Summer in the City program at Riverview Park

The fourth of five city of Coon Rapids Summer in the City programs takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13 at Riverview Park, 2410 103rd Ave. NW.

There are five Summer in the City events at a different park in all five election wards of the city over the course of the summer. Riverview is in Ward 4.

The final Summer in the City program for 2013 is Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Mason Park, 9600 Holly Circle, which is in Ward 5.

Previous events this year were June 25 at Crooked Lake Park (Ward 1), July 23 at Sand Creek Park (Ward 2) and July 23 at Woodcrest Park (Ward 3).

The annual Summer in the City program allows residents living in the neighborhood of the parks to meet councilmembers and talk with city staff about projects in their neighborhood and throughout the city.

Postcards are sent by the city to residents living in the neighborhood of the park where the Summer in the City program is taking place.

Mayor Tim Howe makes a presentation on citywide programs and projects, while the ward councilmember talks about neighborhood issues.

But before the presentations, which begin at 7 p.m., there is an open house at which ice cream and cold bottled water are served, and residents are free to browse tables set up by various city departments and to talk one-on-one with staff as well as pick up materials about various city programs and activities.

In addition, the city has a police squad car, fire truck and public works department front end loader at the park for people to look at and for children to get behind the wheel.

At Woodcrest Park July 30 under a cloudy sky and with sprinkles of rain, there was a turnout of between 70 and 75 residents, according to Kristin DeGrande, city neighborhood coordinator.

“People were very interested in the tables and there was a lot of good conversation,” DeGrande said.

The question and answer session which followed the presentations by Howe and Ward 3 Councilmember Paul Johnson drew several questions about the upcoming park bond referendum, which will be on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Woodcrest Park is one of the parks scheduled for a complete renovation if the bond issue is approved by voters.

According to DeGrande, residents were concerned about amenities that had been lost at park in recent years, specifically the outdoor skating rink and warming house, but seemed reassured when told that Woodcrest Park was on the list of park bond improvements.

Besides a complete renovation, the concept plan for Woodcrest includes a new play area and shelter as well as facilities for disc golf.

In his presentation, Howe presented the projected park bond referendum budget which calls for a $17.37 park bond issue with $17.1 million to be spent on construction and design and $270,000 allocated for bond issuance costs.

When $5.1 million is factored in for the interest that the city will have to pay out of its annual debt service tax levy over the 20-year life of the bonds if the referendum is successful, the total cost comes to $22.47 million.

All five parks on the 2013 Summer in the City schedule are included in the proposed projects scheduled as part of the park bond issue.

The next stop, Riverview Park, is proposed for major redevelopment if the park bond referendum is approved.

The approved 2011 redevelopment plan for the park, which was shelved for lack of funds prompting the discussion that led to the council putting the park bond referendum on the ballot this year, would be implemented.

It includes a new skate park, playgrounds and T-ball fields.

Peter Bodley is at
[email protected]