What is the MPRB Proposing for
Hiawatha Golf Course?
Part 3 - These Amenities are Better?
Let's build another restaurant!
The MPRB says: They did a lengthy comparison of the people metro-wide and in the Calhoun/Harriet neighborhoods with the Nokomis/Hiawatha neighborhoods to, apparently, determine whether an expanded restaurant facility would be more desirable to the people in the Nokomis/Hiawatha neighborhoods. They note that there are differences in the neighborhoods. p.28
Our Concerns: It is unclear what the purpose or conclusions are with this analysis. The MPRB seems to be saying that, since their restaurants in other areas are successful, an expanded restaurant/banquet facility on the golf course property will also be desirable and successful. Is it a valid comparison to compare the draw of a golf course to from all over the metro, not just the immediate neighborhood.
The MPRB says: For both Alternative A and Alternative B, there will be "reconstruction of the clubhouse to include a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and banquet/flex space." Also, there will be "construction of a flexible interior space for events and gatherings in the central area of the park." p. 33, 37
Our Concerns: It is unclear how large the facility will become. The current property on the knoll is not very large. With an expanded building and parking lot, will this area be large enough to accommodate these plans? Also, we are concerned about the effects of the increased traffic to the neighborhood (see 'Increased Traffic and Parking' later in this document.)
Our Concerns: It is also unclear how large the flexible interior space will be and where it will be constructed. It is stated that it will be in the "central area of the park." Is it part of the main building? Or, is it on the golf course. If it is on the golf course, this is of concern since the lower (golf course) property is questionable for construction of any building due to its high water table. Any structure would require pilings and/or fill. And, it is likely to get flooded.
New amenities on a swamp!
The MPRB Says - On the north end of the property, the MPRB proposes building 1 large reservable pavilion and 3 smaller picnic shelters (3,600 sq ft total) that could be reserved. These buildings would have seasonal restrooms, gathering areas, and open spaces. The maximum capacity would be 174 people. p. 33, 49
Our Concerns: Parts of the north area of the golf course are not very accessible from 43rd Street due to the high elevation of the street compared to the golf course. Also, this elevation difference would seem to cause logistical problems for any sewer hook-up for the seasonal bathrooms, as the nearest sanitary sewer pipes are 20-30 feet above the golf course in a large portion of this property.
Our Concerns: The Alternative B diagram shows almost no usable property for buildings in the northwest portion of the property that is not taken up by water or native vegitation. So, it doesn't even seem possible to build a structure there. On the northeast side of the property, much of the property not taken up by wetland or native vegitation is very low, and subject to flooding. So, any structures would likely need pilings and/or fill.
The MPRB Says - On the south end of the property, the MPRB proposes building a minimally-developed festival ground . This would include a pavilion and turf/pollinators with concrete pads for portapotties and electrical hook-ups. The maximum capacity would be 1300 people. p. 33, 37
Our Concerns: Putting a pavilion on this property, assuming a concrete base, would likely require pilings and/or fill. Building in this place would seem to be very suspect due to the highly saturated ground in this area of the park. This area was heavily flooded in 2014. As far as turf/pollinators, this can be done on the 18-hole golf course.
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept includes "a [boat] launch and 6 private storage racks along with canoe/kayak rentals." p. 33, 37
Our Concerns: This currently exists at Lake Nokomis. If it is desired at Lake Hiawatha, it could easily be provided on the east side of the lake near the community building. On the golf course property, you would be building structures on swampy ground at risk of flooding. With this risk, would the city be taking the risk for any damage to stored private canoes of patrons?
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept includes "incorporation of a fishing pier." p. 37
Our Concerns: There is already one on the east side of Lake Hiawatha that has been there for decades. What is the reasoning or necessity for building another one on the west side of the lake? p.37
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept includes "construction of paved hiking and biking trails that will create a full connection around Lake Hiawatha and the park area; it may include boardwalk-style trails through the wetland areas." p.33, 37
Our Concerns: Residents have walked around Lake Hiawatha on existing sidwalks for decades. The golf course does not create an impediment to doing this. In fact, over the years, the neighborhood kids have made money from the golfers, selling kool-aid and golf balls on the perimeter of the golf course. Also, creation of trails through the new wetland areas seems like a questionable expense on a swamp, especially based on seeing the current, uncontrolled expansion of the wetlands at Lake Nokomis.
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept will perform "restoration of approximately half the upland area to incorporate pollinator/native restorations." p. 37
Our Concerns: This type of restoration is currently done on golf courses, and can be done on a greater scale on Hiawatha Golf Course. Audubon Certification for Golf Courses requires plans that do this. Four of the five Minneapolis 18-Hole Golf Courses have Audubon Certification. Hiawatha Golf Course does not. Why? p.37
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept includes "open water and wetlands restorations in the lowest parts of the park that will fluctuate with the flows in Minnehaha Creek and Lake Hiawatha." "Turf grass would not be the predominent land cover, covering only 16% of the site." p. 17, 37
How do you have room for all of the proposed activities when only 16% of the site is grass? And, all of this new water will likely flood homes around the property when these levels get too high as is happening at Lake Nokomis!
The MPRB says: The Alternative B concept includes continued winter uses "including walking, cross country skiing, natural ice skating, sledding." p. 37
Walking and cross country skiing are available on the golf course now. And, the reduction in non-wetland area would reduce the amount of suitable area for cross-country skiing, making the property less desirable for this activity. Natural ice skating is questionable since shallow water on a swamp, with moving water underneath, are not likely to freeze to a safe level for most of the winter. Also, most skaters today are used to prepared ice, not natural ice (which is bumpy and hard to skate on). Regarding sledding, there are very few hills on this property that are useful for sledding. Those that are, are already used for that purpose.
