The following information is from a press release circulated by the the Park Board:
BROWNIE LAKE CAC TO BE APPOINTED
The Park Board is planning to improve trail safety and protect natural resources at Brownie Lake.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is developing an Area Plan for Brownie Lake and establishing a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) to inform the process. The CAC, which will be appointed by Park Board commissioners, other elected officials, and community groups, will help gather ideas and concerns from park users, neighbors, and other constituents and develop recommendations to be forwarded to the Board. The Area Plan will provide direction for the design of improvements around the lake.
Brownie Lake is a lovely, secluded water body surrounded by steep wooded slopes, located at the north end of the Chain of Lakes. This natural area is enjoyed by hikers, canoeists, and an occasional fisherperson. The MPRB in conjunction with the community has already addressed some of the environmental issues around Brownie Lake, but additional work is needed.
The section of the Cedar Lake Parkway bike and pedestrian trail that runs along the east rim above Brownie Lake is a key link in a network of regional trails and receives over 370,000 visits per year. Built in 1976 as a combined-use trail, its six-foot width does not meet the current Grand Rounds standards.
Closer to the lake itself, a proliferation over the last decade of unplanned paths are contributing to erosion that, along with invasive species such as buckthorn and unmanaged stormwater runoff, pose a threat to the lake’s character as well as its water quality. The CAC process will provide an opportunity to discuss the best ways to protect this getaway within the city.
“Improving Brownie Lake,” said 4th Park District Commissioner Anita Tabb, “is not about development. It is about protecting the area so that it can be used and enjoyed for generations to come.”
The planning process will begin with an inventory of the site, its natural resources, and current use patterns. The program for the park may include environmental restoration as well as recreational amenities. Alternative plan options will be discussed and a final plan for the area prepared. Amenities will support activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing, and boating, as well as cycling along Cedar Lake Parkway. Environmental restoration may include invasive species removal, habitat improvements, slope stabilization, and erosion control.
The plan will encompass areas surrounding Brownie Lake bounded by Cedar Lake Parkway on the east, BNSF railroad tracks and N. Cedar Lake Regional Trail on the south, Target offices and parking on the west, and S. Wayzata Boulevard on the north. Funding for the Brownie Lake Area Plan and Site Improvements was made possible through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008. The amendment increased the general sales and use tax rate by three-eighths percent, and 14.25 % of the revenue generated by this increased sales tax is dedicated to the Parks and Trails Fund to support parks and trails of regional significance. Funds for the bike and pedestrian trail along Cedar Lake Parkway are provided by the federal Transportation Enhancement Act.
The Board’s charge to the CAC is as follows: The CAC shall advise staff, technical advisory committees, and consultants on regional park visitor interests in the development of a schematic plan for Brownie Lake regarding trails and connections, environmental improvements, recreation activities, and maintenance. The recommendations shall be informed by previous planning efforts, studies, and reports that affect Brownie Lake and its surrounding parklands and trails.
CAC members will represent the range of park user groups. In addition to appointments by park commissioners and other elected officials, the CAC will include an appointment each by the Cedar Lake Park Association, the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association, the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association, and the Kenwood Isles Area Association. Interested community members may apply for an appointment to the CAC by completing an application online at http://www.minneapolisparks.org, or to have an application mailed or faxed, call 612-230-6472. The application deadline is Tuesday, October 11.
Appointments to the CAC are expected to be made by October 19, and the first meeting held the evening of Tuesday, October 25. Meetings are scheduled approximately four weeks apart with the last meeting tentatively scheduled for mid-February of 2012. Upon completion of its study, the CAC’s recommendations will be presented to the Board.
For more information about the project, please visit the project page at http://www.minneapolisparks.org or call 612-230-6438. To sign up for email project updates, please visit http://www.minneapolisparks.org and click on the red envelope at the bottom of left menu bar. The public is welcome at all CAC meetings. The CAC meeting schedule is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 at Kenwood Community Center: