Parks update: Potential dog park sites

Dog park group widens list of potential off-leash sites

A group of Southwest stakeholders charged with finding a new site for an off-leash dog area in the Park Board’s Sixth District expanded its list of potential sites to nine at a May 16 meeting.

The 23-member Citizens Advisory Committee went through 31 sites that had been nominated by city residents, crossing off 22 sites that they said were not suitable for a dog park.

Members of the CAC made it clear that just because they kept a site under consideration, it did not mean it would be the next Minneapolis dog park. The CAC is asking Park Board staff to look at the potential sites and inform the CAC as to any major issues.

“We have to name these sites and make it clear where we are in the process — which is just starting to vet these sites,” said David Brauer, a Kingfield resident and CAC member.

In April, before the CAC expanded its potential site list, it removed two other sites that the Park Board had given the CAC to work with.

Those two sites — both in Lyndale Park and near the Roberts Bird Sanctuary — drew the protests of bird groups who argued the presence of dogs would scare off migrating birds.

The new list of nine potential sites includes spots at Lyndale Farmstead Park and Fuller Park as well as a spot on the south side of Minnehaha Creek at Pleasant Avenue; near the tennis courts at 38th and Bryant; and on private property at the corner of 36th and Nicollet.

The group also expanded its list to include sites outside of the Park Board’s Sixth District because of interest from the Regina, Field, Central and Bryant neighborhoods just east of I-35W.

Three sites in those neighborhoods remain possibilities: at Phelps Park; at 4th Avenue South and East 40th St.; and at 3951 5th Avenue South.

Members of the CAC said they would like to explore the idea of opening two dog parks, one on each side of I-35W.

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Requests to honor Dr. King at MLK Park finalized

After a long, divisive debate about putting an off-leash dog area at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, a group of residents has formulated a plan for honoring Dr. King’s legacy at the site.

The group, which met six times over the last several months, is asking that the “Wings of Freedom Memorial Sculpture” be moved to a more prominent area that can be seen from Nicollet Avenue. The sculpture would also be cleaned and restored and a plaque added.

Park signs would be replaced or added so that the park is consistently identified as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Those improvements would use up the $32,500 that the Park Board set aside for King’s legacy last fall.

Aside from those funds, the group is requesting new programming at the park, including a Willie Mays T-ball tournament, teen programs, after school homework programs and playing “Four Little Girls” for the June 25 Movie in the Park.

The Park Board will vote on those plans at its June 1 meeting.

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Campaign to rename Lake Calhoun continues

Southwest resident John Winters began circulating a petition May 18 to change the name of Lake Calhoun to Lake Humphrey.

Winters has attended two Park Board meetings this spring in his effort. He says the Minneapolis lake should not be named after politician John C. Calhoun, a slavery proponent in the 1800s.

Winters quickly got his first signature after addressing the Park Board on May 18: Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn put his name down almost immediately.

According to the Park Board, the process of changing the name of a lake takes about two years and would include public hearings.

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.