An informal dog park on the southwestern border of Minneapolis appears set to change hands.
Officials in Edina and St. Louis Park said Monday that they expect to close a deal with the city of Minneapolis for the wooded parcel on France Avenue S. The 14.3-acre property straddles the border of the two suburbs but is owned by Minneapolis, which has maintained a water pumping station on the site since the 1920s.
Edina and St. Louis Park made separate offers for their portions of the land. Edina offered $1.072 million for its 9.5-acre piece and St. Louis Park offered just under $580,000 for its 4.8-acre portion, for a total purchase price of about $1.65 million.
In recent years, the rugged site, known locally as Weber Woods, has become a popular dog park used by residents of all three cities. With Minneapolis no longer needing the land for its water system, the city last year put it on the market. Edina and St. Louis Park made an initial offer of just over $1 million, which Minneapolis rejected as too low.
Edina’s offer stipulates that the woodland within its borders will be used only for recreational, utility and stormwater management purposes, specifically mentioning a dog park as one recreational use. The offer also says the land will be available for use by Minneapolis residents “in perpetuity” on the same terms as Edina residents.
“Parks are a reciprocal resource,” said Edina City Manager Scott Neal. “The idea is that [Minneapolis residents] use it today. We’d hope to engage them to use it in the future just as they use it today.”
Neal said the land deal is a rare chance to add open space in a fully built-out area of the city.
“I think our City Council sees this as an opportunity to add park and open space to a part of our town that could use more of that,” he said. “Density levels in this area make it almost impossible to add more open space.”
For St. Louis Park, the deal allows it to get Minikahda Vista Park under city ownership. Much of the park is on land the city has been leasing from Minneapolis, said City Manager Tom Harmening. The city also has long been interested in developing a dog park on the site, he said.
St. Louis Park might sell a couple of lots fronting France Avenue for new homes, Harmening added, “but that would entail a whole other public process — another conversation with the neighborhood.”
The Ways & Means Committee of the Minneapolis City Council is set to consider the purchase offers at its July 20 meeting. If the committee approves of the deal, it’s expected to go to the full council for a vote on July 29, Neal said. If Minneapolis approves, then Edina and St. Louis Park are expected to finalize their purchases in August.