The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the Loppet Foundation celebrated the beginning of construction on the Trailhead building at Theodore Wirth Regional Park in a festive groundbreaking ceremony on June 8.
The crowd of supporters who attended the event at the site of the new building included staff and leaders from the MPRB and the Loppet Foundation, volunteers, donors and youth who participate in the Loppet’s robust programming at the park.
The Trailhead will be located southwest of the Wirth Chalet (1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway). It was included in the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan, which calls for an area devoted to lifetime outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, trail running, mountain biking and hiking. The Master Plan was approved by MPRB Commissioners on March 4, 2015 after a five-year public engagement process that included dozens of public meetings.
The 14,000-sq-ft, $11.6 million building will create a jumping-off point for year-round outdoor activities in Minneapolis’ largest park. The Trailhead will function as a place for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds to come together and enjoy the outdoors amidst a thriving urban metropolis.
Building highlights include: A café and large gathering space; rental space available for events; bike and ski shop for park users to purchase or rent equipment and supplies for outdoor adventures; a strength and conditioning room; locker rooms and public restrooms; and Loppet Foundation offices.
The building will serve as a health club of sorts where the equipment is the natural world. The Loppet Foundation will offer cross-country ski and mountain bike lessons as well as equipment rental.
This project will also create a new cross-country ski and mountain bike skills learning area that will be used for instruction and as a staging area for events. Other site improvements include additional parking, an outdoor patio, increased snowmaking capabilities and approximately four miles of new mountain bike trails.