Blaine looks ahead to five-year park plan

The Blaine City Council looked into its crystal ball of potential parks projects over the next five years at its Dec. 12 workshop meeting.

Annual project costs between 2014 and 2018 range between $185,00 and $200,000.

The three most expensive estimates for individual projects are a new park building at Quincy Park in 2016 for $200,000, renovating the shelter and adding a dog park at Laddie Lake in 2018 for $125,000 and $100,000 in 2017 for improvements at Little League Park such as regrading and reseeding the fields, adding an irrigation system and upgrading the parking area.

The Blaine Parks Commission will review any proposal before it comes back to the council and inclusion of a project in this capital improvement plan does not mean it will happen. Future councils would decide on individual projects.

Barely outside the top three in terms of estimated project costs is Auerlia Park improvements slated for 2014. The city is budgeting $98,000 for parking lot resurfacing, replacing the roof on the park building, paving the hockey rink and replacing the playground.

“Paving the hockey rink is a good value because it makes better ice and is used more in the summer,” said Public Services Manager Bob Therres. He said the playground is one of the oldest in the community.

The city is also planning to make changes at Mary Elizabeth Park and Ostmans Park in 2014 with both projects slated to cost $50,000.

Therres said there is a ball field at Mary Elizabeth Park that is hardly used so it will be removed and the area regraded and reseeded for open space.

“People seem to want to play soccer more anyway,” he told the council.

Ostmans Park will have its ball fields irrigated and it will get a new picnic shelter and a new paint job on a building.

Post-2014 project highlights

The skating rink at Quail Creek Park is one of the most used in the city, according to Therres, so the city will put in a temporary warming house trailer. If it is popular, they could construct a warming house in 2015.

The building at Quincy Park has a crack in it and water is getting in the blocks, so the city is looking at constructing a new building in 2016.

According to Mayor Tom Ryan, the city should consider removing the Laddie Lake Park shelter rather than renovate it since it is not used that often and there has been a lot of vandalism.

“It’s probably one of our most under-utilized parks and it’s a nice park,” Councilmember Dick Swanson said.

Therres agrees that this shelter is under-utilized, but public works staff does see a lot of people using the trails. A dog park is being considered here because there are no residential neighborhoods close by.

The parks capital improvement plan also sets aside $50,000 in 2015 and 2018 for the repair and sealcoating of trails. The city has 67 miles of trails, according to Therres.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]