The Como Regional Park Historic Lily Pond, built in 1895, was once “a favorite with the public” according to Park Superintendant Frederick Nussbaumer.
Heated water in the pond once allowed giant Victoria Water Platters to be put on display. However, over the past couple decades, dilapidated conditions of the pond has kept the pond from holding water. Currently, the City of Saint Paul – Parks and Recreation has secured Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Funds to restore the pond. The pond walls and bottom are beyond repair and will be removed in their entirety. The footbridge across the pond is in surprisingly great condition and will be simply tuckpointed where needed and will receive a new railing. The footprint of the new pond will be nearly identical to the existing pond. The pond bottom and walls will be standard concrete and the walls will be topped with fieldstone just as the existing pond is. At the north end of the pond, an overlook has been created with a small water cascade between the trail and the pond. This feature will help circulate the water in the pond. Each bay of the lily pond will have a planting area for aquatic plants normally found in Minnesota lakes such as American Water Lily, Blueflag Iris, Smartweed, and Pickerelweed. The decision to plant these native species in the pond provides a more sustainable approach to the use of the pond. There will be a small water fountain in the south bay for visual interest and to help circulate the water. On the west side of the pond, there will be a seating area with a semicircular pergola on stone pier bases. Ornamental railing and stone piers topped with saucer planters will be located at this seating area as well as at the overlook at the north end of the pond.