Citizens Committee to Advise On Brownie Lake

The following article by Cristof Traudes was published in the June 14, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:


The future of the smallest member of the Chain of Lakes is expected to be revisited soon by a citizen group.

file photo

Brownie Lake is the smallest member of the Chain of Lakes. A citizens’ advisory committee will consider ways to improve its accessibility.

The Park Board will vote June 16 on the formation of a citizens’ advisory committee for a Brownie Lake Area Plan. The group will advise board staff on the creation of schematics for the 18-acre lake, covering issues such as trails and connections, environmental improvements, recreation and maintenance. In particular, the committee will weigh in on ways to make the lake more accessible.

Hidden beneath a brush of trees at the edge of a dipped prairie, Brownie is one of the more secret natural locations in Minneapolis. It’s notable for what it is — peaceful and rustic — but more notable for what it isn’t — surrounded by parkways, traffic or people. Its shoreline is just a fifth of a mile long.

While lakes Calhoun and Harriet regularly are brushed up with new amenities, the biggest changes at Brownie over the past decade have been a buckthorn removal, the addition of wood chips to its surrounding trail and the installation of a small canoe rack. The Park Board now is interested in bringing the trail up to current standards.

The 15-member committee is expected to be filled with appointments from six parks commissioners, a Metropolitan Council member, a City Council member, Mayor R.T. Rybak, three neighborhood boards, the Cedar Lake Park Association, Target Corp. and Golden Valley Mayor Linda Loomis.

Tentatively, the committee’s work will be completed at year’s end, followed by design and engineering in early 2011. Lower trail work would be completed in 2012 and an on-street bike trail would be done in 2013.