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North Lake Calhoun / South Lake of the Isles Charrette
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North Lake Calhoun / South Lake of the Isles Charrette
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North Lake Calhoun / South Lake of the Isles Charrette


The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) recently led a preliminary park design study which took a fresh look at the landscape between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. Popular destinations in the area have led in recent years to steadily increasing congestion with accompanying safety concerns. The study is organized as a multi-day community design event, or charrette, that engages the public in envisioning the future of the area.

The MPRB has earmarked $3.7 million (2015-2016) for improvements to the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which includes this area. The current master plan for the Chain of Lakes was completed in 1997. As happens with all master plans, the circumstances upon which the plan was based have evolved since its completion. Within the Chain of Lakes, changing circumstances are having the greatest impacts in the area between the north shore of Lake Calhoun and the south shore of Lake of the Isles, including  

  • The Tin Fish becoming a popular restaurant destination
  • The Midtown Greenway carrying hundreds of thousands of cyclists each year
  • The Calhoun Sailing School growing to be the largest between the coasts
  • Wheel Fun outgrowing their space next to the Tin Fish
  • Private redevelopment bringing ever greater urban density to the park edge

Each of these factors has contributed to a new area norm, which is putting significant pressure on the safety and enjoyment of the park but also opens exciting opportunities to reimagine the landscape’s place in the life of the city.

Project Phase/Closures of Park Facilities
Recent Activity
Contact Information
Community Engagement Results

Project Phase/ Closures of Park Facilities

Project Phase: Master Planning. 

Recent Activity





Master Planning

Public Open House


Master Planning

Design Team working sessions

10/9/12 Master Planning Visioning Session


Master Planning

Public invited to weigh in on vision or North Lake Calhoun, South Lake of the Isles


Master Planning

Study Report to Planning Committee of the Board

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Contact Information
Contact Deborah Bartels, Project Manager, Planning at or 612-230-6438.

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Community Engagement

The North Lake Calhoun / South Lake of the Isles Design Charrette will occur October 9 to 13. There will be two public events as part of the charrette. They both will be held on the 9th floor of the MoZaic building, affording great views of the study area.

Public Visioning Open House
Date: October 9
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location:  MoZaic, 1350 Lagoon Avenue, 9th floor

Intent: Share with the community analysis of the study area conducted by the design team; hear from the community about ideas, values and issues that should be considered in design concepts. (No design concepts will have been prepared at this point in the process.)

Public Concept-Review Open House
Date: October 13
Time: 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  MoZaic, 1350 Lagoon Avenue, 9th floor
Intent: Provide the community the opportunity to view and offer feedback on preliminary design options prepared by the design team over the preceding three days.

About the charrette
A design charrette is an intensive, creative session intended to generate alternative approaches to a design problem. It is a way to connect a professional design team with key stakeholders and the community in a real-time learning and creative process.
The charrette will abide by four primary principles: 

  • Respect current uses
  • Solve problems (such as use conflicts and circulation and safety issues)
  • Envision a positive inter-relationship between park and development 
  • Re-weave the landscape

After the charrette, the resulting design concepts, community feedback and recommendations will be packaged into a report for presentation to the Park Board of Commissioners and communication to the community. The results will form the basis for more detailed design and, ultimately, capital improvements in the study area. Several formal actions will likely result from the process that the Park Board of Commissioners would be asked to consider. Project priorities and implementation steps will be identified.

Comments may be sent to Deborah Bartels at or Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55411.

Community Engagement Results

The North Lake Calhoun / South Lake of the Isles Design Charrette produced many ideas, drawings and comments. Below are sets of drawings that were created for the public meetings. 

Purpose Board
This board explains the reason for having the Charrette and the format for the public meeting.

History Boards and 1997 Master Plan
The MPRB has a rich history in this area dating back to the mid-19th century.  It is important to capture the history of the area and bring value and definition to future plans.  These boards lay out the history of the north Calhoun, south Isles area in the form of photographs, artistic renderings, aerial photographs, and plan drawings.  Here are the History Boards.

Demographics and Usage Boards
TheDemographics and Usage boards for the area are vital in providing appropriate design elements.

Inventory Boards
Inventories of the site have been conducted and represented in these maps.  The importance of knowing what lies within the site is required to have a greater grasp on what is actually there. This is what is physically on the site.

Analysis Boards
Conducting an accurate analysis of the study area tells us many important things.  The internal and external influences upon the site are great factors for the future designs. This is also a way to engage the public and gather further analyses from them.

Charrette Design Drawings
Over the course of the three design days of the charrette, the Park Board and its consultant, LHB, brainstormed and drew up many, many drawings.  These ideas ranged from small to gigantic.  No idea was left off the table, some of them unrealistic, some of them more realistic.  The notion was to bring forth any idea, better establishing the basis for a really great idea.

Digitized Comments
All the comments that were received during both of the open houses were scanned and also entered into a text document for safe keeping. The comments that were placed on the drawings or analysis boards were scanned in place to ensure understanding. 

  1. Values, Concerns, and Ideas
    Three big blank boards as well as a big aerial photo were displayed to help people relate their values, concerns, and ideas.
  2. Analysis Board Comments
    These comments were placed on the analysis boards and were meant to gather a better understanding of the study area from area users.

    NE Analysis Comments

    SE Analysis Comments

    W Analysis Comments

  3. General Comments Sheets
    The public that attended the meetings had a chance to fill out comment sheets. These are their comments.

  4. Charrette Design Drawing Comments
    The public had a chance to comment directly on the charrette design drawings. These comments will further guide the designs and the future of this area.
  5. Emailed Comments
    These comments were submitted to the design team from the public.

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Water Quality Report 2011 Chapter 4, page 39 and chapter 10, page 107

Park History p. 95 and 115

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