The idea of a park in downtown St. Michael took a step closer to reality last week, when the St. Michael city council approved hiring a consultant to create a concept plan for the 5.5-acre parcel of land directly adjacent to the city center building that houses city hall, the library and senior center.
Several community members have agreed to join a task force to assist the consultants, and community development director, Marc Weigle, said he is seeking a few other representatives from local Mom’s Clubs and millennial-age residents to join the committee. These task force members will solicit input from the public and guide the consultants on the park’s design.
Out of four consultants who submitted proposals, Weigle said the city recommended awarding the $25,000 contract to SRF Consulting. SRF has an extensive list of large park projects in its portfolio, including the city of Eden Prairie’s Purgatory Creek Recreation Area, Three Rivers Park North Mississippi Regional Park, Harmon Park in West St. Paul, Blaine’s Town Square Park, Silverwood Park Development in St. Anthony and others.
SRF said the development of this concept plan should strive to accommodate the St. Michael’s special events and serve a wide variety of programming opportunities and park user groups.
“Providing a cohesive vision for Town Center Park will allow for all phases of park development to be seamlessly integrated with the city’s surrounding civic campus,” said Tim Wold, project manager for SRF.
What Will the Park Include?
The task force and SRF Consulting will be working on those details in the coming months, and residents are encouraged to give their input by emailing the city at email@example.com. Weigle said the city has already ruled out any formal ball or soccer fields because there isn’t enough space, and he also said an outdoor pool/aquatics space isn’t likely due to cost of construction and ongoing operations. Some ideas under consideration include: picnic pavilion(s), splash pad, playground, amphitheater/performance stage and pier.
Though the park is 5.5 acres as currently planned, Weigle said it could be expanded north to Frankfort Parkway depending on how the design process goes.
Weigle said the task force will begin to meet later this month or next, and they are tentatively planning an open house in March. After that, he said they hope to have a proposal ready for city council in May of June of this year. If approved, Weigle said the park would likely be built in several different phases starting in 2019, and the timeline for building the park out completely would depend upon park funds and other factors.
City staff will meet with SRF again next week and more information about the process will be forthcoming.