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Public to help guide $4 million improvements to Webber Park

This week, local residents will have several opportunities to weigh in on the redesign of Webber Park in North Minneapolis.

Landform, a Minneapolis-based landscape architecture firm, is leading the master-planning process with the Minneapolis park board.

As a part of an early information-gathering process, it'll host a public meeting, studio time, and open house between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, along with an online survey.

The 22-acre Webber Park is a wooded facility that has a pond, swimming pool, wading pool, playing field, tennis and basketball courts, and a playground and recreation center, according to park board information.

Roberta Englund, who heads the nearby Folwell and Webber-Camden neighborhood groups, describes the park as a comfortable and pretty urban area that’s “an important community attribute [that] hasn’t had the attention it deserves."

A big draw at the popular park is the annual Victory Labor Day Races and Community Picnic, according to Englund.

The well known “woodchopper statue” and Webber Park Library are also on the grounds, she says. 

But the park has a number of issues that need to be addressed, including a lack of parking.

Also, the swimming pool needs to be replaced. “We don’t have enough water features here. The priority is making it considerably more accessible,” she says.     

Other issues at the site center on reforestation, tornado damage, and inadequate lighting, she adds.

Whether the library should stay put, expand, or relocate, is also up in the air.

While ideas for the park are still in an early stage, the idea of enhancing the park's connection to the nearby Shingle Creek and Mississippi River in some way has come up, she says.

Englund hopes that people will take the time to voice their opinions about how the park should be configured. “It’s a major project that has a great deal to do with the visioning of parks and [their] role in recreation in North Minneapolis neighborhoods,” she says, adding, “It’ll be a careful look at how the land is used.”

Construction will begin next summer, while the park’s grand re-opening is planned for the summer of 2013, according to park board information.

Source: Roberta Englund, leader for Folwell and Webber-Camden neighborhood groups
Writer: Anna Pratt
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