Minneapolis’ long-anticipated four-season adventure hub is open.
The Trailhead at Theodore Wirth Regional Park on the city’s North Side hopes to be the premier spot for all things outdoors in the city, which includes trails for mountain biking and cross-country skiing during the winter.
“Simply put, the adventure center, Trailhead, is I think one of the most, if not the most, attractive physical amenity in the entire park system,” Park and Recreation Board President Brad Bourn said at Tuesday’s grand opening.
The 14,000-square-foot building sits on park property along Theodore Wirth Parkway — a short walk from the golf chalet.
The Trailhead will enable Wirth Park to host national events for Olympic-caliber athletes, skiing and biking for families, and a place to learn.
“What we really know is that kids do what families do, and families do what’s part of a community identity,” said Anthony Taylor, the adventures director at the Loppet Foundation, which partnered with the Park Board to champion the building. “This allows the community to connect to the programming we are doing — that’s the magic of this building.”
Taylor added that northsiders, in particular, who live nearby can walk in without committing to an activity.
“They can come in and not have to do anything,” he said. “And then when they have that spark they can rent a bike — here. Sign up for a class — here. And we can give them a safe place to launch.”
Inside, the Trailhead has a restaurant, Cajun Twist, locker rooms, and a 3,200 square foot common space. Snowshoes and other items can be rented in the winter, mountain bikes in the summer.
The project was approved in 2012 but funding and controversy about hiring caused delays.
Expenses spiked from $4.5 million to $11.6 million, which included trails and improved snow-making equipment. The foundation will give the lodge to the Park Board. The foundation then will pay $6,500 a year plus 17 percent of any profits to rent the building from the Park Board, and maintain and manage some of the amenities. Critics of the project were concerned about costs, privatizing public parkland and discriminatory hiring.