There’s more to my campaign than working to save Hiawatha Golf Course. My Priorities:
Our Recreation Infrastructure:
Currently, the Washburn High School tennis teams travel to Bloomington to practice, because the courts they could practice on, the Morgan Ave. courts, are in such poor condition.
This is ridiculous for MInneapolis. Along Minnehaha Parkway from west of Cedar Ave, north or south by a couple blocks, there are more than a dozen tennis courts. Most of them also are in poor condition. Why even have courts if we don’t keep them up. People will vote with their feet and go to other courts, or other cities, to play.
The relatively new courts on 27th Ave. and East 43rd are very popular. These are the kinds of courts we need to keep tennis active in Minneapolis. The story’s the same for many basketball courts the Park Board manages.
Visit http://washburntennis.com/morgan-courts/ for more information on assisting Washburn Tennis’ quest for better facilities for its no-cut teams.
Save Lake Hiawatha Beach:
In 2015, the Park Board voted to remove the beach at Lake Hiawatha as a part of the Nokomis-Hiawatha Master Plan. Charlie Casserly was dead-set against this motion. Of the public, more people were in favor of keeping the beach, at public meetings and in communications with the Park Board.
The Park Board did not hold another Citizens Advisory Committee, (CAC), on this issue. (For example, when Hidden Beach on Cedar Lake was being discussed for removal, neighborhood meetings were held, the public was invited with separate postcards, etc. Not so for Hiawatha.)
The CAC did a poll of park users. The #1 activity for park users was walking. The #2? Swimming! So they vote to remove a beach?
During open two houses, more park users were in favor of keeping the beach than not.
It is unfortunate, but the Park Board has allowed Lake Hiawatha Beach to rot. It often looks terrible!
The Park Board does not post life guards at Lake Hiawatha Beach anymore.
You know what life guards do when there are no swimmers around? They clean!
The Park Board gets rid of our life guards, we get a dirty beach.
The Park Board never cleans the beach, and never rakes it, leaving that job to volunteers.
While Lake Nokomis’ Little Beach get new sand, Hiawatha’s does not.
At Lake Calhoun, milfoil is harvested. Hiawatha’s milfoil is not.
The beach at Lake Hiawatha is a canary in a coal mine. It tells us we need to improve our lakes and waterways to be safe for swimmers.
In the public comment period, park users recommended 22 to 9 that the beach stay open. In the height of arrogance, the Park Board ignored that more than 2-to-1 majority! (See pages 4 and 8 in the Park Board PDF.)
Removing the beach is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Charlie Casserly was on the Citizens Advisory Committe for Lake Hiawatha Park in 1999-2000, and protecting the beach was paramount. Not at this last turn.
This is Minneapolis, we don’t remove all-important beaches from our city lakes! We work to fix them.
The north pipe that runs under fairway #2 and dumps neighborhood pollution into Lake Hiawatha needs to be mitigated. Daylighting the pipe may be an answer, it would add another water hazard to the course. It doesn’t need to harm the golf course.
Racial equity in our parks is very important. Parks are for everyone. Everyone deserves equal access to park jobs and opportunities. Let’s work together for equal opportunity.
Repairing parks in our poorest neighborhoods will be a priority with the new 2020 Neighborhood Parks Plan, which I support. This will help racial equity in Minneapolis Parks.
Lake Hiawatha park and beach are also very popular with African Americans. The year before the Park Board voted to remove Lake Hiawatha beach, the push for the open the pool at the Phillips Community Center began:
- Minnpost: Few pools, little swim teaching: In Minneapolis, an issue of equity and safety
- Star Tribune: Park Board, others say lack of swimming lessons and pools puts children of color at risk
- MPR News: Lack of city pools called a civil rights issue
- South High Southerner: Racial disparities in swimming ability prompt community action
The Park Board spent $2.7 million to renovate Phillips pool.
They could have held swimming lessons at Lake Hiawatha, if it were staffed with life guards.
Charlie Casserly is proud to be endorsed by the Minneapolis Police Federation.