The St. Michael city council decided to press the hold button on the development of Town Center Park, which will be adjacent to the City Hall/Library/Senior Center building. The city had originally hoped to begin work on phase one this year. Marc Weigle, the city’s community development director, said the hold-up is attributed to a lower than anticipated fund balance in the city’s park fund due to some delays and/or uncertainties with proposed residential projects. Council had wanted $700,000-$800,000 set aside for Town Center Park before giving a green light to the first phase of the park, which is estimated to cost $1.8 million. Weigle said they anticipate a year-end balance of $935,000 in the park fund, but he said some of that money is dedicated to other park and trail projects.
The first phase of Town Center Park includes three main amenities: a playground ($350,000), splash pad ($250,000) and bathroom facility ($500,000). It also includes grading of the entire site, utilities, a parking area and a trail loop within the park.
Weigle said that two or three future groups of improvements would complete the park plan, with a total completed cost estimated to be around $4 million. Those future additions include improvements to four different areas of the park:
South End – south parking lot, smaller picnic shelters, additional furniture
North End – large pavilion, pickleball courts, north parking lot
Southeast Corner – small shelter/amphitheater, dock/pier, boardwalk, patio enhancements
Trail Loop – trail, benches, and lighting around entire pond
Park Fund Shortfalls
For 2019, each residential unit built in St. Michael brings in a park fee of $3,200. The city feels that Lennar’s upcoming development near Fieldstone Elementary is on solid footing to go through, which will include 179 single family homes. City council approved the development’s preliminary plat and PUD at their last meeting. Other developments, such as Lakeshore Preserve, Tributary Crossing and Creekside Estates, will continue to fill in as well. However, the city is waiting on news of two proposed apartment concept plans in the Town Center area that would play a large role in funding Town Center Park. One is the four-building, 204-unit Town Center apartment complex that the city approved last year. The second project is a concept plan for a mixed-use apartment and fitness facility off MacIver Ave. that Asguard, LLC brought to council last fall. The city has not received any concrete plans for this proposed project to date.
At this point, Weigle said the city hopes that additional construction projects going through in 2019 will bring additional park dedication funds, which could allow them to go out for bids next winter to complete the park’s first phase in 2020.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what actually takes place,” he said.