Obama’s visit will shut down 2 parks, all of Lake Harriet, several roads

  • Article by: EMMA NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 10:24 AM

President Obama’s visit means major disruptions for Minneapolis residents over the next couple of days, particularly those near Lake Harriet.

For starters, access to the boat launch was shut down at 10 p.m. Wednesday. And starting early Friday, no boats will be allowed on the lake. That means people who have sailboats there won’t be allowed to access them.

A playground, a beach, the rose garden and trails will be closed, as well as the restaurant next to the Band Shell.

People who live near the Band Shell, where Obama will speak Friday, will have to be escorted to and from their homes that morning.

For the most part, Lake Harriet visitors understood why much of the area was being closed for the president’s visit.

Taylor Anderson, who was pushing her son, Mason, in a swing at the park Wednesday, said the closure would mean she would likely be visiting another park on Friday.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said. “I’m not sure why anyone would want to fight the traffic here that day unless they were going to go to the speech. We’re not.”

Dennis Hansen, who had just finished a run around the lake Wednesday, said he wasn’t sure why the areas outside of the Band Shell were being closed. “Sounds excessive to me, but what do I know about security?”

Obama arrives in the Twin Cities early Thursday afternoon and will take part in an invitation-only town hall about 2 p.m. at Minnehaha Park, which will also be essentially shut down. Several roads near both parks also will be closed.

Hundreds of people lined up at Lake Harriet on Wednesday for tickets to Friday’s event. The area will open at 8:30 a.m. and Obama will talk about the economy at 10:50 a.m.

On Friday, police will escort homeowners on Queen Avenue S. between 40th Street and 42nd Street to and from their homes from early morning through the end of the event.

According to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, closures and restrictions in the area will begin at midnight Thursday to Friday and end after the event, including: Lake Harriet Parkway from Roseway Road to W. 44th Street on the west side of the lake; Roseway Road from Kings Highway to Lake Harriet Parkway; William Berry Parkway; Queen Avenue S. from 40th Street to 42nd Street; 42nd Street from Linden Hills Boulevard to Lake Harriet Parkway, and park facilities including trails from 44th Street on the west side of the lake to Roseway Road, Lake Harriet North Beach, William Berry Playground, Bread and Pickle restaurant, Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Lyndale Park Gardens and the rose garden.

Public parking will be available at the Parade Ice Arena at 600 Kenwood Parkway, and transportation from the site will be available for ticket holders beginning at 6:45 a.m. Street parking near the lake will be limited; parking lots will be closed.

Road and park closures for Obama’s invitation-only town hall at Minnehaha Park on Thursday afternoon will begin at 8 a.m. and end after the event.

Closures will include: Godfrey Parkway; Minnehaha Parkway from 39th Avenue S. to the roundabout at Godfrey Parkway; Minnehaha Avenue from 46th Street to the roundabout at Godfrey Parkway; Minnehaha Park Drive to 54th Street and park facilities including all trails, the Minnehaha dog park, the Minnehaha Park north plateau playground, the Longfellow house and garden, the park building housing Sea Salt restaurant and Minnehaha Falls.

Parking restrictions in Minnehaha Park began at midnight Wednesday and will include all lots and metered spaces. Veterans Home access will be limited to 46th Avenue.

The presidential motorcade route isn’t released for security reasons, but motorists who encounter it can expect temporary road closures.

Emma Nelson • 612-673-4509

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