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‘Paddle & Portage’ will put Glencoe on the map

Glencoe is not a destination city. We don’t have a lake. We don’t have many tourist attractions. We don’t have a lot here that would make a driver pull off the highway and spend the day.
We do have, however, a lot of history. Glencoe is an old community dating back before Minnesota was even a state. But as we continue to tear down old buildings and replace them with newer ones or simply leave another vacant lot, we are losing our history.
On top of that, we have lost the pizazz of Glencoe Days as we continue to whittle away at the annual summer attraction. What once was a three-day celebration, has been pared to less than two days. The jewel of the summer festival was the Glencoe Days Parade, which now pales in comparison to what it once was. Also, we have lost our winter parade as well as the summer Heat in the Street celebration.
We need to come up with something new. But what?
I suggest a “Paddle and Portage” race event. Since we now have an abundance of holding/retention ponds, thanks to the over exuberance of our city fathers in reconstructing the community, we need to capitalize on that new reality.
With each street reconstruction project comes a new holding pond or two. Why not make use of these new holes in the ground and tie them into a community event?
Voila: “Paddle and Portage.”
The idea is simple: Paddle and portage your way from the north end of the community to Buffalo Creek by way of our numerous man-made holes.
While we prayed not to have rain during Glencoe Days (which was futile), now we can pray for rain to fill these ponds in time for the race.
There can be one-person or two-person canoes, kayaks or rubber dinghies. Starting with the Bergmann subdivision ponds in northwest Glencoe, the trip could utilize the yet-to-be constructed county holding ponds near the North Complex.
The aim is to traverse the ponds as quickly as possible, then disembark and lug the watercraft to the next destination. Forget that the portage may range from several blocks to close to a mile and may travel through backyards and across state highways.
Hey, I never said it would be easy.
Once through the county’s yet-to-be constructed pond system, the route can head south into the city’s north central holding ponds, then east to the school pond. Hereafter the portaging gets a bit complex. The watercraft will need to be hauled by hand from around 18th Street near the high school pond south to 13th Street. It would run along the still-to-be completed central storm sewer project to the mega-hole near the mayor’s house.
From there, it is over the railroad tracks (looking both ways, mind you) south to the new and improved pond near City Center. The toughest part may be veering east along 10th Street while portaging the watercraft to the Burger King holding pond. Oh, watch for traffic.
Then the race (portaging) would head west from Burger King to the new, huge holding ponds along 9th Street. But here’s where it gets tricky. How to get across Highway 212 to Buffalo Creek and the finish line?
Portage again, of course. Carrying watercraft across the four lanes of a U.S. highway may pose a safety concern, so a portage to and over the Hennepin Avenue bridge would be in order.
Oh, I forgot. Along the route, large fire hoses will be strategically located to shoot bullheads at the competitors as the ponds are being navigated. A little adversity never hurt, but a flying bullhead may smart a bit. Thus, we can incorporate the “Running of the Bullheads” into the race, too.
Wow. I even impress myself at times.
Then again, there’s that old saying: When you get the urge to do something stupid, go lie down until the urge passes.
I think I need a nap.

(Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.)