Blaine commissioners like idea of possible park combo

by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

Blaine park commissioners liked the idea of combining two parks after listening to a Feb. 28 presentation by Jim Kappelhoff, park and recreation director.

This map shows the residential area and Savanna Grove Park in northeastern Blaine. Park board commissioners recently received a planning update about Legacy Creek Park, a 1.68-acre park which will be built on undeveloped land. A trail would connect the two parks. Blaine Park Board commissioners liked the idea of combining two parks after listening to a Feb. 28 presentation by Jim Kappelhoff, park and recreation director. Graphic courtesy Blaine GIS

The Legacy Creek development is located north of 125th Avenue and east of Harpers Street, adjacent to the Savanna Grove second addition, Kappelhoff said.

Majestic Financial, the new owners of the Legacy Creek, received city approval for a new single family plat. A 1.68-acre outlot has been deeded for a city park.

According to Kappelhoff, the approved plat has 25 single-family lots.

Legacy Creek has been in the city’s park capital improvement plan (CIP) since 2004 and was proposed for development in 2007.

The CIP is a flexible plan based upon long-range physical planning and financial projections.

Improvements listed in the plan are proposed and must come back to the park board for review and recommendation to the city council, which makes all capital improvement decisions.

Kappelhoff said the Legacy Creek concept plan includes a half basketball court, shelter, playground and landscaping.

Residents living near the proposed park as well as Savanna Grove have told the city they want the new park built as soon as possible.

Savanna Grove currently serves as a passive park and Legacy Creek is planned as an active park with different types of equipment. The parks will be connected by a trail currently running through Savanna Grove.

According to Kappelhoff, Legacy Creek is considered a priority project for 2012 in the CIP and is budgeted at $175,000. There are two development options.

Option 1 would involve neighborhood residents from beginning to end of the development of the park process but would take longer to finish, Kappelhoff said.

A neighborhood park survey would be conducted this month and results presented to the park board. A neighborhood meeting would be conducted in April.

Kappelhoff said city staff will have concept plans prepared based on results from the neighborhood park survey and mail out the concepts to the neighborhood residents.

A second neighborhood meeting would occur in May to determine the best choice of concept plans by the residents.

Bids would be let in June.

The city council would be asked to approve the low-bid contract in July with construction starting in August. The park would have a September completion.

Option 2 would involve neighborhood residents but with a proposed park concept already in place.

Residents would have the opportunity to ask questions, make comments or suggest changes.

They could also advise eliminating the park plan. This option shortens the park development process, Kappelhoff said.

During a meeting later this month, city staff would present the park concept plan from SRF Consultants that was developed in 2007.

At this meeting, residents would be able to ask questions, make comments, suggest changes or eliminate the park plan.

In April, a proposed park plan will be recommended to the park board; this plan would be based on comments and changes at the neighborhood meeting.

In May, bid advertisements for park construction would be published.

In June, the low-bid contractor would be suggested by the board and approved by council. Park construction would start in July have an August completion.

Jerry Walthour, Blaine Park Board chairman at large, had concerns about using the existing concept plan because it was five years old. He liked Option 2.

“It would cut down on the time,” Walthour said. “This has been on the [planning] books for eight years almost nine, I think it’s about time we get it done.”

Commissioner Rex Markle also liked Option 2, but wanted to see additional parking. Commissioner Jeffery Bird asked Kappelhoff about combining the parks.

“What’s staff’s reasoning behind creating a separate park?” Bird asked.

“Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to combine those two parks into one large park?”

Kappelhoff said staff could consider that idea. Bird supported Option 2 as well. Walthour agreed Bird had hit upon a good idea for staff to further consider.

“It would be more cost-effective to have a larger park, and rename it Savanna Creek or Legacy Grove, or something similar. We may want to explore that,” Walthour said.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]