Hiawatha Golf Statement issued to clarify efforts and October 4 resolution to continue operating 18-hole golf course until new master plan for property is adopted and implementation begins

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has been working diligently to address the recreational impacts and environmental concerns related to the volume of groundwater being pumped at the Hiawatha Golf Course since it was discovered following the June 2014 flooding. The MPRB held nine public meetings held between January 2015 and July 2017, where MPRB and City of Minneapolis staff shared critical information and listened to community ideas and concerns. The MPRB also collected community input through an online survey.

In August, MPRB Commissioners approved a resolution directing MPRB staff to apply for a permit from the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that conforms to a reduced pumping scenario and directs staff to begin a public process to amend the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan to accommodate changes to the park made necessary by the reduced groundwater pumping scenario. No date or timeline to conclude this work was included in the resolution. However, it was suggested that the depth and breadth of community engagement work necessary to amend the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan should allow the golf course to continue operating through at least the 2019 golf season.

On September 19, to address public concerns and correct misinformation that the pumping would stop and the Hiawatha 18-hole golf course would be closed before changes to the park were made, MPRB Commissioners discussed modifying the language of the August Resolution to better clarify their desire to continue pumping groundwater at the current level and to keep the golf course open until a new master plan for the park is adopted and changes to the park property are underway. No date or timeline was included in the language modification, which was tabled until the Oct. 4 board meeting.

At its October 4 meeting, the MPRB Board of Commissioners approved Resolution 2017-243, which directed MPRB staff work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to obtain a Groundwater Appropriations Permit to allow groundwater pumping at the current volume until a master plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course property is adopted by the MPRB Board of Commissioners and until any changes to the property made necessary by the adopted master plan are implemented. It also directs staff to continue to operate Hiawatha Golf Course as an 18-hole golf course until a new master plan for the property is adopted and implementation begins that addresses issues around excessive pumping identified by the MnDNR.

While discussions continue, the MPRB continues to respond to community concerns and work collaboratively with the MN DNR, City of Minneapolis, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and state and local officials.

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