As winter extended well into spring this year, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) had to delay a range of spring park care and maintenance.
Even after snow melts, much of this seasonal work requires the ground to be thawed out and dry. For example, on an athletic field it can take five to seven days of 50-degree daytime temperatures for frost to thaw, then another five to seven days for the field to drain and dry out enough for play.
The long winter has lengthened the delays in preparing the parks for spring and summer. These preparations include:
- Tree planting – Young trees delivered for planting in parks and along city streets will remain in storage until the ground is sufficiently thawed.
- Hockey rink removals – The brackets that support rink walls will remain until the ground is sufficiently thawed and dry; removing them while the ground is frozen or wet will damage the fields.
- Athletic fields – Baseball and softball games for Minneapolis Public Schools teams have been cancelled until the MPRB fields they use are sufficiently thawed and dry. As of mid April frost on some fields still measured eight inches deep.
- Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary – Scheduled to open April 1, it remains closed until trails are free of ice and snow and sufficiently dry for foot traffic.
- MPRB golf courses – These will remain closed until the ground is thawed and seasonal preparations are complete.
- Drinking fountains, restrooms, decorative fountains – These amenities will remain closed until nighttime temperatures are consistently above freezing; after that, starting up these 300-plus plumbing systems throughout the parks may take up to eight weeks.
- Unpaved trails – These include trails for bikes and pedestrians in Theodore Wirth Regional Park. They remain closed as the annual freeze/thaw period continues. Obey trail closure signs and do not ride, hike, snowshoe or run on unpaved trails until temperatures are consistently above freezing and the trail tread is dry.
- Webber Natural Swimming Pool – Several inches of ice remain in the pool and must fully melt before annual draining and cleaning can begin.
Watch for updates as conditions improve; in the meantime, get outside and enjoy the paved trails and parkways, playgrounds and recreation centers throughout the park system.