Canoeing Minnehaha Creek

Did you know there are many canoe and kayak launches along Minnehaha Creek’s 22 mile route? The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) has a map that is full of good information about paddling the creek, what the watershed district is doing to improve the creek, and how you can help keep it clean.

Paddling the whole creek, from the headwaters at Gray’s Bay Dam to Longfellow Lagoon right before Minnehaha Falls, takes about six to nine hours depending on how fast the creek is flowing. For safety, MCWD recommends that you only paddle the creek when it’s flowing between 75 – 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). Any less than 75 cfs and you might have to portage your canoe or kayak over portions of the creek. Any more than 150 cfs and it will be difficult to navigate through fast-moving rapids and under bridges.

In addition to checking the discharge rate at the creek’s headwaters at Gray’s Bay Dam, they recommend also checking the flow at Hiawatha Avenue in south Minneapolis where the U.S. Geological Survey operates a gauge. Because the creek receives runoff from stormwater pipes along the route, the rate of flow often increases the further you get downstream of the dam.

In some stretches, the creek is narrow and winding so it’s important to know how to navigate a canoe. But if you are a less experienced paddler or if you are paddling with kids, we recommend trying out the section from Gray’s Bay Dam to St. Albans Mill in Minnetonka or the section from Lynnhurst Park to Longfellow Lagoon in Minneapolis. These sections tend to have slower flowing water and fewer rapids.

A few safety tips to keep in mind before you head out on your adventure – let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back; check the forecast and prepare for rain even if there is just a small chance; bring a first aid kit, cellphone, drinking water, sunscreen, waterproof containers or bags for storing valuables, and also pack some quick-dry clothing (in case you tip!). Once you are on the water, be sure to scan ahead for hazards like overhanging trees, bridges, rocks, and rapids. Be prepared to portage around a couple of spots in Edina – the Browndale Dam at Browndale Avenue and the Arden Park Dam at West 54th Street.  Also, steer clear of riffles and follow the smooth water shaped like a “V” pointing downstream to avoid rocks hiding under the surface.

For links to submit photos, view the new Minnehaha Creek map and see real-time creek flow information visit

Happy paddling!

Small Business Resources

  • Below are on-going community library hours the Small Business Team hosts to connect with entrepreneurs/businesses at the community level. Please share with your contact lists.
    • Hosmer Library: 3 – 5 p.m., every third Wednesday.
    • Central Library, second floor: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., every other Tuesday.
    • North Regional Library: 1 – 3 p.m., every fourth Thursday.
    • East Lake Street Library: 4 – 5 p.m., every second Monday.
  • Online Business Portal: The Minneapolis Business Portal provides entrepreneurs and business owners with valuable information and resources to plan, launch, and grow a business. We plan to add an online calendar to connect the business community with the various community hours and BTAP training workshops.
  • City of Minneapolis’s Small Business Brochure guide to operating a small business is complete. We are working to translate the brochure in Somali, Spanish, and Hmong.
  • Menthol Restriction Ordinance goes into effect August 1, 2018. In the lead-up to the implementation of new menthol tobacco restrictions, limiting sales to full tobacco shops and liquor stores only, convenience stores are assessing their options for adjusting their business model to accommodate these new regulations.
  • The Minimum Wage Ordinance goes into effect July 1, 2018. Please visit the City’s Minimum Wage website: or contact Brian Walsh, Supervisor – Labor Standards Enforcement Division about Minimum Wage and Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (612-673-3841 or
  • Starting June 2018, please expect a Gov. Delivery of Small Business Team Newsletter. We plan to update you on the work we have been doing and any trends we are seeing.

Southwest Parks Plan

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board launches new project to plan future of Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks

Southwest Service Area Master Plan will create a cohesive set of long-term plans for 42 park properties across Southwest Minneapolis over the next 12-18 months

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is excited to announce the launch of the Southwest Service Area Master Plan (SWSAMP). This new project that will create long-term park plans for all Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks (south of I-394 and west of I-35W). Southwest Minneapolis park users are encouraged to attend the first Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting:

What is the Southwest Service Area Master Plan?

SWSAMP is a unique opportunity to set the vision for Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks for the coming decades. The project will examine all outdoor park facilities at each site and create park plans that will guide decisions on capital improvements—including NPP20 funding allocations.

SWSAMP includes 42 total park properties:

  • 23 Neighborhood Parks
  • 13 Park Triangles
  • 3 Parkways
  • 2 Tot Lots
  • 1 Standalone Wading Pool

Click the link below to view the project map:

SWSAMP Project Map

This project does not include any recreation centers or areas classified as regional parkland: Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) Park, Beard’s Plaisance, Brownie Park, Cedar Lake Park, Cedar Lake Regional Trail, Kenilworth Regional Trail, Lake Harriet Park, Lake of the Isles Park, Lyndale Park, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minnehaha Parkway Regional Trail, Morrison Park (home of Minneapolis Institute of Art), Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Soo Line Community Garden and William Berry Park.

