A new name for Lake Calhoun, trail improvements and an ambitious parklike bridge are among the options the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will weigh in deciding the next 25 years of improvements around lakes Calhoun and Harriet.
The list, generated by an advisory panel of citizens, includes $95 million worth of projects.
“We don’t have enough money to do all these things,” Michael Schroeder, an assistant park superintendent, cautioned the group at its final meeting.
The most expensive suggestion? A proposal to bridge part of W. Lake Street with parkland to connect Calhoun and neighboring Lake of the Isles. A preliminary cost estimate is $37 million.
Two other suggestions have proved controversial in the past: closing a portion of the parkway southeast of Lake Harriet to motorized use and restoring the Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska, in place of Calhoun.
Less flashy ideas would aim at improving lake quality or reducing congestion. One major idea would shift sailing and launching boats away from the pedestrian-heavy northeast corner of Calhoun. The boat launch would go at least temporarily to the north shore, but eventually a sailing center and other facilities are proposed for the northwest corner of the lake. The parkway would be rerouted to add room by the lake, a suggestion that has made some neighbors there nervous.
The advisory committee also endorsed creating several sections of two-way bike trail at different points around Calhoun and Harriet. Its plan also calls for a new two-way bicycle path across Lake Street, connecting Calhoun and Lake of the Isles — removing bicycle traffic from the existing lagoon passage under Lake Street to give pedestrians priority there.
But all of the ideas depend on funding. The Park Board has about $3 million to spend on immediate renovations, and a major portion is expected to be consumed by renovating deteriorating sections of lake paths.
Park officials probably would need to form partnerships with other public agencies for some changes. That could happen with water quality proposals to treat the lakes with alum to reduce algae blooms and install stormwater filtration ponds. The board also has $225,000 in city arts money to interpret American Indian history at the lake.
The proposal to ban cars from the lower Harriet road mimics a similar change on the lake’s south shore decades ago. The road would open to two-way bike traffic, and space used by the existing bike lane would be available for plantings to filter runoff.
Former City Council Member Lisa McDonald, who lives near the parkway, predicted that neighbors would turn out at the Park Board to oppose the proposed ban. But another area member of the advisory group, Ben Schweigert, is optimistic that rising environmental consciousness since then would aid a proposal that encourages bike travel and water quality.