The Wayzata City Council unanimously approved the schematic design and permit for alterations to the Section Foreman House during a regular meeting on May 17.
City staff, along with representatives from design firm Cushing Terrell, presented renderings and layouts of what is to come for the historic building. This includes the preservation and restoration of the house as a historic site, as well as alterations to make it accessible for all visitors.
The house will become a learning center for children, with activities taking place inside and outside of the structure. Programming will be held on the first floor of the house, with the basement and second floor used for storage and maintenance. There is room for about a dozen people to take part in indoor gatherings.
As for alterations, two doors will be widened and a ramp will be installed on the east side for accessibility. The north-side facade will be kept structurally as is.
To maintain the historic feel of the house, documentation was collected about its history from inception to today.
“Great advocacy efforts were made,” said Quentin Collette, director of New History, a consulting firm. “The historical significance of this building has been celebrated and recognized.”
The celebration and recognition Collette referred to included the city designating the building a heritage preservation site in 2020. Then in 2021 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The estimated cost of construction and improvements to the Section Foreman House is $1.325 million, which will be funded through private donations. This estimate includes 10 years of operation and maintenance with inflation taken into account. It does not include the installation of fire suppression equipment at an estimated $40,000 cost, which the council also opted to approve at the recommendation of staff.
BNSF Railway pledged a $25,000 grant toward the house for signage.
“I like the simplicity of what I see,” Mayor Johanna Mouton commented. “Most importantly we are able to resurrect a piece of history where there are so few left. And put it to such amazing use and that is the education of all children from around the area.”
The address of the Section Foreman House is 738 Lake Street East, Wayzata, MN 55391
Following the approval of the schematic design and alterations of the Section Foreman House, the council also approved a zoning amendment creating a new district called “Parks and Open Spaces.” The zoning amendment passed its first reading, which will codify the zoning requirements of 11 parks and 15 open spaces in Wayzata.
Parks planner Nick Kieser said this move will add another layer of protection to the city’s parks in the case of those properties being sold or a future council wishing to redevelop. If either scenario would happen, the property in question would need to go through a rezoning process and public hearing, allowing for public input.
“All of the development that happens within these park parcels are incorporated in the Parks and Trails Master Plan,” Kieser said. “This zoning is not changing anything proposed in the master plan. It’s just rezoning it into what the Parks and Trails Master Plan intends to achieve.”
The proposed zoning change went through a Zoning Task Force review twice, two Parks and Trails Committee reviews, a community meeting in March and a review by the planning commission in April.
All of the property being converted to the new zoning district is city owned property. Kieser noted the intention is to include the Panoway to this zoning classification in the future.
In other business
The council unanimously approved on-sale and Sunday on-sale liquor licensing for Macanda, a new Mexican restaurant opening soon at the former Wayzata Brew Works location at 294 E. Grove Lane.
The restaurant’s planned operating hours are 3-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Aaron Switz, co-owner of Z&H Boatworks which will operate Macanda, said the restaurant will seat 80 people inside plus 17 at the bar, and another 70 to 90 people on the patio. The target opening date is June 21.
“I own a bunch of restaurants in town,” Switz said. “This one is more of a high-end Mexican food with an interior that makes people feel like they are on vacation.”
City manager Jeff Dahl said the police department completed a background check on the applicant, site and the use being requested by permit. They found no issues with approving the permit.