What’s happening with Lake Hiawatha? The stone wall and the swamp

BY ED FELIEN

Last Monday I wrote to Park Board Superintendent Mary Merrill:

“Are we to assume as a result of Board’s approval of another Barr Engineering study to evaluate three possibilities:

‘• Articulation of a set of working principles to guide explorations and for use as a tool in evaluation of alternatives;

‘• Consideration of a wide range of potential uses for the property aligned with water management solutions;

‘• Creation of alternatives for the golf course property, including an exploration of traditional golf in some form and the role of the golf course property in the regional park and the MPRB park system’

“that the Park Board has no intention to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove the dam/weir at 27th Avenue or to remove the boulder dam under the 30th Avenue footbridge or to ask CenterPoint Energy to remove their pipe under the 28th Avenue bridge, even though Barr Engineering in an earlier study said removal of these obstacles would lower the water level by 2 feet. In my evaluation I believe removal of these obstacles would lower the water level by at least 3 feet: http://southsidepride.com/2018/07/02/stop-the-flooding/. But in either case, lowering the water level of Lake Hiawatha by even 2 feet would greatly reduce pumping of water out of the course and into the lake.

“Further, are we to assume that Park Board staff in scheduling CAC [Community Advisory Committee] meetings at Park Board headquarters in North Minneapolis and canceling further meetings, and not allowing the CAC to consider any alternatives to flooding the golf course, that the Park Board administration is not interested in considering any alternative but a swamp as the future use of the Hiawatha Golf Course?

“I would sincerely appreciate your answer to these questions.”

She has not answered me.

Earlier I wrote to Park Board staff and all the commissioners on the Park Board and asked them to consider removing the dam/weir at 27th Avenue, the boulder dam under the 30th Avenue footbridge and talking to CenterPoint Energy about removing their unused pipe under the 28th Avenue bridge.

No one has answered me.

I wrote to Brad Bourn, president of the Park Board, asking to meet with him to find answers to these questions.

He has not answered me.

I wrote to the Park Board information officer asking how many studies the Park Board has done with Barr Engineering and how much money we’ve spent.

They have not answered me.

I guess it’s appropriate when trying to take down a dam/weir stone wall that is flooding South Minneapolis that you meet with another stone wall from the defenders of the status quo.

I’m sure the staff and commissioners who dreamed up the swamp project for Hiawatha will want even more ambitious projects like recreating the swamp in Venice and the swamp in Washington, D. C. They might even want to contact the Dutch and recreate the swamp that is now The Netherlands.

Photo caption: Superintendent Mary Merrill  and Commissioner Brad Bourn

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