Yet another hurdle may be created in the path to reduce the number of holes at Hiawatha Golf Course (HGC) to improve flooding issues at the course.
The Hiawatha Golf Course Area Master Plan goes further than just reducing the number of holes from 18, to nine, but for years it’s been met with contention.
A main reason for that is because of its historical meaning for the African American community. The golf course was the first in the city to allow Black golfers to play – the club house is named after the man that convinced the course to end its segregation policy in 1948, Solomon Hughes.
It’s that very thing that may land it on the National Register of Historic Places.
Following a nomination filed with the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the historic golf club is now eligible for the federal register.
“It is something to be celebrated,” Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of Washington D.C.-based non-profit The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) said, adding: “It is something that as stewards, we should all do our best to manage in such a way that that continuity of use on 18 holes continues going forward.”
In March, the TCLF designated the HGC as one of their Landslide sites. Birnbaum said about the designation, “When something becomes officially registered in our landslide program, we monitor it in perpetuity until it’s either saved or sadly, on occasion lost.”
According to TCLF the application that led to the National Register of Historic Places nomination was filled out by Minneapolis-based Hess, Roise and Company, commissioned by Minneapolis-based non-profit Bronze Foundation and paid for by a private donor.
Birnbaum said if the SHPO moves the application forward, it would go before the State Review Board in early 2023, and could be with the National Park Service for the final decision as early as spring 2023.
All of this is happening as a full park board vote on the master plan is expected September 7 – on Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) planning committee approved the plan.
Birnbaum says if the plan is approved by the full park board, the process moving the course to the national registry continues – adding if HGC makes it on the National Register of Historic Places, the master plan would likely change.
Sunday night, the MPRB did not respond back to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS’ request to discuss this development.
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