Information provided by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
This is the first of what will be approximately quarterly updates about improvements at Wirth Park. In addition to this written update, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board staff will facilitate a short on-site review of this information (open to the public) starting at the Wirth Par 3 Clubhouse from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12.
The following projects have progress to report in Wirth Park:
Tree plantings: Two tree planting events in the storm damaged areas are taking place this fall. The first one, held September 29 by the Loppet Foundation, added 75 trees north of Hwy 55 near the Luce Line trail. The second tree planting is scheduled for October 10. Xcel Energy volunteers will plant on three corners of the Glenwood/Wirth Parkway intersection. This planting area was identified by the Wirth CAC as a reforestation priority.
Storm seeding: A seeding contract was executed on July 11 and the first of a multiple step process is underway to re-seed areas damaged by the 2011 tornado/clean-up activities. The first step is to remove heavy woodchips, control weeds and seed a cover crop. Next spring the project will continue with ongoing weed control and seeding of appropriate native seed mixes.
Wirth Beach parking lot and trails (Phase 3): Though most of this work was completed in 2011, a few things remain to be completed. Excavation of the stormwater (biofiltration) pond and reestablishment of plants at its perimeter will be completed this October. Later this fall, railings along the Glenwood Ave trail and two boardwalks will be removed and re-painted.
Wirth Beach playground and volleyball (Phase 2): This project is now completed and the final payment was approved on September 19.
Wirth Pavilion Rehabilitation: The Pavilion Rehabilitation project is expected to begin in mid-October. The contractor CM Construction came in with the lowest bid and was awarded the contract for the Wirth Pavilion rehabilitation in the amount of $810,500. . This project will include complete renovation of the kitchen and restrooms in the building, re-wiring of all electrical, new heating and air-conditioning, and new water service, fire protection and sanitary sewer connections. Once complete, this building will be available for year-round use.
Winter Recreation Hilton Fund: The last of this fund, which is dedicated to winter recreation improvements, will be spent over the next six to eight months. Many project options for this funding have been analyzed. The decision was made to complete underground electrical service to the existing snowmaking loop and to replace two small and aging golf cart barns with a new structure. The new structure will be more functional and, in addition to storing golf equipment, will accommodate indoor storage of ski trail grooming equipment.
Wirth Ski Trail Improvements: Minor realignment of the snowmaking ski loop is planned for this fall. These changes do not impact golf holes and are consistent with the approved master plan.
Sustainable Trail Planning: Schoenbauer Consulting will lead staff and interested trail development partners in workshop style trail planning later this fall. Using the Wirth Park concept plan as a guide, Schoenbauer will focus on the pedestrian trails and north/south off-road bicycle connection in South Wirth as well as planning and design of the event trails in North Wirth. Schoenbauer Consulting worked on the consultant team that developed the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail System for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Master Plan Document: Staff is in the thick of drafting the master plan document. The tentative timeframe for the public comment period for the master plan is November- December. After the formal public comment period, the plan will be edited and submitted to the MPRB Board for adoption and the Metropolitan Council will review and comment in early 2013.
Fundraising Agreement with the Loppet Foundation: With approval of the Wirth Park concept plan, the MPRB Board dedicated $1.5 million of regional park bonding toward development of the Wirth Park Welcome Center that would serve par-3 golf, cycling and winter recreation. The Board also directed staff to prepare a fundraising agreement for the facility with the Loppet Foundation. Negotiation toward that agreement is underway.