety officials and community leaders created the blueprint.

Mayor R.T. Rybak presented the plan to commissioners at a recent meeting, emphasizing its four main goals: making sure every minor in Minneapolis is supported by at least one trusted adult; intervening at the first sign of at-risk behavior; working to get previous offenders back on track; and reducing the impact of violent messages in our media, culture and entertainment.

Thirty-four action items are included in the report, which was released just as a new juvenile supervision center opened in City Hall, 350 S. 5th Street. Youth who commit low-level offenses such as truancy or vandalism would be taken to the center where they would receive voluntary assessments or referrals.

Park Police accept awards

Several Minneapolis Park Police officers collected awards from Rybak and Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan at a banquet on Feb. 12. Officer Mark Bedard, who died on Nov. 9 after being struck by a squad car while pursuing a suspect, received, posthumously, a medal of honor for his bravery and heroism in the line of duty.

Lt. Robert Goodsell, Sgt. Fred McCormick, Agent Houa Moua, and Officers James Cannon and Lynette Unke-Hikes took home medals of valor for their parts in the I-35W bridge collapse recovery.

For arresting a shooting suspect, Officer Keith Rowland accepted a medal of commendation, and Officer John Lenart received an award of merit for uncovering a burglary ring. The entire Park Police Department accepted the chief’s award of merit for their work in a juvenile crime apprehension team.


Contact Mary O’Regan at [email protected]