Project Location

Hiawatha Golf Club
4553 Longfellow Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Project Manager

Tyler Pederson

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Language Resources

Correo Electró


Current Phase: Pre-design

What's New

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June 20, 2018 – The June 6th Committee item for master planning and design work at Hiawatha Golf Course move to the Full Board of Commissioners and approved.

June 6, 2018 – Staff recommends the Barr Engineering team to the MPRB Administration and Finance Committee for master planning and design work at Hiawatha Golf Course.

April 30, 2018, CAC Meeting #2 – Discussion of findings from previous groundwater study, comments from the CAC and the public in attendance, and discussion of how the CAC would like to move the project forward.  CAC requests the MPRB to consider all uses related to both pumping scenarios.

April 19, 2018 – Two design teams were interviewed, Barr Engineering/Berger Partnership, and PORT.

March 30, 2018, CAC Meeting #1 – Introductions were made by the CAC chair and CAC members, and a presentation of what a master plan is and the CAC’s role in the master planning process was made.

March 26, 2018 – Proposals were submitted by three leading design teams, HGA, Barr Engineering/Berger Partnership, and PORT. 

February 26, 2018 – RFP for master planning work is advertised.

November 29, 2017 -  Board of Commissioners approves the formation and authorization of an appointed Community Advisory Committee for the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan.

October 4, 2017 - Board of Commissioners approves resolution clarifying that 18-hole golf course will remain open until new master plan is adopted and implementation begins (link to resolution 2017-243)

For previous Hiawatha-related project milestones please see the Hiawatha Golf Course Improvements project timeline

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Past Meetings

April 30, 2018 - CAC Meeting #2 Summary

March 28, 2018 - CAC Meeting #1 Summary

Upcoming Meetings

Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan CAC Meeting #3

Wed, Oct 10, 2018 6:00pm-8:00pm @ Pearl Recreation Center Gym
The goal for the third CAC meeting will be to begin establishing a vision for the golf course property.


Park History

Hiawatha Golf Club History [PDF]

Project History

In 2014, the City of Minneapolis completed a study at Hiawatha Golf Course to answer stormwater questions related to flooding experienced in July 2013. The study assessed the capacity of the golf course pumps to pump stormwater. During the study, the City discovered the pumps were pumping large quantities of stormwater and groundwater. The distinction between stormwater and groundwater is very important to understand and will play a significant role in the future of the golf course property. While the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permitted pumping at the golf course for several years from the ponds on the course, for irrigation purposes, the actual amount pumped annually was unknown.

On September 11, 2015 the MPRB was made aware that it was pumping not only stormwater, but groundwater from Hiawatha Golf Course into Lake Hiawatha at a rate in excess of 250 million gallons annually. This information was shared with the public at a meeting only a few days later on September 15, 2015. The Board of Commissioners in cooperation with the City of Minneapolis engaged an engineering team to provide assessments of the conditions related to pumping. These initial investigations, Phase One, performed by the engineering team resulted in an understanding of the conditions related to pumping from a series of ponds on the golf course property into Lake Hiawatha. It was determined that approximately 263,000,000 gallons of shallow groundwater is pumped into Lake Hiawatha from Hiawatha Golf Course annually. The initial investigatory effort defined the sources and quantities of water being pumped and incorporated additional analysis to enhance MPRB’s understanding of the findings. It was not intended to suggest directions for changing the current pumping practices.

Importantly, the Phase One engineering work included a projection of conditions on the golf course and potential impacts on nearby private properties should pumping stop. This information was shared during meetings with the golf course neighbors on June 13, 2016 and with the public on June 14, 2016.  Further investigations were conducted with the results shared with the public on November 29, 2016. The City of Minneapolis and the MPRB continued working with the engineering team to broaden the understanding of conditions related to Lake Hiawatha, the current pumping, and nearby private properties through February of 2017.  This concluded Phase One of the stormwater and groundwater study and laid the baseline data for Phase Two.  