Many of those areas have already have long-term plans as part of the Bde Maka Ska-Harriet Master Plan, which was approved by MPRB Commissioners on May 3, 2017.

What is a Community Advisory Committee?

A CAC is a group of community members appointed by MPRB Commissioners, Minneapolis City Council Members and neighborhood organizations to guide the development of SWSAMP. Click the link below to view the CAC roster:


The CAC will work with MPRB staff and consultants over the next 12-18 months to make recommendations to MPRB Commissioners.

All CAC meetings are open to the public and have time set aside for public comment. Please call 612-230-6472 or email at least two business days in advance of a meeting if you require reasonable modification or language translation.

Other ways to get involved

In addition to attending CAC meetings, there will be many other ways to get involved in the project:

  • Sign up to receive email updates by visiting If you are already a subscriber, add “Southwest Service Area Master Plan” to your subscription preferences. Email updates are the best way to stay informed about meeting and event dates.
  • Attend other public project meetings. Though they have not yet been scheduled, MPRB expects numerous community meetings throughout 2018 and 2019.
  • The project team will share project information and listen to ideas be at dozens of community ice cream socials, festivals and park events this summer. Stop by and see us!
  • Email Project Manager Colleen O’Dell at if you’re interested in inviting someone from the project team to present at a meeting or event or engage your organization, group or community in the planning process.
  • Share your thoughts now via the SWSAMP online survey.

SWSAMP Project Page

May 3 to Zoning Committee

To: Zoning and Planning Committee
From: West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee
Date: May 3, 2018
Re: Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the Calhoun Towers development, 3430 List Place (RCA-2018-00463)

The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council is disappointed to have received no reply to its list of deficiencies found in the Environmental Assessment Worksheet, which it emailed to the City Planning Commission on April 11. Rather than reiterate the list, we would like to highlight our key concerns.

First is the status of the Southwest Light Rail line. The EAW is based on the assumption that it will be operational by 2023. While our Council has gone on record in support of this line, we are not confident about the timetable given the continuing lawsuit by project opponents and the uncertainty of adequate federal funding until the latest construction bids are reviewed. The EAW should address the impacts and suitability of this project in scenarios that do not include access to light rail, or include light rail at a later date than 2023.

Second is water quality. The report notes that as a result of unpermitted dumping on the site, the soil is polluted by metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benzoapyrene above the Minnesota Department of Health’s health risk limits. This is a particular concern because the EAW states that groundwater on the site flows to Bde Maka Ska, part of the Chain of Lakes regional park and a popular lake for fishing. We believe that the EAW does not adequately address the need for further study and remediation to protect the lake, nor does it adequately demonstrate that the project does not have the potential for significant environmental impacts.

Third, the Travel Demand Management Plan is inadequate. Besides failing to address the risk of light rail not being built, it has an untested strategy with a leisurely timetable. Travel Demand Management Measure 25 states that “All TDMP commitments will be implemented (if applicable) within one year after the certificate of occupancy is issued for Phase IV of the development.”This means that not all commitments need to be implemented until perhaps 2026 even if the project is built according to the 5-7 year time frame. Without an adequate Travel Demand Management Plan the project runs the risk of creating an unacceptable increase in automobile use as vehicles circle looking for street parking. The Trip Generation Analysis in Appendix D fails to consider scenarios in which either light rail is not operational on schedule or the Travel Demand Management Plan does not achieve its objectives.

Fourth and last, compliance with Minneapolis Plan Housing Policy 3.3 “Increase Housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households” is ignored. In fact, the project would contribute nothing to meeting the City’s affordable housing needs until Phase IV is built and would then provide for only 25 affordable units out of a total of 857 (2.9%).

We request that the EAW not be found adequate until these and other issues cited in our list of April 11 are adequately addressed.

May 28 WCNC Response


Thank you for meeting with our Land Use Committee on May 18th to discuss the Calhoun Towers project.  Although you have now submitted your required applications for this Planned Unit Development, we ask that you give serious consideration to the following recommendations as you review the project with city planners:

Size, Scale and Density

  • As we have discussed, WCNC believes the size and scale of the project, and associated density and traffic, is too much for the neighborhood to absorb.We’d like to see it re-sized to the more realistic density (40 -120 dwelling units per acre) of the Midtown Greenway Small Area Plan, which was developed with the West Lake light rail station in mind. We would like to see a reduction in the footprint of one or both of the twin towers to decrease the number of units and also to ameliorate the vista-blocking wall effect of two wide towers.

