Parks update // Mall concept

Mall concept will improve connections near new Walker

When Hennepin County finishes building a new Walker Library in 2013, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will be ready to renovate the parkland just north of library.

Since the piece of land is nestled between several Uptown amenities, the Park Board has come up with a redesign for “The Mall” that will allow for better connections between the Midtown Greenway, the Uptown Transit Station and the new library.

The plan calls for the construction of a bike path that will run just south of the Greenway from Humboldt Avenue so that bicyclists can easily access the transit station and the library from the Greenway.

The new library will have a reading room with big windows facing The Mall. The Park Board plans to plant trees and set up benches just outside of this reading room, so that library users can sit in the shade on nice days and read books.

A raised lawn in the center of The Mall will allow the library to hold outside readings and performances, especially for kids.

The plan also includes the construction of columns along the east side of the park facing Hennepin Avenue. Jennifer Ringold, the Park Board’ public engagement manager, said the columns could be lighted and decorated by artists.

Ringold, who has led the public outreach on the project, said the Park Board has not identified a funding source yet for the $1.6 million project. A Park Board committee on Nov. 9 was scheduled to review the design plan before sending it to the full Park Board for approval.

Ringold said that once the Park Board approves the design, putting together a funding plan would be the next step.  

The Park Board and Hennepin County worked together on planning this summer. Officials held three public meetings and an open house.

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Dog park public hearing moved to Nov. 22

The Park Board has rescheduled a public hearing to gather community feedback on a proposed off-leash dog area in Lyndale Farmstead Park.

Originally scheduled for Nov. 9, the meeting has been pushed back to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 22. The hearing will be held at the Park Board headquarters, 2117 W. River Road.

A citizens advisory committee has met 12 times over the past several months, and in September it recommended  ripping up a parking lot next to the Southside Operations Center — which is on the west side of Lyndale Farmstead Park — and turning it into a dog park.

The citizens groups also made a secondary recommendation for the dog park to be located closer to the Wirth Home in the same park.

On Nov. 9, the Park Board was set to vote on a revised 2011 capital improvements plan. The Park Board freed up about $1.1 million in its budget for a few projects, including $100,000 for a dog park construction. That money would be added to the $32,500 already set aside for a dog park.

A vote on the capital improvement plan revisions was made after this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press on Nov. 9.

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]