Opposing Proposal to Expand Lake Harriet Seating

The following letter was presented at Open Time during the April 17, 2013 Park Board meeting:


April 17, 2013


I am here today to speak against the proposal to expand the seating at the Lake Harriet concessions stand for a wine and beer garden, which will seat 150 patrons. I laud Kim Bartmann for all she has done with her concessions stand at Lake Harriet, but I have serious reservations about her proposal to expand seating.

I am quite familiar with this area and I was there this cold afternoon to imagine what it would look like on a beautiful summer evening. It is a prime piece of lake-shore real estate that is highly congested during the summer season, especially during the evening and weekend concerts that can attract as many as 2,000 music lovers.

The lake-shore plaza area is loved by many and attracts a variety of users. Cluttering it up with additional tables and seating, along with the required planters, will create barriers and congestion for parents with kids in strollers, people walking dogs, and individuals who may be using wheel chairs or scooters.

Allowing one use to dominate this compact and very popular public area is poor planning; and, in this case, just plain dangerous.

The Lake Harriet concessions stand was never meant to be a wine and beer garden any more than it was meant to be a Dairy Queen. Please respect Lake Harriet and its history for what it is–a public park.

Thank you.

Arlene M. Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch