The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) is taking 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 MPRB will lead a preliminary park design study, organized as a multi-day community design event, or charrette, to engage the public in envisioning the future of the area.
The charrette will open with a public visioning session on Tuesday, October 9 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at MoZaic, 1350 Lagoon Ave. The design team will share its community analysis and hear from the community about ideas, values, and issues that should be considered in design concepts. On Saturday, October 13, between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m., also at MoZaic, the community will have the opportunity to review and comment on preliminary design options prepared by the design team over the intervening three days. Those planning to attend the visioning session and/or open house are encouraged to visit the area prior to the meetings. Please note the walking tour of the study area, tentatively planned for Saturday October 6, will not take place.
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. These changes include
• 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
• Private redevelopment bringing ever greater urban density to the park edge
Each of these factors 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.
After the charrette, the resulting design concepts, community feedback and recommendations will be packaged into a report for presentation to the MPRB commissioners and communication to the community. The results will form the basis for more detailed design, community engagement and, ultimately, capital improvements in the study area.
A design charrette is an intensive, multi-day creative session intended to generate alternative approaches to a design problem. It is a way to connect a professional design team with the community in a real-time learning and creative process.
The October 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.
The public visioning session and open house, with great views of the study area, will be held on the 9th floor of MoZaic office building located in Uptown at 1350 Lagoon Ave S, behind the Lagoon Theater, Williams Pub, and the Original Walker Library. Parking is available either in the ramp (entrance at Girard) or in the surface lot off Fremont.
To subscribe to updates on this and other Park Board projects click here. For further information, visit the North Calhoun, South Lake of the Isles project page on the MPRB website.