An aquatic driving range, a BMX track, an amphitheater and more could be part of the redesigned Hiawatha Golf Club in south Minneapolis, according to concept plans for the property released this month.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is now seeking feedback on the three designs, which were made public March 7. All three decrease the number of holes on the course, much of which would be underwater as the Park Board reduces the amount of water being pumped from the grounds.
Michael Schroeder, assistant superintendent for planning services, said elements of all three designs will likely go into the final master plan for the site, a draft of which is expected to be ready this summer.
Last year, the Park Board voted to drastically reduce the amount of groundwater pumped from the golf course, which is below the level of Lake Hiawatha and periodically floods. The water being pumped, Schroeder said, “would serve the domestic water needs of a small- to medium-sized Minnesota community. And we’re pumping that to keep a golf course open.”
The new concepts seek to balance golf, flood resilience and other amenities that could draw people to the site, Schroeder said.
The first design has four challenge holes on the southern edge of the course and a driving range where balls would travel across the water. It adds pickleball courts, a BMX track, a disc golf course, an aerial challenge course and a boardwalk trail above the water.
The second has nine holes and a driving range. It also includes an amphitheater, garden and terrace.
The third design also has nine holes, in different locations, and a driving range. It includes a community park, a wedding venue and a boardwalk trail above the water.
All three designs add trails and observation areas and restore natural areas on the property. Initial cost estimates range between $28.2 million and $62 million, with the potential to bring in up to $1.3 million in annual revenue, according to Park Board documents.
The board will hold focus sessions on the concept plans Monday and Tuesday evening. People can also take a poll online at surveymonkey.com/r/hiawathaconcepts.
Some golfers, who for years had protested to keep the course as is, are still critical of the redesigns. Schroeder said the Park Board has spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars studying the future of the site.
“There’s a rather healthy opposition to what we’re doing,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do is create a better ecologic balance with the recreation resources we’re trying to offer.”