Sand Creek Park, Coon Rapids, was buzzing the evening of July 23.
That’s not unusual at the city of Coon Rapids’ largest park, with adult softball leagues as well as youth lacrosse and Little League baseball games going on, plus the use of the skate park and tennis courts.
But there was an added attraction July 23 when the city hosted the second of five Summer in the City events.
The Summer in the City gatherings take place every year in a different park in each of the city’s five election wards. Sand Creek Park is in Ward 2.
The gathering was an opportunity for residents living in the neighborhood of Sand Creek Park to meet with members of the Coon Rapids City Council and city staff in an informal setting.
Some 90 people took advantage of the opportunity to learn and talk about projects in the city and their neighborhood.
“The evening went very well,” said Kristin DeGrande, city neighborhood coordinator.
There was particular interest shown by residents at the tables set up by various city departments where they could pick up materials and talk one on one with staff and meet councilmembers, DeGrande said.
That was true not only during the open house that began the Summer in the City event, but also early on in the presentations, she said.
Presentations were made by Mayor Tim Howe on citywide projects and issues, while Ward 2 Councilmember Ron Manning focused on neighborhood issues like housing programs, city code violations and ordinances and upcoming events in the city.
In Howe’s presentation, he talked about the Nov. 5 park bond referendum, which will seek voter approval for the city to spend $17.4 million over eight to 10 years to update and redevelop the city’s many parks and trails.
Coon Rapids has 48 parks, totaling 800 acres, plus several miles of trails.
Included among the proposed park projects, if the bond issue is approved, is a complete renovation of Sand Creek Park.
That produced some questions about the park referendum and the future of the city’s Fourth of July celebration, which has been held at Sand Creek Park for decades.
There are no plans to move the Fourth of July event from Sand Creek except during the renovation of the park itself if the referendum is approved, residents were told.
During the open house, ice cream bars and cold water were served, and a police squad car, fire truck and public works department front-end loader were on site for children to explore.
In addition, residents were invited to sign up for a raffle drawing in which several gift cards to the Harvest Grill restaurant at the Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse were given away.
All five parks on the 2013 Summer in the City schedule are proposed for improvements in the park bond referendum.
The first event June 25 was in Ward 1 at Crooked Lake Park.
The third Summer in the City gathering, which was in Ward 3, took place July 30 at Woodcrest Park.
The final two programs in wards 4 and 5 are scheduled in August: Riverview Park, 2420 105th Ave. NW Aug. 13 and Mason Park, 9600 Holly Circle NW Aug. 27.
The open house runs from 6:30-7 p.m. with presentations and a question and answer session from 7-8 p.m.
The city mails postcards to residents living in the neighborhood of the parks notifying them of the Summer in the City event.
Peter Bodley is at