Construction begins on major expansion of Cottageville Park in Hopkins
A major makeover is underway at Cottageville Park in Hopkins. The park, which was hidden from public view and faced issues of crime and wear for years, is being expanded into a community amenity that will feature a restored Minnehaha Creek. The project, which will transform Cottageville Park into a crown jewel of the Blake Road corridor, is made possible by an innovative partnership between the City of Hopkins, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative and the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Fund.
Construction began this week on the first phase that will add a new playground, trails, lawn area, community garden and educational exhibits. As part of a major effort to revitalize Minnehaha Creek in the area, the project will also restore the banks of the creek, open it up to the public with stepping stones and seating, and clean polluted stormwater from the surrounding area. The park is located on Blake Road, a few blocks south of Knollwood Mall and near a planned station on the Southwest Light Rail Transit line.
The Blake Road corridor in Hopkins is a concentrated and isolated neighborhood, with a high percentage of low-income residents. Since 2006, a group of community leaders known as the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative – including residents, business owners, educators, faith community leaders, and city and county staff – have worked to address the needs and issues in the area.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is in the midst of a major restoration of Minnehaha Creek through its most degraded section in Hopkins and St. Louis Park. The District has restored the curves to the previously straightened creek west of Methodist Hospital and is planning major improvements at a warehouse site that sits on 1,000 feet of creek-frontage just south of Cottageville Park. It is among the largest urban stream restorations in Twin Cities’ history.
“We are thrilled about the partnerships that have formed to improve the health of the creek and the surrounding communities,” said Rev. Scott Searl, Pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church and a founder of the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative. “The residents and businesses are excited about the new and improved Cottageville Park with access to a restored Minnehaha Creek.”
The Cottageville Park expansion will clean polluted stormwater that previously flowed untreated from the surrounding landscape into the creek. This project will keep 26 pounds of phosphorus (which equates to 13,000 pounds of algae) and nearly three tons of eroded soil from entering the creek per year. It will also improve wildlife habitat and open up the creek to the community.
“The benefits of the park expansion to Minnehaha Creek are tremendous, and we were very fortunate that our goals of improving the health of the creek lined up so well with the city’s goals of improving Cottageville Park and connecting with the creek,” said Sherry White, President of the MCWD Board of Managers. “This project is a key part of our larger push to make significant, lasting improvements to the health of Minnehaha Creek.”
Construction on the Cottageville Park project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2015.