Parks update // Plan for Wirth Park

Plan for Wirth Park includes more off-road biking, ski center

A citizen group tasked with planning renovations for Theodore Wirth Park has come up with a recommendation for a $20 million plan that includes more mountain biking, a winter sports center and an extended cross-country trail where snow is made.

The plan will be up for a public hearing at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters at 6:30 p.m. June 20.

The bulk of the changes will come on the north side of the park, where the plan calls for a $4.9 million “Welcome Center” that would house a clubhouse for the par 3 course and a winter recreation meeting and event center.

Cross country trails would be added to the area around the par 3 course and a dog park would be built west of the chipping green, closer to the Humane Society. 

The plan also calls for 1.6 miles of mountain biking trails through the woods just west of the Theodore Wirth Parkway and south of Glenwood Avenue. They would also be available for hiking and snowshoeing. New shelters would be built near Wirth Lake.

The Park Board, when it eventually adopts a plan later this summer, will be tasked with balancing the desires to keep the park natural and quiet with desires for more trails. Plus, golf course users are concerned about plans to shorten one hole on the 18-hole course and make it a par-71 course. Sand traps would be added.  

The Park Board hopes to fund the project through a mixture of state money, Legacy Amendment dollars, Metropolitan Council grants and from its own budget. Because of expanded trails and a new restaurant in the chalet, the Park Board expects annual revenue at the park to increase from $1 million a year to $1.7 million a year after 10 years.

Smaller parts of the plan call for improvements to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, a relocated tubing hill to what is now the 17th hole, more ski trail lighting, better snowmaking equipment and building rehabilitation.

For more information on the project, visit http://tinyurl.com/6sbcvbb.

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Construction of dog park to begin in July

The Park Board in early June was preparing paperwork in order to send out for bid the construction of a new dog park in Lyndale Farmstead Park, said Jennifer Ringold, manager of public engagement and citywide planning.

If things go according to plans, Ringold said construction would begin in July with hopes of opening the park by fall.

The Park Board approved the dog park in December. To view more information on the project, visit http://tinyurl.com/6c9xycy.

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Swim dock added to Cedar Lake

Southwest Minneapolis is getting a third swimming dock, as the Park Board plans to install a dock on the west side of Cedar Lake at Cedar Point Beach.

With new docks at Cedar and Nokomis, the Park Board will have docks at five Minneapolis lakes this summer.

Last summer was the first season for the swimming docks, when the Park Board installed them at Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Theodore Wirth Lake.  

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Electric vehicle charging stations could be coming to park near you

The Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition is applying for a federal grant in order to install electric vehicle charging stations at 11 parks along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities, including four Minneapolis parks.

The Park Board was scheduled to discuss the idea at its June 6 meeting. The charging station would be installed at the Park Board Headquarters, North Mississippi Park, BF Nelson Park and Minnehaha Park. Each park would get two stations.

The stations cost $10,000 each. The Park Board wouldn’t have to pay any of that cost, but would have to maintain the stations at an estimated cost of $25 to $50 a year.

If approved for the grant, installation would take place in spring 2013, according to a Park Board memo.

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.