BY KATHRYN KELLY
At the last Hiawatha Community Advisory Committee meeting in June, Assistant Minneapolis Park Board Superintendent Michael Schroeder referred to my research about constructed wetlands, and stated that the Park Board is not doing a constructed wetland; they are doing wetland restoration.
I researched constructed wetlands because the Park Board stated that one of the main goals of reduced pumping and creation of this new wetland was to mitigate pollution. What I found was that the EPA calls this type of wetland a constructed wetland. Constructed wetlands for pollution mitigation are complex systems to design, build and maintain. Also, the EPA lays out several site selection criteria for a constructed wetland that this site fails to meet: do not build on a floodplain, do not build on peat, do not build near adjacent properties and do not build on property with a high volume of water throughput.
So, now, it appears that the Park Board is no longer claiming that this reduced pumping plan will mitigate pollution. Instead, they just want to restore the wetland back to what it used to be in the 1920s. Does this mean that the park building, the softball field/ice rink, the playground and the wading pool on the east side of Lake Hiawatha need to be demolished? Like the golf course, this location used to be part of Rice Lake and was manufactured from the dredged spoils of the lake. Also, the area around and feeding into the park property and Lake Hiawatha has changed dramatically since the 1920s. A massive number of parcels are developed and farms in the upper watershed are gone. Those properties are not going back to what they were.
So, restoring this property back to what it was in the 1920s is a pipe dream. It is like putting a horse and buggy onto 35W. Therefore, I am still searching for a reason which requires the destruction of the 18-hole golf course. So far, every reason given by the MPRB has been debunked.
And, let us remember Park Board President Bourn’s question to Mr. Schroeder last year. He asked, “So, no one is making us do reduced pumping. If we do this, we are doing this because WE want to?” Mr. Schroeder replied, “Yes.”