Parks update // Memorial to honor plane crash victims

Dedication ceremony will honor plane crash victims

Sixty-one years after a Northwest airplane crashed into a home on Minnehaha Parkway killing 15 people, the community will honor the victims of the crash with a memorial and dedication.

Mark Kaplan, who lives down the street from the site of the crash, has been raising funds and gathering stories of people touched by the plane crash of March 7, 1950. He’s got enough money in a People for Parks fund to place a 2.5-ton boulder with a plaque across the street from the site, on the 1000 block of the parkway.

Kaplan has invited more than 100 people to the event, including Diane Doughty Madsen, who was 15 when the plane struck her home, killing her younger brother and sister. She escaped with her parents.

Since the Southwest Journal published a story about the crash in April, several people who lost loved ones in the crash  — there were 10 passengers and 3 crew members who died — have contacted the paper and have been sharing their stories with Kaplan.

Others, from as close as Southwest and as far as Florida, have also contacted the Journal in hopes of reconnecting with people who have also been touched by the crash.

A ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. in Lynnhurst Park followed by a dedication of the boulder near the crash site.

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Committee narrows list to three potential dog park sites

A citizens advisory committee tasked with locating a site for an off-leash dog area in Southwest has narrowed its list of potential locations to three.

Two of the sites are within the boundaries of Lyndale Farmstead Park and one is near Minnehaha Creek.  

The first Lyndale Farmstead site is just south of the Park Board’s Southside Operation center. The area totals one acre and would run along Kings Highway.

The other Lyndale Farmstead site would require the Park Board to rip up the parking lot of the Southside Operations Center and block off a storm water retention pond next to it. The 0.9-acre site also runs along Kings Highway, across from Lakewood Cemetery.

At Minnehaha Creek, the proposed site is just south of the creek where Pleasant Avenue meets with Minnehaha Parkway. The 1.2-acre site would require the Park Board to realign the trail so it goes around the dog park.

Maps of all three sites can be viewed at minneapolisparks.org.

The committee held a public comment period on July 25. The committee does not have the power to choose a site, only to recommend one to the Park Board.

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Lake Nokomis next for food vendor

Riding on the success of private food vendors at Lake Calhoun, Minnehaha Park and Lake Harriet, the Park Board is sending out a request for proposals to open another food operation at Lake Nokomis.

The Lake Nokomis concessions facility is badly in need of maintenance. Park Board General Manager Don Siggelkow says the facility hasn’t been used in many years and most likely would not meet food service codes without substantial work.

Siggelkow said the work could be shared by the Park Board and a potential vendor, but details would have to be negotiated.

The Nokomis facility is much smaller than the facilities that house current vendors Tin Fish, Sea Salt and Harriet Bread and Pickle. Siggelkow said the operations would have to start small, with more basic food offerings.

The idea of expanding the facility without public input drew the ire of the Park Watch group, who wanted more citizen involvement in the process.

But Siggelkow said that the initial request for proposals would unlikely mean a building expansion. Park Board Commissioner Jon Olson said he hoped a vendor could set up shop, run a successful operation, and then expand the building with citizen input.

Siggelkow said Park Board Commissioner Carol Kummer, who represents the Nokomis area, would be able to appoint three members to the panel that reviews the requests.

He also noted that following the recent competition for the food contract at Lake Harriet drew lots of suitors, and many said they would want another chance at Nokomis.

“I think these really do become community assets and I think Nokomis is ready for the enhancements,” Siggelkow said.

The Park Board’s Planning Committee voted to recommend sending the concessions contract out for proposals at its July 20 meeting.

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.