Mpls. Park Board Looks to Update Lake Nokomis, Hosts Public Meeting

Updated: 05/29/2014 8:04 AM
Created: 05/26/2014 5:01 PM
By: Kate Renner

Big crowds flocked to metro lakes Monday, both in the water and on the beaches. 

At Lake Nokomis in South Minneapolis, 1.3 million people visit each year. Now the Minneapolis Park Board wants to make some major improvements to the Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha areas, by creating a master plan and they want the public to weigh in on the changes.

Whether you're standing on water or on scorching sand, there's a common complaint at Lake Nokomis, a lack of shade.

To avoid roasting like corn over charcoal, beach-goers have their own solutions. "Rent beach umbrellas so you don't fry in the sun," said Gary Thornburg. "Tables with canopies over top," said Mikiala Puranen, of Minneapolis.

Now's the time to air out those complaints and wade into uncharted waters.

"I want people to dream big," said Sandy Colvin Roy, Chair of Nokomis-Hiawatha Community Advisory Committee.

The Minneapolis Park Board is looking to draft a master plan for Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha to update the one designed 80 years ago. "It's sort of about time that we take a look at it," said Bob Fine, Nokomis-Hiawatha Community Advisory Committee member.

From beach side to street side, the Minneapolis Park Board is looking to freshen up one of the state's most visited lakes.

"I would just like to see more beaches along the lake cause it's a really big lake and on really hot days it can crowded on this one beach," said Kaelyn Mulcahy, Apple Valley.

"The parking should be better. The roads are pretty narrow so it's pretty hard to maneuver around," Gary Thornburg said.

One of the short term plans on the docket is to replace the 54th Street Triangle Park. It currently doesn't meet safety and accessibility standards.

"If there's barrier by the street so the kids don't run off," said Janet Anderson of Minneapolis.

The Metropolitan Council has $1.7 million in funding for the next two years to improve the shoreline, bike trails and draft a 25 year master plan.

"The whole idea of a master plan is to develop it so that if you get more funding in the future, you've got direction as to where to go," said Bob Fine.

So next time you're at Lake Nokomis or Lake Hiawatha, don't just create a sand castle; think of the whole beach as your domain.

The Hiawatha Golf Course is not a part of the master plan updates.

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board is hosting a public meeting about the project. It takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at the Nokomis Community Center.

You can sound off on the master plan here.

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