Increased Traffic and Parking!
The MPRB Says: THE CLUBHOUSE & FLEX SPACE. The peak capacity for the clubhouse and proposed flexible space is 600 users. Ordinance says that the facility would need off street parking for 30% capacity for clubhouse and 10% for flexible space, or 150 stalls. The MPRB recommends that the parking lot should handle 30% for both, or 180 stalls. For Alternative A, the MPRB recommended 225 parking lot spaces. This will almost double the size of the current parking lot, from 46,500 square feet to 86,500 square feet. They need this increase because they estimate that there will be an average INCREASE of 84 vehicles per day to this part of the property. pp. 48, 49
Our Concerns - Is there enough land on this knoll to accommodate a much larger building and an expanded parking lot? Will there need to be reconstruction of this knoll to increase the size of this property to accommodate these expanded amenities?
The MPRB Says: On-Street Parking. The MPRB estimates that there are "330 on-street parking places within 0.25 miles, but not including Cedar ave and west. These estimates have not been reduced to reflect the on-street parking utilized by local residents." Parking lot overflow from the facility would be to on-street parking (which could be 450 users). And, during peak periods, police flaggers may be needed for large gatherings. p. 42, 48, 49
Our Concerns - The assumption that the near neighborhood streets are going to be able to handle the overflow parking for 450 people is not reasonable. The MPRB is assuming that all of the vehicles will be accomodated by Longfellow ave , 45th street and 47th street only. Longfellow Avenue is a fairly busy street for a side street, and has traffic that is circumventing Cedar Avenue. 45th street almost always has all parking spots filled by residents. 47th Street is largely filled with patrons of Carbone's restaurant. The west side of Longfellow Avenue is, probably, 1/4 to 1/3 filled with cars of residents. So, you won't need flaggers to handle the traffic; you will need a parking ramp. This neighborhood cannot handle this level of traffic.
The MPRB Says: NORTH END. For the proposed 3-4 picnic shelters/pavilion on the north end of the golf course, the MPRB needs to accommodate a peak of 174 users (or 21 vehicles per day). To do this, the MPRB proposes 2 new parking lots of 30 stalls each (23,000 square feet of new pavements/permeable pavers area) on the golf course to accommodate a little over 30% of capacity for these areas. One lot would be at 21st Ave. S and E. 43rd street, and one at 23rd Ave. S. and E. 43rd street. But, "the picnic pavilions in the North Area of the park was assumed to be Park," so no minimum off-street requirement is required by city ordinance. pp. 46, 47, 48, 49
The MPRB Says: SOUTH END. For the proposed minimally developed festival grounds on the south end of the golf course, the MPRB needs to accommodate a peak of 1,300 users. To do this, the MPRB proposes 2 new parking lots of 80 stalls each (62,000 square feet of new pavements/permeable pavers area) on the golf course property. Also, additional bicycle parking will be installed. They estimate an increase in traffic of 22 vehicles per day. p. 48, 49
Our Concerns: This area of the golf course is very low. It flooded in 2014 along with Minnehaha Parkway due to its proximity to Minnehaha Creek. Putting in 2 huge parking lots in this area seems very questionable. What will prevent these parking lots from shifting and sinking? These parking lots will be creating more flow of water INTO the creek, instead of allowing for property that will absorb the flood waters from Minnehaha Creek. Plus, when there is an event with 1,300 users, you will certainly have more than 22 vehicles per day in this area. On the narrow Minnehaha Parkway, this could be a real mess, especially at Cedar Avenue which can back up on a normal day.
Users! Users! Users! How many are there, really!
The MPRB Says: They estimate that Alternative A (18-hole golf course) will average 211,000 users per year. Alternative B will average 525,000 users year. p. 32, 37-40
The MPRB Says: To estimate users of the general parkland, the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan indicates that there are 1.5 million annual users for the regional park (not including the Hiawatha Golf Course area). This translates to approximately 2,300 annual users per acre. The MPRB uses a number of 2,300 users per acre to calculate their user numbers for non-golf activites in Alternative A (10,000 users) and user numbers for the general park in Alternative B (355,800 users). p. 32, 37-40
Our Concerns: . We believe that the numbers for Alternative B may be inflated for the following reasons. For general park use in Alternative B, the MPRB estimates 335,800 users in the spring, summer and fall, and 20,00 users in the winter.
The MPRB Says: Estimated users to the restaurant and banquet facility would be 125,000 and 20,800 visits per year. The restaurant would have 342 people per day and the banquet facility woul have 400 people per event with one event per week. So, one day each week there would be 732 (342+400) people visiting this facility. p. 37-40
Our Concerns: Can this neighborhood handle this type of traffic and parking? If you estimate 2.5 people per car, you could have 300 cars there in one day.
The MPRB Says: Estimated users to the flexible interior space would be rented twice per week for the year. A total of 15,600 people per year would mean 300 people per week, or 150 people per event at this space. p. 37-40
Our Concerns: Can this neighborhood handle this type of traffic and parking? According to the plan for Alternative B, these people will also use the restaurant parking and the neighborhood streets. Again, at 2.5 people per car, this could add 60 more cars to the neighborhood whenever an event is held.
The MPRB Says: Estimated users to the picnic pavilions on the north end is based on renting the facilities to full capacity once per week for 13 weeks, for a total of 1,350 users per year. p. 37-40
Our Concerns: Where will the off-street parking be, since one of the proposed parking lots is not practical? The users will, most likely, park on the city streets.
The MPRB Says: Estimated users to the festival grounds on the south end is based on renting the facility 4 times per year to full capacity, which is 5,200 people per year, or 1,300 people per event. p. 37-40
Our Concerns: If the proposed 160 parking spaces are not viable because the land is questionable for building, there will be not be any place for most of these people to park.