Earlier this summer, people around Lake Nokomis were treated to a rare double rainbow. While myth has it that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, in this case, something even more valuable could be found – a freshwater lake in the heart of our city.
One of the great joys of living in Minneapolis in the summer is spending time in and around our lakes, creeks, and rivers. Anyone who walks along our waterways can see how important they are to our civic life. They are one of the most vibrant places in the region where we connect to each other and the natural splendor in our city. From the moment rain falls until it flows out of the city, Minneapolis parks improve water and our connection to it in many ways, which include stormwater management, maintaining a system of swimming pools, beaches, splash pads and beaches, and providing ongoing opportunities for swim lessons and lifeguard trainings.
As we experience one of the hottest summers on record in Minnesota, the importance of abundant clean water to our overall well-being cannot be overstated. While we are known as the City of Lakes, too often it’s taken for granted the complicated role the Minneapolis Parks system serves in maintaining water quality. For those who work in and around our parks, we know all-too-well the efforts needed to sustain and maintain clean water.
Our parkland serves as a primary filter for stormwater that flows through Minneapolis, even before it becomes lake water or enters a creek. This summer, the Minneapolis Park Board has been working for a long-term funding solution to increase stormwater management and filtration by seeking an increase in funding for storm water that runs through our parks. By slightly increasing the monthly utility fee assessed by an average of $2 dollars per parcel, the Park Board could improve stormwater management throughout the parks and ensure long-term clean water in our city for generations to come.
Investing in Clean Water
With this clean water, we need to expand our commitment to creating opportunities for all residents to learn to swim – especially youth – and provide training for new lifeguards serving our parks and pools. In this month’s newsletter, we highlight a People for Parks Fund grant supporting swim scholarships – an ongoing commitment we’ve made over the years to help fund swim lessons across the city in partnership with the Park Board.
And where we have no lakes, there is continued work to improve access to swimming pools, splash pads and wading pools. Future investments will improve facilities at the Jim Lupient Water Park in Northeast Park and at North Commons Park Water Park. These assets, alongside the countless wading pools and splash pads in our neighborhood parks, are essential elements of summer in Minneapolis.
This August please take note of all the ways water moves through our parks. We are a city of water as much as we are a city of parks.