Summer in the City stops by Parkside in Coon Rapids

The city of Coon Rapids’ 2012 Summer in the City road show made its third stop July 31.

Isaac Matteson, 8, starts to clamber down from a Coon Rapids Public Works Department front-end loader after exploring the inside of the cab.

Isaac Matteson, 8, starts to clamber down from a Coon Rapids Public Works Department front-end loader after exploring the inside of the cab.

Parkside Park on 99th Avenue off Coon Rapids Boulevard Extension in Ward 3 was the location for the program, one of five on the schedule this summer.

An estimated 100 people came to Parkside Park for the event, more than attended the prior two Summer in the City programs this year.

This is the fourth year of the Summer in the City program, which takes place at a different park each year in the five election wards of the city.

According to Kristin DeGrande, city neighborhood coordinator, the Summer in the City events are designed for residents to interact with their councilmember, talk with city staff and learn about projects and activities going on in the community.

Members of the Coon Rapids City Council and city staff met with neighborhood residents beginning with a half-hour open house, at which ice cream bars and bottled water were served, various city departments had tables set up with information and the Coon Rapids police, fire and public works departments had a squad car, fire truck and public works vehicle, respectively, on hand for kids, especially, to explore.

This was followed by formal presentations from Mayor Tim Howe on citywide projects and issues Ward 3 Councilmember Paul Johnson on neighborhood projects and issues.

Topics covered included development projects like the Bunker Hills Clubhouse and the Coon Rapids Ice Center; technology updates; roads, streets and transit; park improvements; redevelopment; neighborhood reinvestment program; police citizens academy; and citizens academy.

Following the presentations, residents were invited to ask questions and make comments.

There was no single issue that dominated resident questions and comments at Parkside Park, according to DeGrande.

Residents wanted more wireless availability in their homes, more transit to link with existing transit service, making Coon Rapids Boulevard and Coon Rapids Boulevard safer; and more lighting in the neighborhood and park, DeGrande said.

“Where it is something that the city has control over, we try to deal with the issue,” she said.

Residents attending the event were also invited to fill out a survey.

The completed survey made them eligible for a drawing to win a gift certificate to the Harvest Grill Restaurant at the new Bunker Hills Clubhouse.

Among the survey questions were what was critical issue facing the neighborhood; rating the value of city services; safety in Coon Rapids; is the city moving in the right direction; and is there something the city should be doing differently or better to greatly improve the quality of life.

There are two remaining Summer in the City events this year.

• Tuesday, Aug. 20, Vineyards Park in Ward 4.

• Tuesday, Aug. 27, Aspen Park in Ward 5.

The city sends postcards to residents living in the park neighborhood. No RSVP is required.

For more information call 763-767-6517.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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