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Theodore Wirth Park Improvements
Wirth Park Citizen Advisory Committee (Full Park) 2010-2011
Wirth Park Phase III Citizen Advisory Committee (Wirth Lake Area) 2010
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Theodore Wirth Park Improvements
Home  < Design & Planning  < Current Projects  

Theodore Wirth Regional Park Improvements

Location: Theodore Wirth Regional Park



Andrea Weber
Project Manager

Colleen O’Dell
Project Manager

Project Description

Since 2010, an extensive community engagement process has led to the creation of a concept design Theodore Wirth Regional Park investments and prioritization of elements that will guide park investment over the next twenty years.

What's New

The draft master plan is available for public review and comment through December 15, 2014. Based on comments received, the draft plan will be revised and presented to the Board of Commissioners for a public hearing and approval in 2015.

Review the Draft Master Plan:

  • Online (13MB)
  • At the following locations:
    • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters, 2117 West River Road N
    • Wirth Chalet, Theodore Wirth Regional Park, 1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy
    • Par 3, Theodore Wirth Regional Park, 1325 Theodore Wirth Pkwy
    • Golden Valley City Hall, 7800 Golden Valley Rd
    • Harrison Recreation Center, 503 Irving Ave. N,
    • Kenwood Community Center, 2101 Franklin Ave. W
    • North Commons Recreation Center, 1801 James Ave. N

Submit a Comment:

  • Online
  • By Mail: 
    Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
    2117 West River Road N
    Minneapolis, MN 55411
    attn: Colleen O’Dell, Project Planner

Construction Projects

In chronological order, starting with current projects:

  • Bassett Creek Main Stem Erosion Control/Restoration (Golden Valley Road to Irving Ave N.) (2012-2015)
    • This project has its own project page - please visit the page for more information. Construction will begin in late 2014 and continue through 2015.
  • Wirth Park Lessard –Sams Vegetation Management  (2013-19)
  • Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Boardwalk (2013-14)
  • Wirth Adventure/Welcome Center (2013-16)
  • Theodore Wirth Natural Surface Trails (2013-15)
    • Natural surface trail construction for walkers and for off-road cycling and trail running is underway in Southwest Wirth (west of Theo Wirth Parkway, and south of Glenwood) in fall of 2014. These trails, guided by the Wirth Concept Master Plan and partially funded by volunteers of MORC and MOCA, will be built to add another link to the off road cycling trail network which extends from the Back 40 area (west of the Par 3 golf course) south to I-394. They will connect to a new segment on the west side of Brownie Lake in 2015. The trails are being built by an experienced profession trail contractor, Trail Source.
    • Natural surface trails were constructed in 2013 in two areas in Wirth; north of Glenwood (off road cycling), and in the back 40, near Twin Lake and connecting to the Hidden Lakes trail (natural surface walking trails). These trails are built using sustainable trail techniques designed to prevent erosion and offer pleasant trail experiences in more natural settings within the park. Because this work is design-build signage is being created, and will be fully installed in 2015.
    • The next phase of natural surface trail development will occur in 2015 at Brownie Lake (off road cycling) and in SE Wirth Park (Walking Trails only).
  • Theodore Wirth Picnic Pavilion Rehabilitation (2012-14)
    • The Wirth Picnic Pavilion will be undergoing rehabilitation work over the winter of 2012-3 to update it for year round use. The Pavilion has re-opened but still has some work underway (as of October 2014).
    • Roof Insulation was planned to be installed in the fall of 2014, but early freezing temps may delay this work until spring 2015.
    • The Pavilion features a restored exterior and main hall, renovated teaching kitchen, catering serving space, renovated restrooms and two meeting/classroom spaces. It also has new heating and air conditioning and updated electrical and plumbing. The main hall seats approximately 100 people and has a large projection screen and a working fireplace. More (seasonal) seating is available in the two screen porches.
    • Each meeting/classroom space can be used for 15-20 people.
    • Funding is from the Metropolitan Council Regional Park Bonding for Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
  • Theodore Wirth Winter Recreation and Golf Storage Building (2013-14)
    • The Theodore Wirth Winter Recreation and Golf Operations staff have new storage building to store equipment (seasonally) in the operations area near the chalet. Funding was provided through the Hilton Fund dedicated for Winter Recreation.
  • Seeding and Storm Restoration (2012-14)
    • An ecological restoration contractor has been hired to do some native seeding in areas where the 2011 tornado and clean-up damaged natural park areas. Applied Ecological Services is doing this work and will also have a two year maintenance contract for the seeding areas. View a map of the seeding areas. The work will be complete in fall 2014. This work is funded with Metropolitan Council Regional Park Bonding for Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
  • Wirth Lake-Phase III Improvements (2011-12)
    • Though mostly completed in 2012, plant maintenance will continue through 2014. This work was guided by the Wirth Lake CAC and was funded with Metropolitan Council Regional Park Bonding and Parks and Trails Legacy Funding for Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
  • Wirth Park Tennis Court Removal (SW of Glenwood Avenue and Xerxes St N) (2012)
    • This project is complete. This work was funded with Metropolitan Council Regional Park Bonding for Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
  • Wirth Park Forum for Bottineau Transitway (2012)
  • Wirth Lake Outlet Control Project (2011-12)
    • This project is complete. This project installed a new "duckbill" type rubber control structure designed to prevent high water in Bassett Creek from flowing into Wirth Lake during floods. This project was part of the Wirth Lake TMDL study to improve water quality. It was funded by the Bassett Creek watershed Management Commission using levy and Clean Waters Legacy Funding.

