Parks update

125 trees for 125 years

KENWOOD — The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board turned 125 years old this year and planned to commemorate that anniversary with an Arbor Day tree planting celebration.

The Park Board will plant 125 trees May 9 on the north end of Lake of the Isles. An extensive renovation of Lake of the Isles began in 2001, and the shoreline plantings are part of the final phase of the project.

More than 900 students and staff members from Jefferson Community School and nearby Kenwood School are expected to participate in the event. They will work with Park Board forestry staff and volunteers to plant, water and mulch the new trees.

Among the trees slated for the north shore of Lake of the Isles are two Princeton elms. One will commemorate the Park Board anniversary and the other will be a memorial to former Jefferson teacher Sharon Johnson.

The public is invited to participate in the event and volunteer their time to plant trees. To register, volunteers should contact Sue McGrath by April 28 at 313-7779 or smcgrath@minneapolisparks.org.

Students and volunteers will gather at 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. near the intersection of East Lake of the Isles Parkway and West Franklin Avenue. A program, including student performances and the planting of the memorial trees, was scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Volunteers to clean Stevens Square Park

STEVENS SQUARE
— Employees from Xcel Energy were set to clean up Stevens Square Park April 30, Lake District Planner Alex Zachary said.

At the Park Board’s April 2 meeting, Zachary said it was an important event because the small urban park “has missed other volunteer opportunities” in the past.

Xcel employees will pick up trash, weed, sift the sand on the playground and work on removing graffiti. They also planned for a group to clean up a nearby plot with a small garden.

If there are enough volunteers, some will pick up trash at nearby Washburn Fair Oaks Park just a few blocks away in the Whittier neighborhood.

parks update

From the parks to your table

BRYN MAWR
— Volunteer your time for the parks and come home with a meal.

Sound like a good deal? Then stop by Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden on one of three days this spring when the public is invited to harvest garlic mustard (which is normally prohibited in city parks).

Although edible — and even featured on some local restaurant menus — garlic mustard is a fast-growing invasive species that threatens native plants in city parkland, the Park Board reported. Volunteers who help remove garlic mustard from the wildflower garden can take home everything they pick.

Harvesting was scheduled for 5–6:30 p.m. April 29, May 7 and May 19 in the garden, which is located in Theodore Wirth Park. To register, call 370-4863. Registration is free.

Golf courses open

BRYN MAWR — There was snow in the forecast, but the Park Board announced April 9 that portions of five city golf courses were open or for the season.

Open courses included the front 9 and par 3 at Wirth Golf Club, 1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway, near Bryn Mawr. For more information, call the club at (763) 522-4584 or visit the Park Board website (www.minneapolisparks.org/).

Parks classes for families

The Park Board has a couple of workshops planned in Southwest for families.

There will be a bird-feeding workshop on April 26, 12–2 p.m., at Linden Hills Recreation Center, 3100 W. 43rd St.

Participants will learn how to build a bird feeder and gain some bird-watching skills. Children young as 5 are welcome. The cost is $6. To register, call 313-7725.

A new program for children, “Earth Watch: Our Changing Planet,” kicks off on April 29 at the Lynnhurst Recreation Center, 1345 Minnehaha Parkway. The program holds classes 4–5 p.m. on Tuesdays through May 20. The program will trace the Earth’s changes since the ice age. The program is $10.

Parks update

Questions about turf at Parade Stadium

LOWRY HILL — Just a couple of months after DeLaSalle High School withdrew its proposal for an artificial turf playing field on Nicollet Island, questions were once again being raised about synthetic substitutes for grass.

Bill Kell said he and other Lowry Hill residents were concerned about a synthetic turf field installed at Parade Stadium in 2007. Kell raised many of the same questions about health and environmental impacts as the opponents of artificial turf at DeLaSalle.

He asked, “With this stuff already in, what are the prospects for how much damage it’s going to do?”

In February, DeLaSalle withdrew its request to install a synthetic playing surface. Ultimately, it was historical concerns, not worries about safety, that doomed the proposal, said Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward).

Still, opponents said the material — made up, in part, of recycled, shredded tires — posed unknown health risks to athletes exposed to chemicals in the material. They cited research to suggest the material could leech pollutants into groundwater.

Judd Rietkerk, planning director for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, acknowledged the debate but said there was “no real conclusive evidence” the material was hazardous.

Rietkerk noted that a report from environmental consultants Braun Intertec concluded that more research was needed to show whether artificial turf would be a hazard on Nicollet Island. That report was commissioned by Friends of the Riverfront, a group that opposed DeLaSalle’s plans.

Still, Kell argued chemicals in Parade Stadiums synthetic turf could end up in Spring Lake, a small body of water near the stadium.

“Eventually, there’s nowhere else for that water to go,” Kell said.

Rietkerk said any runoff from Parade Stadium would be filtered through sand and rock before it entered Spring Lake. There was not enough convincing information on environmental hazards to warrant a review, he added.

He said the product installed at Parade Stadium, known as FieldTurf, was already in wide use both in the United State and Europe. Information from the vendor reassured Park Board officials it was safe to use, he added.

“I’m fairly confident that there’s no major issue from this field,” he said.

Earth Day cleanup in Southwest

Celebrate Earth Day by joining your neighbors at one of the cleanup events scheduled for 36 locations around the city 9:30 a.m.—noon April 19.

This year is the 14th Annual Earth Day Watershed Clean-Up event co-sponsored by the city and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. A full listing of cleanup sites was posted on the Park Board website (www.minneapolisparks.org/).

Cleanup events were scheduled for these Southwest locations:

• Armatage Park, 2500 W. 57th St.

• Cedar Lake, Intersection of Cedar Lake Parkway & West 25th Street.

• Cedar Lake Trail, 600 Kenwood Parkway at the Parade Ice Garden parking lot.

• Kenny Park, 1328 W. 58th St.

• Kenwood Park, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.

• Lake Calhoun, East, Intersection of East Calhoun Parkway & West 32nd Street.

• Lake Calhoun, West, Intersection of West Calhoun Parkway & West 32nd Street.

• Lake Harriet, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway at the band shell parking lot.

• Lynnhurst Park, 1345 West Minnehaha Parkway.

• Martin Luther King Park, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S.

• Theodore Wirth Park, 3200 Glenwood Ave.

Recycle Run around Lake Harriet

EAST HARRIET
— Follow the watershed cleanup with a 5-kilometer run around Lake Harriet the following day, Sunday, April 20.

The Minneapolis Recycle Run begins and ends at the Lake Harriet band shell, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway. The kids’ run starts at 8:45 a.m., followed by the 5-kilometer race for adults at 9 a.m.

The top male and female finisher in each category earns a prize. All those who pre-register will get a T-shirt and water bottle, and the first 500 runners to register also get a ticket to a Minnesota Twins game.

Find information to preregister online or by mail at the Parks Board website. Entrance fees are $25 for adults and $10 for children who preregister by the end of April 14, or $30 for adults and $15 for children who register on race day.

Proceeds from the run will benefit future Minneapolis Earth Day cleanup events.

Reach Dylan Thomas at dthomas@mnpubs.com.