Saturday, August 15, 2009

Silverwood Park- My New Hangout

I am beyond excited about this. Across the street from my house there is a large patch of wooded land that used to be a Salvation Army camp when I was a little kid. It was always a source of intrigue for me because, like most little kids, I found nothing so interesting as a "Private Property, Keep Out" sign. We'd sneak over the fence and look around, ducking behind trees when we heard someone coming or paddle over from my friend Geneva's house on the other side of the lake. It was great fun.

Then the camp closed and the lot sat vacant. I, like a lot of people I knew, was afraid that the land would be developed. It's lakeside property in a great school district 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. It's just the kind of place developers love. Fortunately, the county park board bought the land instead to turn into a combination park and center for the arts. The idea is that the park will give Minneapolitans a sort of arts based urban retreat.

The park has been closed for a year and a half for construction and opened this week. They tried to rehab the park in an environmentally friendly way. For example, the visitor's center uses geothermic heating and cooling and the rainwater is directed into a 5000 gallon cistern for reuse and to prevent runoff into the lake. There are also compost and recycling bins next to all the trash cans. The hope is to bring the park to as close to a zero waste facility as possible.

I think this is my new hangout. It has a coffee shop with fair trade organic coffee, compostable cups with recyclable lids, organic, local milk, wifi and a killer view. Excuse the dark pictures, it was a really gloomy day today.

A beautiful patio with rocking chairs and lounge chairs

an outdoor fireplace

And, again, a beautiful view

It has a beautiful event hall overlooking the patio

A gallery with lots of natural lighting (the woodwork is from the trees that had to be taken down in the park's construction)

And an outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts

They are going to have both art classes and nature classes at the visitor's center, both of which I am really interested in.

And then of course there's the hiking, fishing, canoeing, birdwatching, picnicking and walking. And the first Friday family nights and community events. I think this is going to be a huge asset to our community.


  1. No way!! Wow, I have serious park envy. That place looks amazing! And then the photos of the cafe... with the fair trade organic coffee, compost-able cups, local, organic milk, Wi Fi????

    It's like a dream!!

    A huge asset to your community, indeed! How fabulous!!!

  2. OH HOW COOL! Yes, I totally yelled that. What a lovely spot--and kudos to the people in your area who saw a place to preserve, not to exploit for money.

  3. Thanks guys! I am beyond excited. I have been there everyday since it opened and have run into a ton of neighbors. We all agree this is even better than anything we could have asked for when the camp went up for sale. I am so grateful to have such a cool new neighbor!