Kenwood considers calling for temporary closure of Hidden Beach
|Nick Vlcek for City Pages|
|Hidden Beach isn't as hidden as it once was, but neighbors are fed up with all the pot smoking, drinking, and nudity that goes down there.|
During a special meeting tonight, the Kenwood Isles Area Association will consider whether to support a resolution calling on the Minneapolis Park Board to temporarily close Hidden Beach, the Southwest Journal reports.
The measure would be a response, in part, to crime problems there. As of last month, there had been 60 police reports written this year pertaining to incidents at the beach, which is about twice as many as at this time last year, according to the Southwest Journal. (But while crime is up relative to last year, it's on par with 2011 and '12, the Journal adds.) Most of this year's reports pertain to drinking or pot smoking and/or possession.
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We called Minneapolis Park Board spokesperson Dawn Sommers for comment. She pointed out that Hidden Beach only became a city-authorized beach in 2007, and that part of the motivation for making it legit was to quell some of the illicit partying and nudity for which the beach was known.
Back in the summer of 2008, we discussed the transition of "the Twin Cities' most infamous party spot" to the entity now officially known as East Cedar Beach in our feature story, "The Legend of Hidden Beach."
Sommers referred further questions to Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb, who didn't immediately return a voicemail seeking comment. Neither did Larry Moran, chair of the Kenwood Isles Area Association, though we'll update if and when we hear back.
An email distributed over the weekend by the Kenwood Isles Area Association (and published by the Southwest Journal) says, "Despite frequent police patrolling this summer (funded in part by KIAA) and the addition of a video camera at the park's entrance since the July meeting, the problems have multiplied. We believe both the Park Police and the MPD are doing a great job and support them in their work, but more needs to be done."
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Reached for comment, Kenwood chair Moran says he wants to make a point of inviting Hidden Beach users who don't live in the neighborhood to come to tonight's meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Kenwood Recreation Center.
"We can complain to the police, which we've done, but it's the people who use that beach that are actually going to have to change it," Moran tells us. "We can't police ourselves out of this problem."
Moran says the issues at Hidden Beach go beyond people peacefully smoking pot or having a beer.
"There are people running into parked cars with their cars," he says. "Property crime goes up in the summer with Hidden Beach. It's on par with the past, but that's not very good."
"I live six blocks away and it's happening in our part of the neighborhood," he continues. "Seventy-five percent of the police reports aren't from Minneapolis [people]. Those people are causing the problems and they have become dangerous problems, with drunk drivers driving into parked cars. Lots of kids live in that neighborhood."
That said, Moran says he's not in favor of closing Hidden Beach for good, though not everyone in his neighborhood is of that opinion.
"There are some people who would like to see it closed and go back to nature, and that is one of the options -- to close it entirely," he says. "Some want to close it for the rest of the summer, others want to close it after 4 or 5 or 6 -- there are all sorts of iterations coming in. [But] I think at least most of the people I've talked to have said they don't want to close the beach because it's an asset."
But Moran, citing a recent incident where he claims 150-200 kids were still hanging out at the beach at the 10 p.m. closing time, says the status quo can't be maintained.
"I would like to see it changed, but not eliminated," he says. "We don't want to prevent people from coming, but if you use it you gotta be able to use it right."
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.