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The City of Wayzata sits on Wayzata Bay at the head of Lake Minnetonka with beautiful southerly views down the lake. A small, thriving downtown has been experiencing new shops and restaurants while homes have become highly desirable. Yet for over 100 years that City has not had an accessible recreational lakefront. A mainline railroad track has separated the City from the lakeshore, which is made of riprap and is largely inaccessible. In 2015 the City approved the Lake Effect, a Vision and Framework Plan to recapture the Lakefront for residents while enhancing the environmental quality of the lakeshore. Civitas and a team of local consultants led a community process to develop design and costs to create a more beautiful, accessible, healthy, safe, active and ecologically sound lakefront.

The proposed project will widen sidewalks in downtown, providing more space for outdoor sitting and dining in view of the lake. A central downtown parking lot will be paved, planted and furnished to become attractive community space at special times, while remaining as parking on regular hours. A new pedestrian plaza will connect to the Lake Walk, a continuous ribbon of walk, boardwalk and terraces that will finally connect an expanded city park, marina, city beach, playground, gathering spaces, the historic Depot, and a new Eco-Park. The foundations of the project include new and enhanced railroad crossings with state-of-the-art signal and gating systems and roughly 2,000 linear feet of lakeshore restoration to add beauty and ecological function to the damaged area. The Eco-Park will restore a large area of shoreline marshland through an underwater reef system, and will lead to the restoration of an historic shoreline house as an environmental education center. At the town beach, a new swimming and diving platform will be complemented with a new building for food concessions and kayak/paddle/bike rental, along with new public bathrooms, shade structures, fire pits and support furnishings.