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3 Years After Fire, Construction Begins On Lake Bde Maka Ska Pavilion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you're planning to spend time at Minneapolis's largest lake this summer, expect some changes.

Construction is underway to build a new pavilion at Lake Bde Maka Ska three years after the former pavilion burned down.

From the water to the trails, Lake Bde Maka Ska brings Minnesotans outdoors.

"I've been coming here since I've been a child and I very much enjoy bicycling and walking around here," St. Louis Park resident Mark Lapakko said.

In 2019, investigators said hookah embers started a fire at the lake's 90-year-old pavilion, burning it to the ground.

"It was such a tragedy because it was such a meeting, focal point," St. Louis Park resident Laura Bigirindavyi said.

New Lake Bde Maka Ska Pavillon
(credit: City of Minneapolis)

Construction is underway for a new, $8.5 million pavilion with a restaurant. Once complete there will be two buildings, connected by a roof, featuring all gender accessible restrooms year-round, performance space and outdoor seating.

"We are hoping to include some public art and cultural interpretation elements into the building as well," Minneapolis Parks and Recreation design project manager Daniel Elias said.

Elias said the design came from two years of community input with a goal of making it a year-round, welcoming public space.

The biggest inconvenience during construction will be the closure of the boat launch from June 6 until mid-September. The Minneapolis Sailing Center and Wheel Fun Rentals will still operate in the same location. Those with trailered boats will not have access during the summer.

The pavilion is expected to open during summer of 2023.

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