Lilac Way’s historic Rock Island park is facing a critical decision: preservation as a public park, or sale to a private developer.
We need help from St. Louis Park residents.
Learn the facts, then scroll down to email the City with just one click.
MnDOT is evaluating options to designate Rock Island park as Surplus Property. If approved, MnDOT would relinquish ownership of this historic 1930s property, including its handcut curved stone bench, footbridge, island, pond and waterfall wall.
This Lilac Way park is located west of Toledo Ave. and south of 28th St. in the Fern Hill neighborhood. Map
Anticipating that Rock Island park will be deemed surplus, MnDOT offered its land to the City of St. Louis Park FOR FREE for public use with first right of refusal.
On September 30th, 2021, MnDOT met with City representatives to review the offer. City staff included Engineering Director Deb Heiser and Planning Manager Sean Walther.
The City must accept or decline MnDOT’s offer by the third week of December.
Rare rock garden is sister park to restored Lilac Park
It is a sister park to restored Lilac Park near Nordic Ware, which features the beehive fireplace that was located just south of Rock Island.
If the City of St. Louis Park ACCEPTS MnDOT’s offer of Rock Island park for free, the park will remain a public park.
If the City DECLINES MnDOT’s offer, MnDOT will sell this historic Lilac Way park as two parcels in a closed bid to a private developer.
Become informed, and tell the City of St. Louis Park that you want this park to be preserved for our community, not sold by MnDOT to a private developer.
Click just one button to write and send your own email to the Mayor, seven Council Members and Restore Lilac Way.
It’s easy. Here’s a sample email to get you started: “I live at (insert your street address) in St. Louis Park. I encourage the City to accept Rock Island park and its surrounding green space from MnDOT for free because (fill in as you would like — your experience with park, family visits, rare historic structures, important green space, native habitat, etc.). I would like my comment to be part of the City staff’s report to Council.” It is important to include this last line so your comment will be in the report and on the record. Please include ‘Rock Island’ in the subject line.
Or if you prefer, you can email them individually to share your support for Rock Island.
Restore Lilac Way
- Karen Laukkonen, Restore Lilac Way – Email
Restore Lilac Way is receiving and saving each email of support
Clicking the button above will send emails of support to the Mayor, City Council and Restore Lilac Way. Each email is being archived by Restore Lilac Way, and will be given to staff to include in their report. This will ensure no emails are missing or lost.
You can also mail a letter to the Mayor and individual City Council Members.
City of St. Louis Park
Attn: (insert name here)
5005 Minnetonka Blvd.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Send your letters to Restore Lilac Way.
Restore Lilac Way
3401 Zarthan Ave S
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Browse the photo album to see the beauty of Rock Island today.
Saved from demolition, Rock Island park was the north end of the 5-acre Lilac Park near Minnetonka Boulevard. The south end of that park was lost to road construction. Thankfully, the beehive fireplace and one stone picnic table were saved from demo, and moved and restored in a new Lilac Park near Highway 7.
Of the seven original Lilac Way parks, Rock Island is one of only three park sections remaining today, and one of only two rock gardens in Minnesota.
The City of St. Louis Park released this statement on Oct. 1, 2021:
“The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has reached out to city staff regarding a parcel of land west of Toledo Ave. and south of 28th St. in the Fern Hill neighborhood. This parcel includes Rock Island, part of the original Lilac Park which was built by the WPA in the 1930s.
MnDOT no longer needs the land and has begun a review process to relinquish ownership. When this process is complete, which can take months to a year or more, SLP will be first in line to have control of the land.
City staff have begun brainstorming possible future land uses that align with our strategic priorities and will bring this information to council in the next 2-3 months. Stay tuned!”