Affordable Housing

  • Increase the percentage of affordable housing in Phases A, B & C.We think the current plan with 20% in Phase C and 100% in Phase D is inadequate given the shortage of affordable housing in the City and the urban location and proposed density of the project.

Alternative Plans

  • We would like to see a plan for Phase A by itself in case there is a significant delay for any reason between completion of that phase and initiation of Phase B.


  • We would like to see a minimum of one parking stall per bedroom upon completion of Phase A in recognition of the current inadequacy of public transit and on-street parking in the neighborhood and the likelihood that most renters will need to own cars regardless of the number of on-site stalls. The ratio can be diminished in subsequent phases if the light rail plan moves ahead on schedule and the traffic demand management plan shows signs of succeeding.

Environmental Clean-up

  • We would like to know the timing, details and potential hazards of the soil remediation before and during the construction process.Can you provide a schedule with key partners identified?

Create More Direct Path of Access to Excelsior and lake area

  • Consider re-routing paths and/or foot traffic to provide clearer access from the light rail station, through the property.

Add More Green Space

  • We don’t believe the “pocket park” is adequate for the significant increase in people and the loss of large green areas and mature trees that will be eliminated. We would like to see an increase in greenspace accessible to the public.

Traffic Infrastructure

  • We ask that you work with the City and County to ensure that necessary improvements are made, especially to the approach to the site on Abbott Avenue, including investigating the need for a traffic signal.

Safety/Eyes on the Street

  • As Abbott Ave turns westward onto the realigned 31st Street, the low-rise pedestrian friendly buildings on the left side of the street are replaced by towers and could create an unsafe feeling of isolation despite density for pedestrians waiting for a bus or walking from the West Lake Station at night. We ask that you consider how lighting and better connections between the buildings, sidewalk and station entrance could enhance the walkability of 31st Street.

Bicycle-friendly Design

  • We would like to see a bike/commuter lounge attached to the station-facing end of the Phase D building, similar to that proposed for the Moline Building at the Hopkins LRT station. We also ask for more than 0.5 bicycle stalls per unit, which is an unrealistically low number if the City is to achieve its goal of a 15% of trips by bicycle.

Architecture and Design

  • This project has a significant opportunity to add to the character of the new development Minneapolis will have and particularly to set the tone for a dynamic approach for high density around the city’s most important amenity-the lakes.  Rather than the current blocky, dated and uninspired design, we urge you to look at a composition of buildings that includes the existing tower, has varied heights and a forward thinking design.

Can you please reply to each item above?   We want to work with you and the City of Minneapolis to ensure that the development can be a successful and manageable addition to our neighborhood.


Allan Campbell
For the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee

Resident comments regarding density

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Meeting, 8 May 2018

My name is Lisa Albrecht and I am 67 years old. I rent an apartment in Calhoun Towers; previously, I lived in an over-55 condo – Kenwood Isles (in uptown), and before that I owned a house in South Minneapolis.  I moved here 33 years ago (from NYC) when I became a professor at the U of MN, and I retired a year ago. I moved to Minneapolis because I believed it was an affordable and livable city. Today, it is no longer affordable and less livable than ever. I am a former chair of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights, having served during the administration of former mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton.

Today, Urban density means bigger is better.  And developers win, not those of us who are jammed into the “urban density” of city life.  Bigger is NOT better, except for the developers who make more money. We do not have the infrastructure locally and in the West Calhoun neighborhood to accommodate more and more people, as well as a hotel on a tiny postage stamp of available land.  Both Excelsior Blvd and Lake Street have too many cars now. If we ever get the southwest light rail line, perhaps we will have fewer cars, but we are an individualistic society, and we love driving our big cars alone.

I believe in what many people call the human spirit.  To be full human beings, we need to not sit in our cars in traffic for hours.  Those of us who drive need not to dodge potholes each spring, and buy new tires regularly (that our city will not pay for). To be full human beings, we need to feel safe when we cross busy city streets.  To be full human beings, we need to have room to breathe. To be full human beings, we need to trust police officers and not fear for our lives (particularly if we are people of color). To be full human beings, we need poor and working class people to have decent and affordable housing in every neighborhood.

Today, our elected officials support expensive urban density to grow our tax base.  More expensive housing doesn’t help poor and working class people. Urban density means building “up,” since we don’t have the space anymore to grow horizontally. We human beings, who live in dense urban neighborhoods, do not need higher apartment buildings so that developers can become wealthier. I left New York City over 30 years ago to escape that model of city life.

I would like our elected officials to explain why they believe that “bigger is better,” and why building more and more tall apartment buildings will help the people of Minneapolis, specifically the people of the West Calhoun neighborhood.  How are we to remain full human beings here where our human spirit can be central to our ways in the world? How do we remain kind and decent people who serve our communities selflessly when we are surrounded by less and less space and more and more greed?