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 [PDF] - Wirth Beach CAC (2008)
Phase III - CAC Approved Wirth Lake Concept Plan [PDF]
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.
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 [PDF]. 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.