Panoway On Wayzata Bay

Q: What is the Panoway initiative and project?

A: The Panoway on Wayzata Bay initiative 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 next step in implementing the community’s vision.

Panoway on Wayzata Bay is the City’s initiative to improve, restore and enhance the areas and docks along the shore of Lake Minnetonka in the City of Wayzata, making it safer, more ecologically friendly, and welcoming for visitors approaching the City from all directions using different modes of transportation 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 of Wayzata and its partners.

Panoway now contemplates 3 Phases to complete its vision: Phase 1, Lake Street restoration and its Plaza; Phase 2, a new Lakewalk along the shore, environmental restoration of the Shoreline, rebuilding the City’s public docks and historic preservation of The Section Foreman House as a lakeshore learning center; and Phase 3,

Q: What does the name Panoway mean?

A: Panoway was inspired by the lakeside panorama of the Wayzata shoreline. It also taps into the idea of what the lakefront offers to the community: spanning seasons, generations and activities that bring people together. It will be a place that joins 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 road bed 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 (c3) 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 collaborate with 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 construction, on-going management, programming, and maintenance. The City and 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 and the YMCA.

Q: What is the timeline for future projects?

A: Projects will be initiated as funding is secured and will take several years to complete. Current estimates stretch future projects through 2024 or 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 phases - Future projects or phases are planned to be funded by 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. 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 better connect our downtown with the lake, to fully realize the unique potential of our city.

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 building a lakewalk along the shoreline, restoring the shoreline, rebuilding the transient, public docks, creating a living classroom by renovating the historic Section Foreman House, preserving the Wayzata Depot and creating a living outdoor classroom for outdoor environmental learning.

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,
  • 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 its natural 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 the visionary community of people who 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 trees and gardens to structures, 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.