Park Board looks to restore flooded golf courses

Flooding in June 2014 severely damaged the Hiawatha and Meadowbrook Golf Courses. Credit: Erdahl Aerial Photos

Minneapolis golfers may get two damaged courses back, but it’s unclear how they’ll be fixed before being reopened. 

The Hiawatha and Meadowbrook Golf Courses in Minneapolis and Hopkins suffered about $3.5 million in damages due to flooding from torrential rains in spring 2014. The two courses likely won’t reopen until at least 2017.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is now working to restore the courses with FEMA help, though they have several options. At a public meeting in January, Park Board staff outlined three possibilities for the courses: They could just do the repairs that FEMA will fund; they could repair that damage and address flooding, drainage and some irrigation issues; or they could renovate the courses, including bunkers, tees, cart paths and clubhouse upgrades.

The latter plans will require more money and planning than what federal dollars will fund. As part of FEMA guidelines, the Park Board will need to look at ways to mitigate flooding at the two courses in the future.

The courses were closed for the 2014 season and largely remained damaged, though Hiawatha’s driving range and front nine were reopened for a short time.

Both courses took severe damage in the storms. Between the two, flooding destroyed more than 100 acres of turf, downed nearly 100 trees and flooded several greens.

A consultant report from last February showed rounds of golf played dropped 42 percent between 1997 and 2011, in tandem with falling revenue and national trends on course closings. It also recommended new or expanded clubhouses at both Hiawatha and Meadowbrook.

Before it moves forward with an option, the Park Board has at least two public meetings where residents and golfers can voice their concerns. 

The Park Board is hosting two meetings on Feb. 2 at its offices at 2117 West River Rd. N., one for Hiawatha from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and one for Meadowbrook from 7:30 to 9 p.m.