Efforts to save Graeser Park are getting a big boost.

We are thrilled to share five major 2020 updates. Stay tuned for details!

MnDOT reinstalling picnic tables, repairing stonework, removing invasive plants in Graeser Park in 2021

Oct. 10, 2020 – MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program has committed resources to provide Graeser Park repairs and cleanup next summer. Plans include stone masonry repair or stabilization of overlook wall, beehive fireplace, and rock garden trail.

Best of all, MnDOT will restore some of the park’s original disassembled stone picnic tables and benches, using salvaged materials from Graeser as well as from lost Lilac Way parks.

Graeser Park, April 8, 2001. Picnic tables were removed to make room for MnDOT's construction staging. Photo: Marcia Glick.

Robbinsdale’s Graeser Park could be closer to city ownership

Sept. 4, 2020 – CCX Media’s Neil Pursley discussed Graeser Park’s ownership with Robbinsdale City Manager Marcia Glick, as well as MnDOT’s Andrea Weber. Both indicate that they may be getting closer to an agreement.

Once Graeser Park is owned by the City, plans to preserve and restore the park can continue MnDOT’s 2021 work.

Watch the video, or read the transcript. You can also read the CCX article. Length: 3:08. Thanks, Neil!

Robbinsdale Lions Club applying for MnDOT Highway Sponsorship Program

As proud volunteer stewards, Robbinsdale Lions Club volunteers have been working for years to clear paths and stone structures in the rock garden and take out invasive plants and shrubs. They’ve accomplished a lot since first starting in 2008. Now their work is on hold, pending MnDOT approval.

The Highway Sponsorship Program partners with businesses, civic groups, or individuals to expand the beauty, livability, and environmental sustainability of state highways.

Robbinsdale protects the park’s rare beehive fireplace with a rustic fence

If you support saving this park, you’re a Graeser Park Beehiver.

Beehivers include people who use and enjoy the park, those who share the experience of the park through stories and photos, good-hearted souls who help keep the park neat by picking up litter, fans who follow and like Graeser Park on social media, and anyone who wants to see the beehive restored and preserved for future generations.

Graeser Park, Sept. 2, 2020. Rare 1939 beehive fireplace.

Non-profit group will launch fundraising after title is transferred

The Graeser Park Restoration & Preservation (GPR&P) group is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that will launch fundraising after the City of Robbinsdale has received the title for the land (date TBD).

Created by a group of dedicated supporters, GPR&P supports saving this historic Lilac Way park and its rare beehive fireplace. Follow their Facebook group for updates.

Graeser Park, Aug. 1, 2020. Lion Jeannine McDonald sweeps 1939 pathways.

Volunteer cleanup efforts are on hold until the Lions Club is approved for MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program.

MnDOT has informed Restore Lilac Way that volunteer efforts to preserve Lilac Way parks must stop:

“These properties are owned by MnDOT. No one may perform work such as digging, planting or removing vegetation, posting signs, or making any other changes without a permit from MnDOT. Doing so without a permit is considered trespassing.”

We could never get a permit, the requirements are far too extensive. We are hopeful that the Robbinsdale Lions Club is accepted into MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program.

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VIEW ALL GRAESER PARK PHOTO ALBUMS

What 1939 structures could be restored in Graeser Park?

Beehive fireplace
Picnic tables
Rock garden
Limestone benches

Graeser Park’s restoration can happen with

  • Local government involvement
  • Local and national fundraising efforts
  • Community support
  • Tie-ins with local Historical Societies
  • Crowdfunding
  • Corporate sponsorship (but not naming rights—since park is named for Carl Graeser, it’s important to keep name)
  • Strong social media campaigns
  • Matching gift drive
  • and more…

Funding Graeser Park’s restoration will require community support.

Let Lilac Park’s restoration be your inspiration. This 2009 project in St. Louis Park came with a $225,000+ price tag. And Graeser Park is much bigger—with more structures—than Lilac Park.

Picnic tabletops, bases, and limestone saved from MnDOT’s ‘Beehive Graveyard’ can be used to restore Graeser Park.

When MnDOT dismantled three Lilac Way parks for road construction, they saved the fragments, tabletops and bases in the Beehive Graveyard.

Robbinsdale has some of those fragments in storage for safekeeping until they can be used to restore Graeser Park.

How much will it cost to restore Graeeser Park? Estimates will be determined after MnDOT clears the title of the land, and transfers it to the city of Robbinsdale.

Fundraising will take place when property is under City ownership.

Graeser Park, 2020
Maintaining Graeser Park, 2020
Graeser Park, June 2019

The 2020-2029 Robbinsdale Capital Improvement Plan shows $190,000 allocated for Graeser Park Improvements.

Robbinsdale Capital Improvement Plan, 2020-29 (detail). Projects and funding sources for Park System.
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Follow Graeser Park Restoration & Preservation nonprofit group on Facebook.