Create and nurture a park at Cedar Lake with a thriving nature preserve and connecting trails and greenways.
Provide opportunities for people to learn to live in community with nature and one another.
Continue to foster citizen leadership and private involvement in the development and management of the park and trails.
Support similar efforts throughout the metro area and beyond.
A Vision for Green Space
Minneapolis loves green space. Its citizens understand its importance in softening the rough edges of urban life. Green space makes a city more human. It adds value to our great metropolis. Green space comes in many forms, such as a park, a creek, a river—or a greenway.
Many greenways begin as old rail corridors refashioned into bicycle and pedestrian trails. But they are more. In connecting neighborhoods and opening vistas, these linear parks enhance the urban experience. Through these green arteries surge the lifeblood of our metropolis. We citizens of Minneapolis cherish our green spaces. We treasure them. But the future of one of our most vital greenway is in dire straits. At present, it lolls along the east side of Cedar Lake. It’s called the Kenilworth Corridor/ Greenway.
Cedar Lake Park Association
The Cedar Lake Park Association (CLPA) is committed to preserving and protecting the Kenilworth Greenway. CLPA is concerned about the effect the proposed Southwest LRT will have on the Kenilworth Greenway and on the Greater Cedar Lake Park area. To preserve green space, CLPA proposes this action plan:
1. Keep the Kenilworth Corridor public land.
CLPA envisions a time—once the freight rail line is removed—when green space stretches from the base of the Kenwood Bluffs to Cedar Lake. Likewise, park land would run seamlessly from Thomas Ave to Cedar Lake—an area comprising the lake’s old East Bay. The city, the park board, and Hennepin County must work together to keep this land out of the hands of private developers and the railroad. There is nothing wrong with development:
A park is simply better use of the land.
2. Relocate the freight rail line.
The fate of the freight rail line should never have been tied to the Southwest LRT. They are two separate issues. Once the LRT is no longer involved, work can continue to ultimately dispose of the freight rail issue. Hennepin County promised to relocate the freight. The county needs to honor its commitment to the people of Minneapolis by continuing to pursue this goal. With the freight line relocated, the work of developing Greater Cedar Lake Park— from the bluffs to the lake—can continue.
3. Protect Cedar Lake Park.
CLPA is concerned about preserving the integrity of Cedar Lake Park’s Prairie and Regional Trail. The breathtaking view from the park into downtown Minneapolis has become an iconic image of the city. Along the edge
of the prairie, the Cedar Lake Regional Trail moves thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians every day. CLPA advocates minimizing the human footprint and protecting the natural environment in this area just a stone’s throw from the heart of the city. Before, during, and after construction, Minneapolis city leaders must keep their eye on preserving this environment- —especially the area where the park and trail connects to the Keniworth Greenway.
4. Return the corridor/greenway to Parkland.
Funds should be set aside to mitigate
the destruction of green space caused by constructing the Southwest LRT. By using landscape architects to plan an integrated design of contouring and planting, we can thoughtfully enhance the Kenilworth Greenway.
The freight and LRT lines may need to co-exist in the Kenilworth Greenway for a time. But conditions change. Railroads consolidate. They vacate redundant lines. Citizens, fearful
of contamination and explosions, may demand freight service be re-routed to avoid the city. Nothing is certain, but CLPA remains committed to relocating the freight rail line. For that to happen, the Kenilworth Greenway must remain in public hands. Once construction is complete, all publicly held land in the corridor should become public green space.
CLPA is not opposed to public transportation or private freight rail service. Both are important. Living in a great metropolis involves balancing competing interests. Despite all its discord, the debate over the LRT and the location of the freight rail line is instructive, because it lays bare basic values: ones that must be harmonized for an urban environment to prosper. The desire for public transport and private freight service must be weighed against the need for our city to breathe.
The Kenilworth Corridor is a greenway that enhances the spirit of Minneapolis. It’s about green space.
Visit the following webpage for the latest LRT agreement: http://metrocouncil.org/News- Events/Transportation/News-Articles/ Joint-Announcement-by-the-City-of- Minneapolis-and.aspx
by Neil Trembley
is now available for download!
The Story of Citizens’ Action in the Creation and Development of an Urban Nature Park and Regional Commuter Trail in Minneapolis, Minnesota
In 1989, a group of citizens came together to Save Cedar Lake Park and create the nation’s first bicycle commuter trail. Now, you can read how it was done. Cedar Lake Park Association: A History tells the story behind the transformation of an abandoned rail yard into a nature conservancy and nationally recognized non-motorized transit system.
“As part of CLPA’s mission to foster citizen leadership and private involvement in developing and managing parks and trails, we decided to make the book broadly available,” said board president Keith Prussing. “People all over the U.S. are trying to get green space projects off the ground, and our story is about the successful development of a private/public partnership that continues to steward Cedar Lake Park and the connecting greenways.”
Cedar Lake Park Association: A History serves as a timely primer. “Citizen groups like the Cedar Lake Park Association hold government’s feet to the fire to get projects like this done,” said former Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak. Beyond describing the arc of this pioneering effort—from concept and fundraising to land acquisition, construction, and maintenance—the book highlights the principles and values that have guided the group in its goal to Nurture Nature.
To underscore its importance in documenting local history, in 2012 the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant awarded CLPA $7,000 to publish a limited edition of the book.
Numerous photos, original artwork, and maps accompany the narrative and make this book a pleasure to read. –Neil Trembley
Download the PDF of the book Cedar Lake Park Association: A History for free:
Volunteering in the Park
We need your help to create and maintain all of this interactivity! If you have web technical skills or enjoy writing content or taking photos or most anything else, we would love to hear from you. Help us nurture the park and trails, now and forever.