I live in the Lake Nokomis Neighborhood and one of my clients is McDonald’s Liquor and Wine on 34th Avenue. It was there that I encountered Charlie Casserly, who was stationed outside the store selling buttons for the Autumn Daze Festival (for St. Helena’s Church in South Minneapolis). We chatted about the neighborhood a bit and he let me know that he was actually running for the Park Board and was attempting to save the Hiawatha Golf Course. For those that don’t know, the Park Board is close to closing the Hiawatha Golf course because it’s pumping an amount of water into Minnehaha Creek that is far beyond the level deemed okay (environmentally). No one wants the Golf Course to continue to do that, but according to Charlie there are solutions to that problem that the Park Board didn’t consider (Click Here to read more about that) and so he wants to join the Board in an attempt to delve into those solutions so the people of South Minneapolis, as well as the countless students from Minneapolis Public High Schools, have a place to play and practice. That’s not his only driving force nor the only thing he’d accomplish on the board, but it’s what really struck me as a differentiating factor in terms of who to vote for as it seemed like the Golf course was doomed and it feels like Charlie is arriving at the last second to potentially save the golf course.
I was one of those students that spent countless hours at Hiawatha in High School, as I was technically on the golf team while I went to Minneapolis South (and lettered in that and hockey). I was terrible and often was told to turn in my “real” scorecard because no one believed that someone could shoot > 70 on 9 holes. But, the time I spent at Hiawatha was some of my most fond memories and I can’t imagine that students/players won’t be able to form those memories.
So, with that in mind, I’m endorsing Charlie Casserly for Park Board! He’s also a giant Vikings fan, so that helps! Let’s help spread the word about Charlie so people will vote for him come next month!
To read more about the Hiawatha Golf Course, check out the site SaveHiawatha18.com, they’ve also endorsed Casserly (Or given him a “check-mark”).
So, let’s talk Charlie! Who is he?
Charlie Casserly was born and raised in Minneapolis, and grew up across the street from Lake Hiawatha.
Charlie was a newspaper carrier for the morning Minneapolis Tribune in the early 1970s in the ward. His route was between 50th and 52nd Streets, and 30th Ave. and Woodlawn Blvd. He delivered to all his customers during the “Blizzard of the Century.” Charlie’s first job was icing doughnuts, filling bismarks, and completing orders at world-famous Mel-O-Glaze Bakery, a Minnehaha Parkway tradition on 28th Ave.
Charlie is a product of Minneapolis schools. He attended both Minneapolis public and private schools throughout his youth. John Ericsson, St. Helena’s, South Parks, and Nokomis Jr. High.
Charlie attended Academy of the Holy Angels. He has B.A. in journalism, and an MBA in marketing from St. Thomas.
He wrote this online when I announced I was running for Park Board At Large:
I am announcing I am running for a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board At-Large seat. The biggest issue in this campaign is the possible closing of Hiawatha Golf Course.
Hiawatha Golf Course does not deserve to be closed. It is a punishment which does not fit the “crime” of pumping.
I’ve gone to public meetings about the course since 2013. Only lately has the drum been beaten about actually closing the course. There have been meetings about what to do with the land if they …close it, but none on how to save it.
I haven’t seen this level of laziness by the Park & Recreation Board. You would think if such a vital area of their system were to be in danger of closing, you’d hear more than a “Ho-Hum.”
They won’t try to fix it. They won’t make an effort to save it. They won’t try anything. You would think they would lift a finger and do something.
They’re giving up on the course. This is Minneapolis, we don’t give up!
Hiawatha Golf Course is inclusive: Lots of people from many walks of life enjoy it.
Hiawatha is resilient: It has flooded many times, and recovered many times. That’s the definition of resiliency. It’s a low-lying area, it’s going to flood. It’s supposed to flood. Better the golf course flood than our basements. The pumping is not causing any pollution or ground-water contamination.
Hiawatha is a sustainable as other park board land they mow. If you don’t think mowing is sustainable, we may as well give up our softball and soccer fields, and stop the harvesting of milfoil in the Chain of Lakes.
Lakes Hiawatha and Nokomis are man-made lakes. They were dredged and the golf course was created from the Hiawatha fill. It may be necessary, every 100 years or so, to dredge Hiawatha again, or the creek. Use the fill to bump up low-lying fairways. The lake is filling up. It’s not as deep as it was before. The delta is getting larger since it too was dredged in the 70s, (I watched it being dredged as a boy.)
It was an excellent choice to dredge and create lakes Hiawatha and Nokomis, and it would be acceptable to dredge Hiawatha again to keep our valuable Hiawatha Golf Course.
Hiawatha Golf Course is a neighborhood and Minneapolis treasure. It deserves to stay in its current 18-hole championship format. I’ve been a Ski Ambassador at Hiawatha the few past winters. I grew up across the street from Lake Hiawatha park, lake and golf course.
I work at Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, and I am also Executive Director of the Twin Cities Beach Blast: We brought the Milk Carton Boat Races and Sandcastle Contest back!
I look forward to continuing this discussion in the months ahead.
If you don’t care about Golf, Click Here to see what else Charlie is running for.
You can volunteer for the Casserly for Parks campaign!
- Post a lawn sign in your yard
- Host a meet & greet at your house for a few of your neighbors
- Volunteer to door knock with Charlie
- Drop literature
- Phone calls
- Donate to the campaign!
Contact Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org