The golf course will remain at Hiawatha Golf Course, but it will likely shift from 18-holes to 9-holes.
After a contentious six-year planning process, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board Planning Committee approved moving the master plan forward to the full board on a 3-2 vote. Voting against were Commissioners Vetaw and French. Voting for were Commissioners Musich, Forney and Mayer. The vote followed a public hearing.
Next, the plan will be viewed by the entire board.
“I’m here to express my support for the plan not because it is the perfect plan, but because it’s a really good compromise,” stated local resident David Kaplan, who served as the chair of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC). “This was a very difficult process with so many viewpoints.“
He added, “Most importantly, it gives all involved in the conversation something but no one got everything, and that is the hallmark of a good compromise.”
The plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course carves out three areas for golf divided by spaces for water. It seeks to improve drainage on the site and provide floodplain space. “The last decade has been the warmest and wettest in Minnesota history,” remarked MPRB Project Manager Tyler Pederson, pointing to research by the Minnesota Climatology office.
The planning process since 2015 has included nine public meetings, seven CAC meetings, and 10 focus open houses. During the 45-day comment period, 345 surveys were collected. Of them, 127 were supportive of the plan in some aspect. Two contradictory themes were in the comments: keeping 18 holes of golf and removing golf all together.
The master plan includes a Backyard Neighborhood Park space at the corner of Longfellow Ave. and 44th that will include a nature play area and picnic tables. It was expanded after comments from community members.
Cross country skiing will remain, and snowmaking facilities added on the southwest corner. A trail system will be added year round through the lower northwest side of the site from the Lake Hiawatha Recreation Center and then follow the property line down the west and south sides until it hooks back up with the existing trail system.
The estimated cost for implementing this master plan is $43 million. Implementation of the plan will be incremental, and the plan is a starting point, according to Tyler Pederson. “Partnerships are essential,” he said.