Encourage your group to sponsor Lilac Way’s Rock Island for MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program.
Without it, years of volunteer preservation efforts will stop.
11.26.20. Civic groups, non-profits, businesses and individuals are urged to consider sponsorship of Rock Island.
Raise the profile of your group by supporting a beloved St. Louis Park historic WPA-built wayside park.
This rare Depression-era Lilac Way rock garden is all that remains of the now-lost original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard.
Why does Rock Island need to be in MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program?
MnDOT owns Rock Island. In August 2020, they informed us that no one may perform work such as digging, planting or removing vegetation, posting signs, or making any other changes without approval from MnDOT. Doing so without approval is considered trespassing.
Rock Island volunteer preservation efforts were put on hold. We were disappointed, but MnDOT is responsible for the parks and we respect their request.
If an advocate steps forward to sponsor Rock Island for the Program, those preservation efforts could continue.
Benefits of sponsoring this historic community project
- Raise awareness for your group or organization
- Promote your group’s environmental focus with younger community members
- Communicate with locals at cleanup events
- Give back to your local community
- Create alliances with Restore Lilac Way and other Lilac Way supporters
- You may be eligible for MnDOT’s roadside Sponsor Acknowledgement Sign displaying the name or logo of your organization as a partner
VIEW ROCK ISLAND PHOTO ALBUMS
View MnDOT’s presentation about Rock Island and Sponsorship Program
This online presentation was made to Rock Island’s neighbors on Oct. 24th, 2020 by Andrea Weber, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program and Jessica Oh, Highway Sponsorship Program.
It outlines MnDOT’s scheduled 2021 cleanup project for Rock Island, and reviews the Highway Sponsorship Program.
The scope of the project is largely determined by the sponsor, with approval from MnDOT.
In summary, the sponsor would
- apply for a MnDOT Highway Sponsorship License for Rock Island Park.
- submit a plan/idea for maintaining Rock Island.
- underwrite the full cost of project, including landscaping design, plant materials, installation and on-going maintenance.
- carry $2 million in commercial general liability insurance, and other insurance requirements in the Sponsorship license
- partner with MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program as defined by the Program
Sponsorship activities could include
- creating Rock Island community cleanup events (photos of 2018 event) to
- create pollinator habitat.
- remove weeds.
- install and maintain landscaping.
- remove invasive species.
- utilize existing Rock Island volunteers and supporters.
- include other ideas from your plan, as approved by MnDOT’s program
- promoting Rock Island’s sponsorship amongst your group and community.
- communicating with MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program to sponsor Rock Island.
- communicating with MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program for guidance on plantings and stonework, cleanup advice.
- communicating with Karen Laukkonen at Restore Lilac Way, who will
About MnDOT’s Highway Sponsorship Program
This program partners with local businesses, civic organizations, non-profits and individuals to expand the beauty, livability and environmental sustainability of state highways. If accepted, historic Rock Island will be the first of its kind in the program.
Restore Lilac Way will help Rock Island’s sponsor by
Contact Jessica at MnDOT or Karen at Restore Lilac Way.
Email Jessica Oh at MnDOT Highway Sponsorship Program or call her at 612-430-4762 to chat about your questions and ideas. Jessica will set up an online meeting with potential sponsor groups to outline the program and answer questions.
You can also email Karen Laukkonen at Restore Lilac Way to discuss Rock Island.
GOOD NEWS: MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program has scheduled a 2020-21 cleanup project for Rock Island Park.
According to their website, MnDOT’s plans include:
- Removal of diseased, damaged, volunteer and invasive trees and shrubs near 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
Why doesn’t Restore Lilac Way apply for Rock Island?
Restore Lilac Way is a civic project conceived, written, designed and maintained pro bono by Karen Laukkonen. It is not a 501(c)3 organization. All time and expenses are donated.
Why doesn’t the City of St. Louis Park fix up Rock Island?
MnDOT owns it, and in 2012, the City Council passed a resolution that staff resources or money should not be spent to restore Lilac Way’s Rock Island.
We’re hoping they will review and reconsider that decision to save this historic Lilac Way park built during the Great Depression.
We believe it should be a sister Lilac Way park to restored Lilac Park, which was renovated by the City of St. Louis Park in 2009. It is now under the SLP park system.
View Rock Island photo albums
Rock Island, Summer 2020
Original 1939 pathways and garden beds were uncovered this summer.
Rock Island 2019 Cleanup Day
More than twenty amazing volunteers showed up for this cleanup event.
Rock Island, 2007
Overgrown and covered with leaves, these fall photos show the park’s hidden features.