Park Board to Study Improved Vision for North Calhoun/South Lake of the Isles Area
We have seen significant changes in the park area between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles since the last Park Master Plan for the area in 1997. The Tin Fish and the Midtown Greenway are now popular. Bike-ped circulation through these areas is congested and at times confusing. In addition, the area north of Lake Street is neglected as part of a 6-lane thoroughfare. It is likely that a large residential project will be built on the vacant land at Lake Street and Thomas Ave. S., perhaps in 2014. The Metropolitan Council has removed many trees in the area as a result of the sewer project, which are scheduled for replacement.
The Park Board believes that now is the time to take a fresh look at plans for this area with four principles in mind:
1) Respect current uses such as the dog park, sailing, athletic fields, dining, biking, etc.
2) Solve problems such as bike/ped circulation around the Tin Fish and East Lake of the Isles Parkway near the Midtown Greenway
3) Envision a positive relationship between parkland and likely real estate development at Thomas Ave.
4) Reweave the landscape so that there is a more aesthetic and coherent park area between the two lakes, perhaps envisioning Lake Street as a parkway rather than a highway.
Much like recent charettes, a creative design team will work with the Park Board and stakeholders. The community will participate in a 2-3 day charrette process to identify core values and evaluate alternatives. Once the charrette is complete, the Park Board and consultants would package outcomes and community feedback as well as develop core strategic objectives for review by the community and the Park Board. We expect that the charrette will take place in October with recommendations and Park Board action considered during the following month or two.
CIDNA has a keen interest in the study for the following reasons:
1) Residents frequently use these areas.
2) A new north-south bike-ped trail crossing the Midtown Greenway and Lake Street may be considered. (One possible route is between the soccer field and dog park.)
3) The visioning process may help to shape design of the Lake Street/Thomas real estate project. (It does not appear that the Park Board study will address issues of zoning, density, and building design because the City has legal jurisdiction over these issues.)
4) In addition to the park areas on the eastern side of the neighborhood, CIDNA may want to weigh in on issues related to Dean Green and north west Calhoun.
We will announce dates of the charrette, Park Board contacts, and next steps in the near future. For comments and questions, please contact Bob Corrick, Chair of the CIDNA Land Use and Development Committee at email@example.com. This is a great opportunity for the community to improve this important area in our park system.