Updated Cascade Lake Masterplan

I can’t say thank you enough to the staff and residents at Shorewood Senior Campus and the J. A. Wedum Foundation for their investment in our quality of life!

As you may know the city received a $2 million grant from the J. A. Wedum Foundation to spur on development of Cascade Lake Regional Park. This has been a project I have been involved in (or a user of) for nearly 10 years now. Every year it gets a little better. The $2 million will be matched by some city funds and and state parks & trail funds. This should allow much of the development shown in the updated image below. This park is an incredible asset for the community and Shorewood Senior Campus (which is owned by the Wedum Foundation).

I received an email from Jay Portz, (President of J. A. Wedum Foundation) on October 14th, 2015 with a request  to meet and discuss plans for Cascade Lake Park. Jay got my name from staff at Shorewood who knew me from presentations I had done on the park in the past. I respond to almost every communication I receive and needless to say I am glad we proceeded to meet along with parks staff. Honestly I was expecting a $50k or $100k grant. The generosity of the $2 million dollar grant left me speechless. And that doesn’t happen often.

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In addition to the development of this active part of the park here are some other nuggets of information that you might be interested in.

  1. There is now a 3.1 mile loop that goes all the way around the lake. This used to be Rochester’s best kept secret, but based on the numbers out there the secret is out. The bridge to the North will likely see over 100k uses this year.
  2. The total park is hundreds of acres the portion shown above is just a very active & developed section. There will be something for everyone here.
  3. The lake will be kept clean because the creek was relocated and moved around the lake. The lake is spring fed and empties into Cascade creek. Expect clean water and great fishing.
  4. While mining will continue for some time, today most of the park can be accessed at most times.
  5. Connectivity to the park is one of my goals going forward. There are 4 remaining connections I would like to improve. These connections will provide safe access to tens of thousands of people.
    1. New trail section between East Frontage Rd. and 16th Avenue NW along Cascade creek, including an underpass of 16th Avenue.
    2. Underpass of 11th Avenue NW in Kutzky Park.
    3. Overpass connecting Lake Street NW and Harriett Bishop Elementary School. (Near Harriett Bishop, not at the intersection of 3rd as the county proposed and neighbors shot down).
    4. Safe connection through the Manor on 36th Ave NW/SW To growing neighborhoods South of 2nd street.
  6. City staff told me that complete access to the lake was once threatened by Bob DeWitz who tried to take access from the public after a young Gary Neumann caught and stopped some concerning language in a development plan. Bob then tried to change the landscape by grading the shoreline to remove public access until a former public works director threatened to “punch him out.”
  7. The picture below is me with Beverly Allen, wife of former council member Paul Allen. I invited her and Paul to the announcement as she has been involved with the park since it was a concept in the late 1960s. The picture is right when I told her the grant was for $2 million. She once showed me some old Xeroxed copies of fliers handed out in the early 70s advocating for the park. Needless to say this park is the culmination of decades of local people stepping up.

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