What is the Lake Effect Project?

It is a transformative plan for Wayzata’s lakefront that reconnects residents to Wayzata’s greatest asset, Lake Minnetonka. The project includes six elements:

  • The redesign of Lake Street from Broadway to Barry to make it more pedestrian friendly with added space for sidewalk shopping and dining, landscaping and a two-way bike lane on the south side of the street.
  • The transformation of the city’s municipal parking lot at Lake and Broadway into a Plaza Park. This will provide flexibility for multiple uses, increase green space and provide more inviting places to enjoy beautiful lake vistas.
  • Upgraded railroad crossings at Barry and at Broadway. To make the lake more accessible requires improving crossings at the railroad tracks for ease and safety.
  • The Depot Park area will be upgraded to make the entire area more ADA (Americans with Disabilities) accessible, add more green space, inviting places for enjoying lake views and new public restrooms, along with possible minor renovations to the Depot building itself.
  • The Eco Park includes a restored shoreline marsh that beautifies and improves the water quality of this area. With sufficient funds, the section foreman house will be refurbished with a community room honoring the history of the site and an interactive learning center where programming by the Lake Minnetonka Science Collaborative and others can take place.
  • Connecting the park spaces would be a meandering Boardwalk from the Eco Park west to the Depot Park. This will provide direct access to the lake and will include ecological restoration of the shoreline to a more natural state and helps preserve lake quality and beauty for generations to come.

When will the project begin?

The first phase, which is Lake Street and the Plaza Park, will begin construction in the spring of 2019.

How is the project being funded?

It is a public-private partnership between the City of Wayzata and the Lake Effect Conservancy. The public dollars from the City and other organizations such as Three Rivers Parks are funding the redesign of Lake Street and the Plaza Park – Phase One. This includes all the elements north of the railroad tracks. In addition, the City did receive a grant from the State specifically for the upgrade of the railroad crossings – this portion will also be included in Phase One. The Boardwalk, the Eco Park and the Depot Park will be funded with private dollars raised by the Lake Effect Conservancy. It is approximately $5 million dollars of public funding and $10 million dollars of private funding.

Who is designing the project?

Civitas, an award winning landscape and urban design firm based out of Denver, Colorado is designing all aspects of the project with much input and engagement with the City of Wayzata, community members and stakeholders. The design for this project has already received an award by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

What is the area encompassed by this project?

This entire initiative will include almost 3,000 linear feet of lakeshore and over 15 acres of park land. It starts at the Depot and extends east to the Section Foreman House.

Does this project include the Wayzata Beach?

No it does not. Originally when the project was being developed a design for the beach area was considered, but the City Council decided to just focus on the current project area – from the Depot to the Section Foreman House.

Where will the additional docks be that are part of this project?

As a part of this project, the existing “interim docks” will be replaced by permanent wooden docks – approximately in the same location, both at the Depot and the Broadway Railroad Crossings.

How will the Lake Effect Project be incorporated into Wayzata’s current parks and trails system?

As an expansion and enhancement to Wayzata’s existing parks and trails system, the Lake Effect Project is being developed with input from the Wayzata Parks and Trails Board. It is being incorporated into the City’s Parks and Trails Master Plan.

Will there be a bike path incorporated into the project?

With the redesign of Lake Street from Barry to Broadway there will be a separate, two-way bike path added to the southside of the street separating bicyclists from pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The bike lane will allow bikers of all ages to safely travel through and around downtown Wayzata and then west to the beach and directly across Ferndale to the regional Dakota Rail Trail.

How will the area be maintained and funded after it is built?

The total cost for the project includes maintenance and operation expenses for the first ten years of the project.

How will this initiative benefit the ecology?

Through this project, the lakeshore will be restored to a more natural state and holding ponds will be created to improve water runoff management. The result will be a direct improvement to the lake water quality and ecology, as well as intentional restoration and preservation of Wayzata’s shoreline.

What is the Lake Effect Conservancy’s (LEC) mission?

To restore, enhance and protect Wayzata’s lakefront to create a connected accessible community space.

What is the Lake Minnetonka Science Collaborative?

This collaborative is a group of non-profits and agencies that came together around their shared interest in serving youth, the local community, engagement with Lake Minnetonka and learning. From that meeting came a vision of engaging youth in experiential, lake focused learning on Wayzata’s lakefront. The collaborative includes the YMCA, Wayzata Community Sailing Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, Wayzata School District, University of Minnesota, MN Department of Natural Resources, Three Rivers Park District, Interfaith Outreach, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Lake Minnetonka Association and the Wayzata Lake Effect Conservancy. Together they launched the pilot STEM Lake Exploration Camp in the summer of 2018, as an example of the potential for great interactive STEM learning on Wayzata’s lakefront and site of the future Eco Park.

Where can I go for more information or to donate to the Lake Effect Conservancy (LEC)?

If you have additional questions or would like to discuss how you can support the project – either by making a donation or getting involved – you are encouraged to contact: