BY KATHRYN KELLY
Results of the latest Minneapolis Park Board survey on the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan have, again, shown that a HUGE majority of respondents do not support a plan that has, so far, cost over $870,000.
The responses have been compiled and quantified in a best effort considering the vast variety of comments from over 400 responses. The numbers indicate how many responses were received on that particular comment. The top 15 responses were:
196 People want to retain the 18-hole golf course
41 Reject Master Plan / bad plan / waste of money / cost too high / put plan on hold
38 Honor Black golfers by retaining the 18-hole golf course
33 9-hole golf course is unsustainable / money loser / beginners only / insufficient for demand
29 Plans for water mitigation/protection of homes are questionable / ill-defined / won’t work / need more study
29 Amenities already exist in the Hiawatha/Nokomis parks or can be done nearby
26 Want golf course there for my kids / kids in general
23 A diverse golf course (users are all races, ages, genders… )
22 18-hole golf course is a neighborhood institution
22 Redesign / upgrade current 18-hole golf course / facilities
20 Support the plan
20 Put money toward more needed areas / areas in disrepair / existing infrastructure
17 Only golf course in the city proper / inner city
16 Save the parks at 43rd & 19th and 44th & Longfellow
15 Will be less property for other activities—only golf and water in summer
15 Fix trash problem first (separately)
This survey, again, shows clearly that a HUGE majority of the respondents who stated a preference want the Park Board to retain the 18-hole golf course (196 responses), growing from 157 in the April 2020 survey. Plus, the view that the plan disrespects the Black community and its history at Hiawatha Golf Course is very clear in the survey results. These results also show that there is opposition from the neighborhood with respect to changes across the street from homes. This opposition comes from worries about protecting the homes from flooding, increased traffic, usurping the parks to accommodate the new golf course due to major portions of the property being converted to a lake, and the addition of storm sewers, pumps and snow-making equipment across the street from homes.
There was, again, considerable concern expressed about the proposed financing of the project, especially in this timeframe of COVID and economic distress. Many people feel this project should be postponed, or that it is a waste of money, and the proposed $42-62 million that would be spent could be put to better uses.
It is finally time for the Park Board to bow to the majority of the survey respondents and quit wasting money on this plan. Instead, maintain the 18-hole golf course while incorporating some of the desired amenities and fixes into the current property.