Panoway On Wayzata Bay

Q: What is the Panoway initiative and project?

A: Panoway on Wayzata Bay will restore, protect and enhance treasured Wayzata assets for our community and broader region, its downtown lakefront and playground, Lake Minnetonka. Born as a municipal utility need in 2012, Panoway grew out of the City of Wayzata Lake Effect initiative which represented a monumental effort to gather input and develop a new vision for the Wayzata lakefront.

Panoway is the City’s plan to improve, restore and enhance the areas and municipal docks along the northern shore of Lake Minnetonka, making it safer, more ecologically friendly, and welcoming for Wayzata’s residents and visitors while improving access to and along the shore. Owned by the City of Wayzata, Panoway is a public space programmed, maintained, and operated by City and its partners.

The project contemplated what has become three ever-morphing Phases to complete its new vision: Phase 1, Lake Street infrastructure rebuild with a new public Plaza; Phase 2, a new Lakewalk along the shore and rebuilt public docks; and Phase 3, historic preservation of the Section Foreman House as an environmental learning center, a new Eco park with environmental restoration of the Shoreline, and reimaging the Depot Park with its gardens and model railroad.

Q: What does the name Panoway mean?

A: Panoway was inspired by the panorama of the Wayzata shoreline. It expands the idea of what the lakefront offers to the community; spanning seasons, generations and activities that bring people together. It will join families, friends and communities through shared experiences in one of the state’s most treasured places.

Q: What was the focus of Phase 1 of Panoway?

A: To meet its municipal utility need, Phase 1 included reconstructing the sewers, sidewalks and roadbed of Lake Street from Ferndale Avenue to Broadway Avenue to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly; creating a beautiful, multi-use Plaza Park near the lakefront, replacing the existing surface parking lot at Lake Street and Broadway Avenue; and extending the Dakota Rail Regional Trail safely across Ferndale Road to Broadway.

Q: What is the role of the Wayzata Conservancy?

A: The Wayzata Conservancy is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation whose mission is to support the implementation of Panoway by undertaking efforts to raise private funds, advocate for the support and long-term success of the project and provide input for the City of Wayzata. The Wayzata Conservancy is required to seek appropriate approvals and abide by the direction of the Wayzata City Council. The City of Wayzata is the owner of land and public improvements and is responsible for all decisions relating to construction, on-going management, programming, and maintenance. The City and The Conservancy welcome and work with additional partners approved by the City to advance the project’s mission, including both public and private agencies such as Three Rivers Park District, the YMCA of the North and Wayzata Community Ed.

Q: What is the timeline for future projects?

A: Projects will be initiated as funding is secured and will take several years to complete. Phase 2 including the Lakewalk and municipal Broadway and Depot Docks will be opened in early summer of 2024. Current estimates stretch future projects through 2025.

Q: How is Panoway being funded?

A: Recognizing that the funding to support the scale and quality envisioned by the community goes beyond the likely sources of Public Funds available, the City of Wayzata recognizes the need to facilitate public fundraising and collaborate in The Wayzata Conservancy’s efforts to raise private funds for the project through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Click here to learn more about this Public-Private Partnership.

While a small percentage of the project is funded within the City’s Capital Improvement Budget (CIP), the majority looks to State Bonding and Grants, County Grants and private funds.

Future projects or phases will be funded through private sources (individuals, families, foundations and corporations) and additional regional & state public funding.

Q: Why do we need this kind of investment when the lakeshore is already beautiful?

A: Panoway is aimed at making sure we protect and enhance the lakefront now and for future generations. Reclaiming the parking lot use along Lake Street for more pedestrian and environmentally friendly uses has been central to the City’s vision. We need to act now to restore and sustain the ecosystem of the lake, which has been impacted by area growth over time. We also want to take steps that will provide better access to and from the lake, to fully realize the unique potential of our city for all.

Q: Does this project include the Wayzata Beach?

A: No. Originally when the project was being developed a design for the beach area was considered, but City Leadership decided to focus on the current project area – from the Depot to the Section Foreman House.

Q: Who designed the project?

A: Civitas, an award-winning landscape and urban design firm is designing all aspects of the project with much input and engagement with the City of Wayzata, community members and stakeholders. The design for this project has already received several awards by the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Waterfront Center.

Q: What projects are part of future phases?

A: Future phases include restoring the shoreline, creating important classrooms for environmental learning by renovating the historic Section Foreman House, creating a living outdoor classroom for ecological learning, preserving the Wayzata Depot, expanding gardens throughout the project and improving the model railroad.

Q: How will the area be maintained and funded after it is built?

A: The total cost for the project includes maintenance and operation expenses for the first ten years of the project.

Q: How will Panoway impact the environment?

A: The growth of Wayzata and the popularity of the lakefront has taken a toll over the years. Flourishing residential, business and recreational communities have impacted water quality, plant and animal life, and the overall health and well-being of Lake Minnetonka.

The Panoway initiative will take needed steps to reverse this trend, supporting the environmental needs of the lake while still enhancing the community’s access to this important resource. The project will restore the shoreline to a more natural state and make improvements to address other critical issues.

The environmental improvements include:

  • Reintroducing and supporting native plant life and habitat for wildlife,
  • Planting hundreds of new trees,
  • Introducing more than 5,000 square feet of new pollinator habitat,
  • Restoration of more than 1,000 linear feet of lake edge,
  • Building an underwater “wave break” to protect shoreline vegetation from large waves produced by heavy winds and large boat wakes.
  • Developing holding ponds to improve and treat rainwater runoff,
  • Developing up-to-date irrigation technology to reduce water consumption; and
  • Converting 12,000 square feet of paving along Lake Street back to a more environmentally friendly state.

Q: How will Panoway impact downtown commerce?

A: Wayzata has seen significant growth in recent years, attracting new businesses and restaurants to Lake Street. Panoway will build on this momentum. The redesign of Lake Street will attract more visitors to downtown and will encourage them to spend more time exploring the shops and restaurants as well as the lakefront.

Creating a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly downtown is critical to the future growth of Wayzata. Throughout the planning and development of Panoway, the business community has been very supportive of the vision and the possibilities for the newly redesigned Lake Street area.

Q: How can I help?

A: There are so many ways to support the Panoway initiative and every gift makes a difference. No matter how you choose to give, you’ll be joining a visionary community of people who will protect and nurture this extraordinary public space. We also need volunteers so please contact us to get involved.

Wayzata has a longstanding tradition of offering opportunities for residents to create dedications or memorials for friends and loved ones. Panoway on Wayzata Bay will include numerous possibilities to sponsor the features and amenities ranging from structures to gardens, docks and pathways. The Panoway naming and recognition effort will help preserve our history and tell the stories of Wayzata’s past, present and future.