This past year, thanks in part to the generous support of our community and friends like you, the Wayzata Conservancy has achieved a number of major milestones that have helped preserve and enhance our treasured downtown lakefront. Examples include:
- The funding and dedication of the 9/11 Memorial along Lake Street
- Listing the Section Foreman House on the National Registry of Historic Places
- The receipt of a generous lead gift for adaptive reuse of the Section Foreman House into a Lakeshore Learning Center
- The launch of our naming and dedication program
Most importantly, we have seen how the goals and vision of the Panoway initiative have resonated with the community. The transformed lakefront has hosted public events, invited small gatherings and celebrations, brought friends and family members together, and encouraged people to visit and enjoy downtown Wayzata.
In the wake of this success, we are moving forward with the design of Phase II of the Panoway Project, including the design and construction of the public boardwalk and community docks, significant shoreline restoration, and the design and construction of the Section Foreman House re-use project. When you walk along Lake Street in downtown Wayzata you do not have to look far to see the impact of this project.
Earlier this month, the Wayzata City Council voted to approve utilizing $4 million from a tax increment financing (TIF) district to help cover design and construction costs for the public boardwalk and community docks as well as shoreline restoration. This follows successful efforts from city leaders and the Wayzata Conservancy to work with lawmakers to obtain special TIF legislation from the state. Through this effort Wayzata received flexibility in the state’s tax bill to allow the city to utilize redevelopment dollars from TIF District 6 (the western side of downtown). If this receives final approval, more than 95% of the required funds will be in hand, leaving a balance of $400,000 to fund the boardwalk.
In addition, the Wayzata Conservancy received a lead gift towards the Section Foreman House that will fund 50% of construction, leaving a balance of $750,000 to fund the trail and other related infrastructure upgrades to make public access to the Lakeshore Learning Center, and renovation of the building, possible. Panoway is on sound financial footing, and we’re confident the community will step up again to help realize the full vision of this important project.
Future Panoway projects receive state funding
Updated Roadmap & Highlights
With significant momentum and community support, we are excited to share the updated project roadmap for the next phase of Panoway. If funding and regulatory approval occurs over the next two years, our plan is that the Section Foreman House will be renovated and open to the public as a learning center and construction will begin on the boardwalk and shoreline restoration.
Design for Boardwalk & Community Docks
Under the second phase of the Panoway on Wayzata Bay initiative, the new public boardwalk would stretch from the Wayzata Depot to the Broadway docks, with a path on land leading to the Section Foreman House. This project will also include the restoration of 2,000 feet of the shoreline that would help reverse contamination of previous development by reintroducing native plants, trees and pollinator habitat. The City Council will consider moving forward with a design contract with project lead Civitas later this month.
Section Foreman House Preservation & Renovation
The City is also moving forward with its work to preserve and renovate the historic Section Foreman House. With input from Wayzata community leaders, the architecture firm Cushing Terrell has been selected to help bring this recognized National Historic building back to life. The plan is to restore this historic home and repurpose it into a Lakefront Learning Center, creating a living museum that will provide indoor and outdoor classroom and community space as part of the newly created Eco Park. The Learning Center will feature educational programming about lake ecology, as well as information about early 20th century railroad operations and the influence of the Great Northern Railroad on the geographic, economic, and social development of Wayzata. Contingent on funding, renovations will begin in 2022, following a design process and continued input from residents.
Lakeshore Learning Center
Give to the Max
Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 by supporting our 2021 Give to the Max campaign. The first $2,500 in donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the Board of the Wayzata Conservancy. This year’s Give to the Max donations will support the restoration and reuse of the Section Foreman House. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
New Panoway Advisory Committee
The City Council has set up an ad-hoc advisory committee that will focus initially on issues related to public safety, operations and maintenance in the new downtown Panoway Plaza Park area. Based on community feedback, the City is currently creating sidewalk images that indicate that the bike path is actually a multi-use path for both bikers and walkers. The new icons should help educate and improve safety in the space.
Successful Completion and Dedication of the 9/11 Memorial
Hundreds of people gathered on the morning of September 11, 2021 to dedicate a memorial honoring the 20th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The memorial honors Wayzata native son Gordy Aamoth Jr, and remembers all who were injured or perished, all volunteers and first responders who united to answer the call, and those who were touched by the events of that day.
Naming & Dedication
The Wayzata Conservancy and the City of Wayzata are providing community members and other project supporters opportunities to be recognized for their support of the Panoway on Wayzata Bay project. Supporters may pay tribute to people, places, businesses or organizations by making a financial contribution to the project. Each gift, and resulting naming or dedication, is subject to the City of Wayzata policy for Naming and Dedication of City-Owned Land and Facilities.
Thank you & Changing of the Guard
The Wayzata Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate and fundraising agency for the Panoway on Wayzata Bay initiative, a public-private partnership with the City of Wayzata. The goal of this initiative is to preserve and enhance the city’s greatest asset, Lake Minnetonka, for future generations and to help improve the lakeside ecosystem with significant benefits to the community.
On behalf of the Wayzata Conservancy Board, thank you for your support of the Lake Effect Plan to implement Panoway on Wayzata Bay. The 2021 board includes new board members Tasha Furst, Tory Schalke, Sarah Dietrich, George Lee, Joy Szarke, Nate Leding, and Dr Charles Yancey. These community leaders join existing board members Blake Sandvold, Dan Koch, Jon Halverson, Barry Carlson, Marnix Guillaume, Frank Bomier, Bob Ambrose, and Kevin Peterson. We are grateful for their leadership and service.
At the end of 2021, I will be stepping down after completing my three year term as Executive Board Chair. Please join me in welcoming Blake Sandvold as the new Wayzata Conservancy Board Chair. I have been working on this initiative for more than a decade – first as a city council member and then as a founding board member of the Conservancy. It has been my privilege to serve my community and I thank you for this opportunity. I plan on remaining actively involved in the project as a volunteer.
J Andrew Mullin
(952) 484- 8159