Park board approves Master Plan


CORRECTION: Last month in this space, in an article entitled “Hiawatha Beach to close permanently,” our lead sentence said, “The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will close Hiawatha Beach permanently this summer.”  We indicated later that this proposal was part of a “long-term” plan, but we were justifiably corrected by the park board: “Hiawatha Beach will NOT permanently close this summer. The Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan does recommend replacing the beach with a naturalized shoreline, boardwalk and over-water pavilion in the long term (between 12 and 25 years), but not this summer. The question of closing the Hiawatha Beach next summer was specifically asked at the Feb. 4 meeting by Commissioner Tabb, and project manager Adam Arvidson responded that it would be open for summer 2015.”
The park board also sent out community notices that the “The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will reconvene the Nokomis-Hiawatha Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to help determine what facility improvements will take place in the park in 2015-2016.  A CAC meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. The general public will have an opportunity to provide input at the meeting.”
The park board approved the Plan at its March 4 meeting with no changes, according to Adam Arvidson, the interim director of strategic planning and chief shepherd of the Plan.
This means that at some point the swimming beach at Hiawatha will close and the shoreline will revert to its natural state.  The Plan also calls for “a winter-only walking/snowshoe trail around the west side of Lake Hiawatha; a new bridge for pedestrians over the creek in the southeast part of the lake; a boardwalk and sunset pavilion; and a designated canoe/kayak launch and storage racks near the lakeshore.”
When I grew up on 42nd Street and 29th Avenue 70 years ago, my mother always told me in late summer to ride my bike a little farther down 28th Avenue to the little beach at Nokomis on 50th Street.  By August the beach at Hiawatha almost always developed a green algae scum.  But I remember one of my first tests of manhood was to swim out beyond the ropes at Lake Hiawatha to the floating dock and dive off the dock into the deep water.

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