October 12, 2017 06:56 PM
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved a resolution earlier this month directing MPRB staff to work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to obtain a permit allowing groundwater pumping to remain at the current volume until a master plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course property is adopted.
And until any changes to the property made necessary by that plan are implemented.
The board had decided in August to reduce groundwater pumping at the Hiawatha Golf Club. At the time, it was thought that meant the course would close following the 2019 season.
But Dawn Sommers, the director of communications and marketing for the MPRB, said no date is set in stone and the new resolution is meant to clarify that.
"There's been a lot of concern out there about when the course will close," Sommers said. "The new resolution is simply meant to clarify that it's not just that the master plan needs to be done. But that work needs to actually be started on the master plan as well."
Current groundwater pumping at the course is estimated at 242 million gallons per year – more than seven times what a DNR permit allows.
The possibility of the course closing has upset many in the local golfing community who don't want to lose the 18-hole course in South Minneapolis, which first opened in 1934.
Local coaches at Minneapolis high schools, for example, have said the sport could face an uncertain future at their schools without a course like Hiawatha located nearby.
Craig Nichols, who has been active in the effort to save the course, said he is feeling at least a little more positive about the future.
Though he said efforts to save it need to continue.
"I feel a little more optimistic ... maybe," Nichols said. "But I think part of the reason for my optimism is that the neighborhood, especially those who live directly around the course, has been really supportive. You drive around that area and you see a lot of 'Save Hiawatha' signs.
"But my optimism is tentative. We still need to stay vigilant. We need to stay on it. We still need to be out there talking to people.
"We're taking the same approach we were taking two weeks ago."
Updated: October 12, 2017 06:56 PM
Created: October 12, 2017 05:32 PM
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