Project Update: Northern Columbia Golf Course and Park Stormwater BMPs

Construction has begun on stormwater management and habitat improvements on the northern portion of Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park. New stormsewer pipes, stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and habitat restoration will improve water quality, mitigate flooding, improve ecological systems, and enhance golf play and other recreational opportunities in Northeast Minneapolis. The Northern Columbia Golf Course and Park Stormwater BMPs project is a joint effort of the City of Minneapolis, the MWMO, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and is part of the Northeast Stormwater Management Initiative.

The MWMO is leading construction and providing funding with additional support from the City of Minneapolis, a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) grant (via the state’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment), and a Hennepin County Natural Resources Opportunity Grant. In coordination with our partners, we will be providing periodic email updates on construction progress, temporary road closures, and other public impacts.

Construction Phases and Scope

An aerial view of construction on the east side of the golf course (right) and at the rugby field (left).
An aerial view of construction on the east side of the golf course, right, and at the rugby field, left. (Drone images captured with permission from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.)

Phase 1 of the project began October 26, 2020, and will run through February 2021. This phase will include removal/abandonment of old stormsewer pipes running along the northern half of the golf course and Columbia Park, construction of a new, larger capacity stormsewer extending from Central Avenue to 5th Street NE (tunneling under the Canadian Pacific Railway), along with earthwork and mass grading as part of the stormwater BMP construction. In addition to the work in the golf course and park, the project will construct a new hydrodynamic separator for pretreatment adjacent to Central Ave near the railway crossing. This system will filter pollutants out of the portion of stormwater runoff that drains from Northeast Minneapolis through the golf course and into the Mississippi River.

City of Minneapolis workers also recently finished installing another hydrodynamic separator at the intersection of 35th Avenue NE and NE Tyler Street for pretreatment upstream of the Columbia Golf Course.

Phase 2 will run from May through August 2021. This phase will include final grading, park and golf course restoration, and native seeding for permanent habitat restoration.

Temporary Public Impacts

Workers assemble sections of a new stormpipe before using tunnel boring equipment to push the pipe beneath the railroad.
Workers assemble sections of a new stormpipe before using special tunnel boring equipment to position it underneath the railroad.

Project construction temporary impacts include:

  • Trail detour for pedestrians and bicyclists on northwest side of golf course for the duration of project (until August 2021)
    • Pedestrian detour: 5th Street NE and 35th Avenue NE sidewalks
    • Bicycle detour: Use 5th Street and Columbia Parkway (cyclists may use full lane)
  • Construction vehicles on Columbia Parkway, 5th Street NE, and Central Avenue.
  • Columbia Golf Course temporary reduction from 18 holes to 11 holes through August 2021 (remaining holes will be reopened as turf is reestablished).
  • Impacts to trees: tree replacement included in restoration plan. The project design minimized impacts to mature trees.
  • Changes to the Columbia Golf Course cross-country skiing route in coordination with the Loppet Foundation. Updates will be posted on the MPRB’s website.
  • No additional road closures planned on 5th Street (now reopened) for the project duration.
  • Columbia Park:
    • Parking lot closure for duration of project (construction staging area).
    • Playground closure for the duration of project, due to proximity to the construction area. After this project is complete, play equipment for younger children (on the north side of the path) will be replaced, with community engagement in fall 2021 and construction in spring 2022. Play equipment for older kids south of the path will remain.
    • Columbia picnic shelter rental closed through July 2021.
    • Columbia Park multi-purpose athletic field closed through July 2021.

If you’d like to receive future updates on this project via email, subscribe to our email list.

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