Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan Facts and Misconceptions: Master Planning Process

A recap of how we got into the master planning process and where it currently stands

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has spent a great deal of time studying conditions at Hiawatha Golf Course as part of an effort to create a sustainable plan for the course following catastrophic flooding in 2014.

Conditions related to groundwater are complex, so as work on the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan continues, it’s important to take a step back and review basic facts informing the work of the MPRB and the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan Community Advisory Committee.

Residents engage with Park Board employees over the Hiawatha Master Plan

People left notes on different concepts created for the Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan at an open house event on March 18, 2019

Leading up to the Master Plan

June 2014: More than 11 inches of rain falls on Hiawatha Golf Course, causing $1.5 million in damage. The event elevates the necessity for a future flood resiliency plan.

September 2015: During the flood resiliency planning effort, the MPRB discovers it’s pumping groundwater without a permit issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

2016-17: This discovery puts the flood resiliency planning on hold and triggers an intensive groundwater and stormwater study for the area, which was completed in 2017.

Master Plan History

March 2018: The MPRB begins developing a master plan for the golf course property aimed at balancing water management and recreational use. The master plan is informed by a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of park users and stakeholders who will ultimately recommend a design to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners (Board).

July 2018: The Board clarifies the parameters of the master plan:

  • It must pursue a reduced pumping scenario as conceptualized in Alternative B of the Water Management Alternatives Assessment.
  • Bring forward a solution that includes, at a minimum, a flood-resilient and ecologically-driven nine-hole configuration for traditional golf.
  • Reflect appropriate methods of recognizing the role of Hiawatha Golf Course and the history of black golfers in the Minneapolis park system.

March 2019: Three initial concept alternatives created for the Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan debut at a CAC meeting and online for public feedback.

June 2019: The CAC begins narrowing down its recommendations for one preferred design.

How is the Master Plan funded?

  • The Master Plan and related water studies are funded through the MPRB Enterprise Fund, not the Hiawatha Golf Course budget.
  • The Enterprise Fund is comprised of profits from the MPRB’s revenue-generating operations (parking fees, golf, ice arenas, food vendors like Sandcastle, recreation rentals like Wheel Fun at Bde Maka Ska and Minnehaha Park).
  • This is separate from the General Fund, which is funded by taxes.


Current Project: Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan project page

Water Study: Hiawatha Golf Course Groundwater/Stormwater Pumping Assessment project page