CIDNA is a neighborhood organization organized exclusively for charitable, educational,
religious, or scientific purposes within the meaning of Section 501c(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code and, within such exclusive limitations, for the specific purpose of
promoting cooperation among its members; insuring its members a voice in civic affairs
affecting the community; developing a sense of individual involvement in the community;
maintaining and improving the physical, social and cultural environment of the
neighborhood; acting as a contact between the neighborhood and other agencies;
reviewing, studying and making recommendations regarding issues of concern affecting
the neighborhood and area, both directly and indirectly. CIDNA is non-partisan, advisory
and educational in nature.
The area of the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood is that part of the City of Minneapolis
bounded by Lake Street on the south; France Avenue between Lake Street and West 24th
Street on the west (portions comprising the border of Minneapolis and St. Louis Park).
The northern and eastern borders are formed by a line drawn as follows: starting at West
24th Street (at the St. Louis Park border), thence east across Cedar Lake to the Burnham
Bridge (that crosses the railroad tracks), thence south along the tracks to the Kennilworth
Lagoon; thence east along southern shore of the Lagoon into Lake of The Isles continuing
east to the channel between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles, and thence south to Lake
Street. CIDNA membership is free to all residents.
Chair: Craig Westgate
Vice Chair: Michael Wilson
Treasurer: Edwin Bell
Secretary: Ryan Fox
Board of Directors:
Craig Westgate, Chair; Michael Wilson, Vice Chair; Edwin Bell, Treasurer; Ryan Fox, Secretary;
Lowell Berggren; Ed Ferlauto; Stephen Goltry; Ray Greco; Rosanne Halloran; Art Higinbotham;
Roger Klimek; David Lissauer; James Reis and Amanda Vallone.
Coordinator: Monica Smith, email@example.com
CIDNA Bylaws (revised March 4, 2003) click here (pdf) to download.
Park Siding Park History
Location: W. 28th Street and Xerxes Avenue South
Size: 1.39 acres
Name: The park name, adopted November 4, 1925, was chosen because the property was adjacent to
the railroad track just west of Dean Boulevard. There was actually a track spur, or “siding” from where
park board equipment and supplies could be unloaded. From 1916, when the park board first leased
the property, it was referred to as the Dean Boulevard Construction Yard or the Nelson Tract after the
name of the company that sold the land to the park board.
Acquisition and Development
The original property of three acres was purchased June 4, 1919 from the Nelson Brothers Paving and
Construction Company for $26,200, payable over ten years.
The property was acquired to provide a storage and work yard, primarily as a paving plant for parkway
construction. The board first leased the space for that purpose in 1916, but park superintendent
Theodore Wirth presented a drawing of the proposed location and arrangement of an “asphalt plant
and storage yard” at that location in his 1915 annual report. However as early as the 1907 annual
report, Wirth had recommended almost the same site for an “oil storage tank” that could be filled easily
directly from railroad tank cars. His plan was to spray the oil on gravel parkways to keep the dust down,
which might be considered an environmental hazard now. He thought oil would be more efficient than
the water used to sprinkle city streets at the time.
In 1915, Wirth estimated that the pavement required for the entire park system at the time was one
million square yards, a volume that would be handled more economically with a modern asphalt plant.
He noted that he already had a portable plant located on the Nelson Brothers’ land before the lease
was negotiated. After only a year of operating under the lease, Wirth recommended in June 1917 that
the park board purchase the land.
The park board initially agreed to pay $32,000 for the property in 1918, but backed out of that deal and
was sued by Nelson Brothers to enforce the agreement. The court determined that the agreement was
not a valid contract and the Nelson Brothers and the park board compromised on a purchase price of
Wirth wrote in his 1919 annual report that the location provided excellent railroad track facilities for off-
loading supplies, and space for shops, storehouses and yards. Perhaps what he left out is most
telling, and may have contributed to the board’s reluctance to proceed with the acquisition at the
original price: asphalt. Wirth’s plans for an asphalt plant were obviated by his conclusion that an
asphalt-concrete mix for parkways was less durable and more expensive than tar macadam. By 1920 it
was obvious that the asphalt-concrete mix used on The Mall and King’s Highway was already in need
of repairs. Wirth also made the case in his 1920 report that “asphaltic concrete” was two to three times
more expensive than tar macadam. His opinion had shifted dramatically from 1916, when he
emphasized the need for an asphalt plant, to 1920 when he stated the standard pavement for the park
system would be a tar macadam surface.
Wirth’s plan when the board finally acquired the railroad siding was to lower the ground near the track
by six feet and use the excavated gravel and sand in the Grand Rounds construction projects then in
planning stages. He speculated that the value of that material would more than cover the cost of the
acquisition. He further noted that the new machinery for grading, ditching and paving to be used in
constructing the Glenwood-Camden Parkway (Victory Memorial Drive), among others, had been
received and was housed in an old building on the park siding property.
This was at a time when extensive road-building had begun on the Glenwood-Camden Parkway, soon
to be followed by either paving or construction at Linden Hills Boulevard, Stinson Boulevard, St. Anthony
Parkway, Minnehaha Parkway and West Lake Calhoun Parkway.
For accounting purposes, improvements to the property were charged against the park construction
fund, rather than the property itself, and are therefore difficult to track from park board reports. The board
did contract with the railroad in 1923 to extend the storage tracks on the property.
Wirth wrote in 1926 that the value of the property to the park board was steadily increasing. The location
of the yard was especially useful for additional road construction on Minnehaha Parkway and the west
side of Lake Calhoun.
A small piece of the property was leased to a private citizen in 1933 and by the 1950’s, with the
exception of a playground for young children, the land was largely unused. The park board staff
recommended in the 1950s that the property be sold. In 1971, a developer was interested in buying the
property and, with the required permission from the District Court to sell the land, it was advertised for
sale. The only bidder was the developer who purchased 1.3 acres of the property for $150,000.
A proposal to rename the park Woodcarvers Park, in 1977, in exchange for the donation of three 25-foot
totem or heritage poles for the park was not accepted by the park board. The park was referred to
informally by park staff as Woodcarvers Park anyway because of the woodcarving shop and school
across the street from the park.
When the park board completely renovated the little park in 1997, it won a design award from the
Committee on Urban Environment. The renovation was financed in part by Cedar-Isles-Dean
neighborhood revitalization funds.
Today the tranquil little park, nestled on a dead-end street among modern townhouses, lies beside not
a railroad track, but a bicycle and pedestrian path. No longer a place to unload railcars, it’s an excellent
place for a breather for cyclists who travel the path the trains once did. No hint remains of the muscular
work of mixing asphalt and building roads.
© Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, 2008, Compiled and written by David C. Smith.
Reprinted by permission of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the author.
For more information:
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board: www.minneapolisparks.org
Minneapolis parks histories: www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1152