Residents fight to save Edina waterfall

- The dam in Arden Park has been there since the late 1930s.

Now residents are worried a park improvement plan could get rid of a beloved landmark.

Every other day, Mack Hoekstra hangs out along Minnehaha Creek with his rod and reel.

But the nine-year-old is concerned some possible changes could ruin his favorite fishing hole.

"It's just fun to be here and there's a lot of fish. I caught a 32-inch northern here," Hoekstra said. "I think it's good the way it is right now."

The City of Edina and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District want to remove a four-foot dam in the park that would do away with the waterfall that flows under the 54th Street Bridge.

District officials say it's part of a $4 million project to improve the park that would change the creek's path from a straight line to a curvier one, and reduce algae growth, lower the water temperature and allow fish to swim upstream instead of getting stuck at the fishing hole.

"The dam will change. It will be gone. It'll be replaced with rock rapids and a more natural looking stream, but it's a change that concerns people," Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Planner and Project Manager Renae Clark said.

In fact, about 100 neighbors showed up at a Tuesday night rally at the park to save the waterfall.

They're concerned the improvements would destroy what they call a "neighborhood treasure" that would make Huckleberry Finn feel right at home.

"We're all for improving Arden Park. It's been neglected for a long time. We want to see it improve, but we don't want to see it improve at the cost of the waterfall," rally organizer Stan Davis said.

Since sediment would fill in the fishing hole, Hoekstra isn't ready to let the park improvement plan off the hook just yet.

"I hope they don't, but they probably will," Hoekstra said.

The Edina City Council will consider the plan at its June 6 meeting.

If its approved, construction on the park renovation would start next year and finish up the year after that. For more information about the project, click here.

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