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Project Milestones

Spring 2015

  • Natural Surface trails planning will begin for SE Wirth and Brownie Lake


  • Lessard Vegetation  Management implementation will begin

Winter 2014-15

  • Bassett Main Stem Construction to begin in Winter 2014-15

December 15, 2014

  • Master Plan comment period ends: December 15, 2014

Project Timeline

October 1, 2013

September 20, 2013

March 22, 2013

January 2013

  • Since Board approval and direction  in July 2012, staff have worked to prepare a fundraising agreement with the Loppet Foundation (formerly City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation) to raise at least $3 million for the estimated $6 million welcome center facility. This agreement will set the foundation of fundraising efforts and programming for a future Multi-Sport Welcome Center at Theodore Wirth Regional Park. The long-term focus of this center is to serve the needs of park visitors, trail users (of all types), park-3 golfers, cross-country skiers, snowboarders and tubers. A revised agreement will be presented to the Board in February for consideration.

January 16, 2013

  • Loppet Agreement Discussion - Administration and Finance Committee changed this from an action item to a discussion item at the meeting - Agenda
  • Welcome Center Concepts

October 12, 2012

October 2, 2012

August 27, 2012

  • Work begins this week to restore native vegetation in areas of the park affected by the May 2011 tornado. As of mid-week, crews will begin to remove woodchips, plant cover crops and apply herbicide to remove invasive plant species. This work will prepare soils for native plant seeding, which is expected to be done early next summer, followed by a two-year maintenance period.
  • Tree planting in storm damaged areas of the park will continue this fall with volunteer groups. Future tree plantings will be planned in accordance with existing native communities and cultural landscape features. 

July 11, 2012

  • The Park Board approved the Theodore Wirth Park Concept Plan and priorities for funding recommended by the Citizen’s Advisory Committee.  An amendment to their approval dedicated part of the 2011 special bonding appropriation to the Wirth Welcome Center (1.5 million of 1.7 million bonding) and named the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation as a partner, requiring them to raise at least 3 million in private funding to support construction of the Welcome Center. Please see the board agenda and resolution information.(see July 11, Regular Meeting link, Agenda Packet page 2 for agenda, p. 45 for resolution)
  • View all meetings

June 5, 2012

October 19, 2011

April 13, 2011

December 3, 2010

October 20, 2010

July 1, 2010

June 17, 2010

May 27, 2010

May 11, 2010

March 26, 2010

March 15, 2010

November 3, 2009

July 1, 2009

June 26, 2002

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Get Involved

The MPRB convened the first Citizen Advisory Committee in January 2010 to provide public input into capital improvements in Theodore Wirth Lake Area of Theodore Wirth Regional Park. Members of the Citizen Advisory Committee are residents of Minneapolis and Golden Valley and represent a range of interests related to Theodore Wirth Park. CAC members are responsible for bring concerns forward from, and reporting back to, their respective constituencies.

This process resulted in an approved concept plan for the Wirth Lake Area of the park in July 2010 and prioritized current and future funding. Implementation projects in the park called Wirth Lake Phase III and rehabilitation of the Wirth Picnic Pavilion have been substantially completed.

In the fall of 2010, the CAC was re-convened to complete an overall master plan of the park and to prioritize funding for park improvements. A Concept Master Plan was approved in July 2012, and the full version of the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan is open for comment from until December 15, 2014. Regular quarterly updates on progress on implementation of the master plan will be posted by staff.

For more details on the CAC:
Wirth Park Citizen Advisory Committee (Full Park) re-convened, 2010-12
Wirth Park Phase III Citizen Advisory Committee (Wirth Lake Area) 2010

Reports, Plans, Maps

Board Actions

  • July 11, 2012 - Park Board approved the Theodore Wirth Park Concept Plan and priorities for funding recommended by the Citizen's Advisory Committee
  • February 15, 2011 Board authorized position on Bottineau LRT
  • October 20, 2010 Resolution to Reconvene the Wirth Beach Phase III CAC
  • March 3, 2010 Retaining Sanders Wacker Bergly for design services for Wirth Beach Phase III improvements

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The largest regional park in the Minneapolis Park System, Theodore Wirth Regional Park has 720 acres of land which offers year round recreational activities and access to extensive natural resources. Improvements to the park occur regularly, but major renewal of the Wirth Lake Area began in 2002. Recommendations from several Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) have guided these improvements.

In 2010, a second extensive community engagement process led to the creation of a concept design and prioritization of elements for the Wirth Lake Area. In the fall of 2010 the CAC was reconvened to work through a full master plan update for the park. This plan will guide investment in the whole park over the next twenty years. The concept plan for the park was approved by the MPRB Board in July 2012. MPRB staff prepared a draft master plan document for the park based on the concept plan. The draft master plan is available for public review and comment October 15 through December 15, 2014.

Phase I and II - Wirth Beach CAC (2008)

Phase III - The Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) Approved Wirth Lake Concept Plan | Phase III CAC Proceedings


Recent and future improvements have been made possible thanks to grants from the Parks and Trails fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008 and the Metropolitan Council among other sources.

Park History

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