Great news—MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program has scheduled a cleanup project for this 1939 Lilac Way park.
Funding was allocated in response to park supporters
After speaking with Rock Island supporters and learning of increased community interest, Historic Roadside Property Program (HRPP) Manager Andrea Weber dedicated funding to improve St. Louis Park’s Rock Island.
MnDOT owns Rock Island, this is not City of SLP land.
MnDOT is making an exception to help Lilac Way parks.
MnDOT’s HRPP prioritizes funding for parks on the National Register of Historic Places. Even though Rock Island and Graeser Park in Robbinsdale are not on the Register, Andrea allocated resources to help.
Due to major changes, Rock Island will never be eligible for the register. We are so grateful to Andrea for her efforts.
MnDOT’S proposed scope of work for Rock Island
According to their website, MnDOT’s plans include:
- Removal of diseased, damaged, volunteer and invasive trees and shrubs near the rock garden and in NE corner of site
- Modifications to path mowing
- Supplemental shrub plantings may be added in the NE corner in the future
- Repair of loose stone masonry in rock garden area for safety
- Potential interpretive signage
- Timeline: fall 2020 (weather dependent) or spring-fall 2021
Can people still visit Rock Island?
Yes. Visitors should be respectful of the park’s history. MnDOT has asked specifically that rocks and pieces of limestone are not moved around in the park.
Can volunteers still weed and cleanup Rock Island?
No. MnDOT has informed us that due to liability issues, no one may perform work such as digging, planting or removing vegetation, posting signs, or making any other changes. Doing so without a permit is considered trespassing.
Want to help? Rock Island is looking for an individual, business, civic group or non-profit organization to apply to MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program.
Without approval from this MnDOT program, volunteer cleanup efforts cannot continue. Contact Karen at Restore Lilac Way.
Why doesn’t the City of St. Louis Park ask MnDOT to transfer Rock Island to them, like they did for restored Lilac Park near Nordic Ware in 2009?
We’re hoping they will reconsider, and decide to save this rare Lilac Way park built in 1939. It is a sister park to restored Lilac Park that was saved by SLP in 2009, and deserves to be under the SLP Park system.
Why is this happening now?
Andrea Weber, licensed Landscape Architect, has been Manager of MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program since 2018. This program leads the management, protection and preservation of properties with historic features and which are historic designed landscapes along highways within MnDOT right-of-way.
The Historic Roadside Property Program uses the Secretary of Interior Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. These standards are common-sense historic preservation principles that promote best practices.