MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a plan to change Lake Calhoun's name and add improvements around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet.
According to the Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska-Harriet Master Plan, the board will now advocate for the name to be changed back to its original Dakota tribal name, which is Bde Maka Ska. The name change will have to be approved by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Lake Calhoun was named after former U.S. vice president John C. Calhoun, a slavery expansionist who helped instigate the civil war, according to park board vice president John Irwin.
"We don't put things in parks that some parts of our community find offensive, and there are parts of our community now that would find the name John C. Calhoun offensive," said Irwin.
Included in the master plan is $126 million in capital improvement projects to be implemented over the next 25 years around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet.
The first changes will start this summer with improvements to bike and walking paths. The plan aims to eventually add a land bridge over W Lake Street to make Lake Calhoun more accessible to foot traffic coming from Lake of the Isles.
At Lake Harriet the park board wants to eliminate car traffic on the lower road on the east side of the lake, instead turning it into a two way bike trail.