BY ED FELIEN
The June 7th Update to the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan Frequently Asked Questions says, “In September 2015, the MPRB received information regarding groundwater pumping at the golf course that required a re-evaluation of the long-term plan for the golf course property.”
From whom, saying what? Did the DNR notify you that you were in violation of a permit? No. Definitely not. Yet that’s what the statement seems to say. Some power, somewhere, told you that you were in violation and you had to reevaluate the long-term plan for the golf course. We deserve to know who. You know that the DNR testified at the October 2017 hearing at the State Capitol that they had not specified any level of pumping that was required. The Update says funds for the Master Plan are paid for by the Enterprise Fund and not by Hiawatha Golf Course, but the Park Board’s 10/17/2018 Budget Adjustments document says the charge for “Description-Hiawatha Master Plan, Design and Engineering, Balance—$275,000” will be allocated to “Division-Recreation, Budget-Enterprise, Department Golf” the same fund that includes Hiawatha Golf Course.
Your Update admits you got a permit to increase pumping to the present level. What you don’t say is that the DNR permit carried no recommendations or proscriptions. They didn’t say you have to change the volume of pumping. Yet you insist we must reduce pumping. Why? Who says you have to?
You ask, “Can we remove the weir at the outlet of Lake Hiawatha to lower the lake?” You know that is a misleading question. You know the Barr Engineering report said the control point for the height of Minnehaha Creek and for Lake Hiawatha is the rock weir under the 30th Avenue footbridge. You know the height of that weir is 810.7 feet above sea level. You know the city engineer has identified the sewer pipe under the 28th Avenue bridge as the highest municipal sewer line at 808 feet above sea level. I’m sure you know enough math to appreciate that lowering the control point of Minnehaha Creek from 810.7 to 808 would lower the level of the creek and lake by 2.7 feet.
You say the “appropriate term we may use in our master plan for the Lake Hiawatha area is restored wetlands. The wetlands that are suggested in each of the concepts are certainly engineered and shaped to fit the site’s needs but doing so in the interest of restoring them to a similar state they were in approximately 90 years ago.”
Ninety years ago there were no homes from Cedar Avenue over to 34th Avenue, from 42nd Street to the Parkway. Shouldn’t the people who now live in those homes have something to say about their future?
Don’t the people in South Minneapolis deserve a golf course? Our property tax dollars are paying for a very nice golf course in St. Louis Park called Meadowbrook; and a very nice course in St. Anthony Village called Gross; and a very nice course in Golden Valley called Wirth; and a very nice course in Northeast Minneapolis next to Columbia Heights called Columbia. As a potent symbol of your deliberate neglect and malign intent for Hiawatha, you set the maintenance budget for Hiawatha at $117,611 less than the average of $642,742 for those other four courses. Why are you deliberately trying to discourage people from using Hiawatha by cutting back on maintenance, by raising rates, by eliminating the resident discount?
We deserve an explanation. We don’t deserve more lies and distortions.