Parks update // Goats in city parks? Commissioner says its worth looking into

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn has an idea for combating Buckthorn in Minneapolis parks: Bring goats in to gobble up the invasive plants. 

How such an idea might work would still need to be examined, said the Sixth District Park Board member who represents Southwest. He’d like city staff to examine the issue more to see if the it would be cost-effective, and perhaps start a pilot program.

“I thought it might be an interesting pilot to try. Primarily, I want to get some more information to see if it’s cost effective first,” Bourn said. “But if it is, it’s kind of an interesting way to connect park users to nature on a different level and show people how nature, animals and people can all be connected.”

Bourn’s idea isn’t original. City staffers mentioned the idea to him, and it’s been used in other cities, he said. 

Bourn said goats might work best if the Park Board hires someone to bring in their own goats instead of having the city try to take care of the animals. 

Currently, Bourn said, Buckthorn is dealt with by volunteers and seasonal staff. Removal can be very costly when staff are used, Bourn said. 

Bourn’s idea got a mixed review from the rest of the Park Board. In a survey of eight Park Board members on their budget priorities for 2013, three said they don’t support the idea at all. Three were more supportive than not. Overall, it was given a score of 2 on a scale of 1-5. 

Park Board members weigh in on priorities

The Park Board will adopt a 2013 budget this fall. Members have begun weighing in on what they would like to see funded next year. 

In a survey of eight of the commissioners, increasing park maintenance was voted the top priority. Five members said they fully support increased park maintenance, for an average score of 4.29. 

Other priorities include increased funding for the dog park at Lyndale Farmstead Park, which is expected to open by the end of the year. Commissioners said they want shade structures, benches and a water hookup for the dog park.  

The dog park scored a 3.38, tops for capital projects. In second place was funding for paths along the Mississippi River, at 3.14, followed closely by renovations of the Byrn Mawr athletic fields, with 3.13. 

In the category of recreation, commissioners said they favored reinvesting in golf courses before “adding anything else.”

City bike tour 

draws 4,000 riders

Almost 4,000 cyclists participated in the annual Minneapolis Bike Tour, which raises money for the Minneapolis park system. 

Riders choose between a 14-mile or 36-mile ride around the park system’s Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The Park Board closes the pathways to motor traffic.

The tour, which was held Sept. 16, ended in Parade Field.  

Dates set for Calhoun-Isles 

open house

The Minneapolis Park Board will host an open house to discuss a possible redesign of the landscape between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. 

The open house will run from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the MoZaic building, 1340 Lagoon Ave. 

On Oct. 13, the Park Board staff will present a preliminary design and offer opportunity for community feedback. That event will be held on from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the MoZaic building.