Nero of the Northland


Instead of burning Roman slums to make way for the Via del Corso to the Colosseum, Michael Schroeder, the planning “genius” of the Park Board, is flooding homes in South Minneapolis to make room for his vision of a swamp.
If Nero could be credited with the first Urban Renewal Project, then Michael Schroeder must be credited with the first Urban Regression Project—returning civilization to the primordial.
It was Oscar Wilde who said, “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”
With Michael Schroeder’s help in returning South Minneapolis to barbarism, perhaps we might have a second chance at civilization.
They say Nero played music while Rome burned. Certainly, Michael Schroeder must have at least the power of an ancient siren to captivate a superintendent and commissioners with enough ego-boosting flattery to lure them onto the rocks.
Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, was once just one large sheet of ice two million years ago. As the ice melted and the glaciers retreated, they left behind lakes and rivers and beautiful topsoil scraped from Texas and Oklahoma. Much of the melted water sank into the ground. The resulting natural water table left by the melting glacier is about ten feet below ground level in most of the South Minneapolis flatland. The areas around Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha are low enough to the ground water table that they are considered wetlands.
Minnesota law recognizes the danger in disturbing wetlands. Minnesota Statute 103G.141 says it’s a crime to alter the elevation of a lake or wetland. If you raise the water table for the wetland, you raise the water table for the entire watershed. The dams and weirs that block the water leaving Lake Hiawatha have raised the water table for the surrounding neighborhoods by three to five feet.
This has meant serious problems and costly expenses for many people in South Minneapolis. When we asked in Southside Pride if your home has experienced flooded basements, we got these responses:
“There is some mold in my basement.”
“A sleeve was put into the trunk sewer 2 to 3 years ago. Workers said they hit ground water at a depth of 6 feet below the boulevard sidewalk.”
“My property and my next-door neighbor have experienced several sinkholes in the back yard beginning in 2012.”
The heavy rains this spring have raised the level of Lake Minnetonka to about 929.7 feet above sea level as of June 19. That’s about three inches short of overflowing the dam at Gray’s Bay, and when that water overflows the dam, it goes into Minnehaha Creek and ends up in Lake Hiawatha. Just a few more inches and Lake Hiawatha will flood the surrounding wetlands.
We don’t need dams on Minnehaha Creek to hold back three to five feet of water from Lake Hiawatha. We need to remove those dams, lower the water level of Lake Hiawatha, and let it once again become a safe reservoir for water rushing down Minnehaha Creek from Lake Minnetonka. We don’t need that water flooding basements in South Minneapolis.
If the basement in your home is experiencing mold or flooding, let us know. Call 612-822-4662 or email us at [email protected].

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