First-of-its-kind bouldering area coming to Keewaydin

Nature and adventure playground with zip line will fill southeast corner


When Keewaydin Park is revamped in the summer of 2022 it will lack its wading pool but have a new bouldering area that is the first of its kind in the Minneapolis park system.
Improvements are centered around nature play, and an adventure playground with a climbing/bouldering element will be the feature of the space, according to planner and architect Colleen O’Dell of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB). Minneapolis Public Schools has decided to retain the existing playground that primarily serves younger aged children, and will have different equipment than the new play area. Lake Nokomis Community School – Keeywaydin campus adjacent to the park serves kids from second to fifth grade.
This project is funded by NPP20 capital funds in the amount of $1,168,00, as well as $150,000 in a Hennepin Youth Sports Grant for a total project budget of $1,318,000.
Keeywaydin Park is at 3030 E. 53rd St.
Keep reading for more from project architect Colleen O’Dell.

What is driving this project?
MPRB prioritizes the replacement and repair of park facilities and amenities through a Capital Improvement Program (CIP). A CIP is a prioritized list of infrastructure improvements that guides long-term investment and rehabilitation throughout the park system. An interactive map available online shows CIP improvement projects funded from 2021 to 2026 Prioritization of parks for the CIP is based on racial and economic equity criteria established as part of the 20-year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20). The improvements outlined for Keewaydin Park were adopted by the Board of Park Commissioners as part of the South Service Area Master Plan in 2016.

What have you heard from
people so far?
There will soon be summaries of results of our surveys posted on the project webpage. In general, people are excited about the introduction of bouldering and climbing, which will be a new element in the MPRB park system. Bouldering, which was recently included in Olympic sport competitions, would be a varied experience because handholds could be continually moved around. Rather than aiming to climb high or fast, bouldering focuses on solving problems or “climbing puzzles” where climbers figure out the best way to complete a route. People are also excited about nature play.
As noted in the summary results of survey #1, people appreciate the slides, location, tree area, and green space of the existing park and play area. Many people have also expressed appreciation for the existing wading pool and desire to keep it even though the adopted plan calls for decommissioning this structure and we have agreed with Minneapolis Public Schools to do so.
In the new play area, folks would most like to see:
• In traditional play – a slide, swing, monkey bars, nets and/or zip line
• In nature play – climbable logs and stones, movable logs and blocks, climbable trees, rock wall, and/or tree house
• In adventure play – a zip line, climbing wall/bouldering, obstacle course, tower, and/or sand feature
• Additional interests – splash pad, shade, seating, sledding hill
We have heard comments that folks would like to see an expansion of the age range that this park serves, as it is now focused mostly on younger children.

How have you reached
out to the community?
Project staff have engaged with community members this year in multiple ways, guided by an engagement plan created with input from the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association and Lake Nokomis Community School. In-person and virtual engagement to date has included tables and information at:
• PTA end of Year Bash
• NENA Crazy Days
• NENA Annual Meeting
• Keewaydin/Bossen/Lake Nokomis playground pop-ups with popsicles
• Shoreview Triangle food truck event pop-up with popsicles
• NENA monthly free food distribution event pop-up with popsicles
• Lake Nokomis School Open House
• MPRB open house via Zoom
• NENA Food Truck Rally
We have also been presentations/discussions/information shared with Lake Nokomis School Site Council, MPS facilities staff, Minnehaha Athletics Club, and Park Board recreation/Rec Plus/environmental/maintenance staff. Community members have also participated in two online surveys. The most recent survey shared three draft concept design ideas and just closed last week. We are now analyzing the survey #2 results, and will use them to inform development of a single preferred design which we hope to share publicly for review in the next month.
If folks have additional questions or input, they can contact

Learn more
A preferred concept design is currently under development.
Folks can learn more and subscribe to email updates on the project webpage:


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