Just in time for warmer weather and the end of school, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will host a grand opening to mark the reopening of Wirth Beach and completion of the many new features around the lake on Saturday, June 9 from 10:30 a.m.–noon, with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.
The community celebration will offer activities for all ages, including face-painting, water play, volleyball and orienteering led by the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation. Food and refreshments will be served and lifeguards will be on duty at 11 a.m.
"I am thrilled that the community will finally be able to enjoy the improvements made to Wirth Beach and the surrounding area," said Anita Tabb, Park District 4 Commissioner. "It will be great to see families once again swimming, picnicking, fishing and using all the great amenities that the Wirth Lake and Wirth Park has to offer."
Improvements to Wirth Beach Area include a new 280-foot long beach boardwalk that wraps around the swim area, playgrounds, sand volleyball courts and parking lot. A new boardwalk along the north end of Wirth Lake completes a trail loop around the lake, while a restored wetland and other enhancements will improve the lake’s water quality.
"The Wirth Beach renovations were a greatly collaborative effort," said Jon Olson, Park District 2 Commissioner. "Minneapolis neighborhood associations, members of the Wirth Community Advisory Committee, the city of Golden Valley and many other individuals and groups all helped make the beach renovation a priority for the community. We thank them for all their hard work."
Improvements to Wirth Beach began in 2006 with the Wirth Lake Beach House renovation. Much of the subsequent work was completed last year, but the May 2011 tornado destroyed the newly installed floating dock, creating safety concerns and causing the beach to remain closed for the 2011 summer season. The swim dock was rebuilt last fall.
"It's been exciting to see the new use of this great park," said Commissioner Tabb. "We expect the beach improvements to really boost use and enjoyment of the lake."
According to Tabb and Olson, the success with the beach area spurred ongoing work of the Wirth Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to consider improvements for the entire park.
At 759 acres, Theodore Wirth Park is the largest park within the Minneapolis Park System. The CAC, which was formed to look at options for the Wirth Lake Area, was reconvened in October 2010 to consider other park needs such as winter recreation / active sports facilities, operations facility consolidation, Wirth Chalet revitalization (including consideration of a restaurant), picnic pavilion rehabilitation, and trail and parkway upgrades.
The 19-member CAC was appointed by Park Board commissioners, other government agencies, and community groups. Members represent a wide range of park user groups and include three appointments by the Youth Coordinating Board. The CAC has identified key needs for the park, engaged park users and area residents, and developed design statements and developed program ideas for areas of the park.
Wirth Park is well known for its year round recreational activities and natural resources. The park is located west of Downtown Minneapolis, off of Highway 55, and features a sampling of practically everything in the Minneapolis Park System. In addition to the beach area, Wirth Park is home to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, a championship 18-hole golf course, par 3 golf course, a reservable indoor picnic pavilion, and trails for walking, biking and off-road biking. The Wirth Winter Recreation Area features lighted cross-country skiing, a snowboard park and a tubing area. The signature Swiss chalet-style clubhouse is used year round and its popular Wirth Fireplace Room is a favorite for parties, receptions and corporate meetings.
Wirth Beach is located at 3200 Glenwood Ave. N, Minneapolis, MN 55422. For details about the park, visit www.minneapolisparks.org.