Wayzata Lake Effect

About the Lake Effect Project

Designed by award winning Denver-based landscape and urban design firm Civitas, the Lake Effect Project is a proposed new park along Wayzata’s lakefront. It will reconnect residents to one of Wayzata’s greatest assets and identity, Lake Minnetonka.

Lake Effect Project will provide a vastly improved lakefront that will be more ecologically healthy, more beautiful, and more accessible for Wayzata residents. People will be able to stroll, sit, or put their toes in the water along the shoreline. For the first time in 100 years, people will be able to safely cross the railroad tracks and walk the length of the downtown lakefront. The park’s benefits go beyond the human experience: the lakeshore will be restored to its natural condition and the quality of rainwater that flows into the lake will be improved.

Project Details

The project extends from the Section Foreman House to the Depot and from Lake Street to the water’s edge. A meandering continuous boardwalk, the Lake Walk, will extend from the Broadway community docks to the historic Depot. Along the length is a series of elevated terraces providing many opportunities for residents to sit along the lake edge and dip their toes in the water. The entire shoreline will be restored to its natural ecological state.

To the east of the Lake Walk is a proposed Eco Park, a restored historic shoreline marsh that also serves to improve water quality. A pier extends into Lake Minnetonka and an environmental education center is housed within the historic Section Foreman House, providing a convenient location for local schools to come and learn about diverse ecosystems as well as an intergenerational community center.

Lake Street will be redesigned to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, with a signature urban park replacing the Broadway Municipal parking lot. This year round park space will include café seating, a retail kiosk, landscaping and shade trees to create a relaxed urban experience with expansive views of Lake Minnetonka. The space will be highly adaptable to support a variety of community events.

Lake Effect Schematic Design Approved

The Wayzata Council approved a contract with Civitas to move forward with the design of implementation plans and construction documents for the Lake Effect Project on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

The Lake Effect project, a strategic initiative by the City of Wayzata which has been developed through several years of engagement collaboration with the community, will be located along the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka---extending from the Section Foreman House to the historic Depot Park. The project includes the following improvements:

On the east side, an Eco Park with a restored shoreline marsh, will also serve to improve the water quality. A pier will extend into Lake Minnetonka and an interpretive center is planned within the historic Section Foreman House.

A meandering, continuous boardwalk from the Eco Park, past the Broadway community docks, to the historic Depot Park area, which will also be renovated.

Lake Street will be redesigned to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly with a multi-use plaza, replacing the Broadway Municipal parking lot.

“It has been an honor working closely with this thriving community to understand and implement their needs toward this change in how they celebrate and protect their community’s greatest asset, Lake Minnetonka,” says Civitas Principal Scott Jordan. “We see waterfront parks as investments in healthier communities, economies and habitats, and are excited to move forward on revitalizing Wayzata’s lakefront.” Denver based urban design and landscape architecture firm Civitas is known for creating such successful completed waterfront projects such as the Port of San Diego's North Embarcadero and Calgary, Alberta's St. Patrick's Island Park, which has won the firm multiple awards including the 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront Award from the nonprofit Waterfront Center.

As the City of Wayzata moves forward with the Lake Effect Project, this year is dedicated to the design and development of the entire project and construction is slated to begin in 2019 on the Lake Street and plaza components. “The City is fortunate to be working with a nationally renowned design firm like Civitas to bring this important project to life,” says Mayor Ken Willcox. “They have a remarkable record. Also critical to the success of this endeavor will be the work of the members of the Lake Effect Conservancy and our community partners.”

Outside of the Lake Street and plaza streetscape improvements, the balance of the project is to be funded by a public/private partnership between the City and the Lake Effect Conservancy (LEC). The LEC is a 501 (c) 3, established to raise private funds and to advocate for the Lake Effect project – a transformation of the Wayzata lakeshore.

DRAFT Dates and Milestones

• May 2016

Lake Effect Schematic Design Accepted by the City Council

• August 2016

Lake Effect Conservancy Established

• August 2016

Project Scope Approved by City Council

• August 2016 - April 2018

 Environmental Assessment, maintenance and operations cost estimate, agreement with BNSF Railroad

• June 5, 2018
City Council Workshop to discuss design validation of Lake Street, Lake Street Plaza, and Depot Park
• June 19, 2018
City Council action on design validation of Lake Street, Lake Street Plaza, and Depot Park
April - September 2018

Design development/construction documents and permitting

• October - December 2018

Final cost estimates and phasing

• January/February 2019

Construction begins if funds secured

Design First Phase Construction Timeline 

 Wayzata Lake Effect_Design Phase Services (1)

Project Contacts

Jeffrey Dahl, City Manager 952-404-5309

Jeff Thomson, Planning and Building Director 952-404-5312