This project is significant to the MPRB because of the potential impacts on the golf course and golf play, as well as the ecological implications of pumping the measured and projected volumes of groundwater.  Phase Two delivered a range of alternatives for pumping regimes, each associated with cost estimates, regulatory considerations, and implementation framework. It is important to know that the products of Phase Two are water management alternatives only, not master plan concepts.  Water management alternatives are only a guide to what is feasible on the site, whereas a master plan fully incorporates many other factors to create a final product which can be used to implement changes to the property.  MPRB staff, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District staff, and City of Minneapolis staff together chose two of the Phase Two water management alternatives for further development:  

  • Alternative A maintains the current pumping rates, maintains the 18-hole golf course, protects nearby basements, reduces flooding in the watershed to the north, allows for trash mitigation, and negligibly increases water quality treatment.  
  • Alternative B eliminates the need for stormwater pumping and reduces groundwater pumping, protects nearby basements, reduces flooding in the watershed to the north, changes recreational use of the land and provides an opportunity to restore ecological function and develop habitat, allows for trash mitigation, maximizes opportunity for water quality treatment (about 5 times the phosphorus removal compared to today), and allows for the realignment of Minnehaha Creek to its historic character.

After considering the two alternatives and the multiple facets of each, staff presented Alternative B to the Planning Committee on July 19, 2017 as the preferred Water Management Alternative upon which the Master Plan would be based.  Alternative B is supported by MPRB staff, the City of Minneapolis and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.  Resolution 2017-243 was adopted unanimously by the Committee that same night.  The Resolution then went before the Full Board on August 9, 2017. The resolution title was read aloud: “Resolution Directing Staff to Apply for a Groundwater Appropriations Permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conforming to a Reduced Groundwater Pumping Scenario and Further Directing Staff to Organize a Process of Amending the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan to Accommodate Changes to the Hiawatha Golf Course Property Made Necessary by the Reduced Groundwater Pumping Scenario.”  An amendment was made that inserted a resolved statement that directs “staff to bring forward to the Board of Commissioners, no later than October 18, 2017, a process to evaluate future alternative uses on the Hiawatha Golf Course property through a Community Advisory Committee that includes strong consideration for traditional golf in some form on the property.” The amendment passed unanimously, and the amended resolution passed 6 to 3.  MPRB staff started the process for engaging a consultant and moving towards restarting the master planning effort.

After a meeting with the DNR, and State and County elected officials, Superintendent Miller thought it necessary to further clarify Resolution 2017-243 at the October 4, 2017 meeting.  She stated three objectives of the process during the discussion period of the motion:  1) Apply for temporary permit to pump at current rates and operate the property as a golf course; 2) Submit a safety plan to the DNR; and 3) Layout a process for developing alternatives for the site;  Superintendent Miller went on to further reinforce that the MPRB recognizes the flooding issues and that we need to hold off on a reduction of pumping until we have a community engaged solution at which time would then apply for a reduced pumping permit.  The amended Resolution 2017-243 was adopted 6 to 1.  

Also, during the October 4, 2017 meeting, the process to evaluate future alternative uses on the Hiawatha Golf Course property through a Community Advisory Committee that includes strong consideration for traditional golf in some form, was submitted to the Board as a Petition and Communication.  It laid out the scope of the project and the intent of the master plan.  It was also the building blocks for the Request for Proposals (RFP) from professional master planning and engineering consultants.

Videos of the July 19, August 9, and October 4, 2017 meetings are available below:

The Master Plan’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) kicked off early in the master planning process to help clarify some misconceptions and rumors, and to make sure there is a consensus to a path which the master plan will follow, prior to hiring a consultant team.  The first CAC meeting was held on March 28, 2018 and intended to introduce the CAC to each other and to get to know the process of master planning. 

The CAC held its second meeting on April 30, 2018 to discuss the findings to date and to develop a path forward.  A robust discussion took place among the CAC and the general public regarding the Water Management Alternatives and what clarifications are further needed for Resolution 2017-243.  The CAC decided that a vote was needed, and a motion was moved by a CAC member.  The motion was: the Hiawatha Golf Course Community Advisory Committee is requesting the Board of Commissioners to respectfully clarify the existing Resolution 2017-243 to include the exploration of all uses related to a reduced pumping scenario and for all uses related to a circumstance that would perpetuate the current pumping situation.  The motion passed 9 to 6.  MPRB staff have agreed to bring forth a discussion item to the Board to determine whether a second amendment to Resolution 2017-243 is warranted.   

The fundamental notion of the request by the CAC is to broaden the scope of the master planning process to base the master plan on multiple water management alternatives rather than only a reduced pumping water management alternative.  This effectively allows for the CAC and MPRB to potentially produce a master plan that saves the 18-hole golf course and does not reduce pumping.

The MPRB Commissioners will be reviewing the findings to date and after will schedule a discussion item.