Riverview Park concept plan is presented

Some 20 people attended a public meeting at the Coon Rapids City Center Jan. 22 on the proposed improvement project at Riverview Park.

Riverview will be the first park to be reconstructed as part of the $17.2 million park bond referendum passed by Coon Rapids voters in November 2013.

The concept plan has the same amenities that were part of the master plan for the park that was presented to a neighborhood meeting that took place in February 2011.

But lack of money prevented the Coon Rapids City Council from moving forward with the redevelopment project then and it was the catalyst for the council to order an updated master plan for the city’s parks and trails system and ultimately led to the successful bond referendum last fall.

Riverview is one of the parks listed as one of the top priorities in a two-tier implementation schedule, starting in 2014 and finishing in 2020.

Residents were satisfied with the concept as presented Jan. 22 apart from a handful of possible tweaks, according to Public Works Director Tim Himmer.

Suggestions included the possibility of a gazebo and pedestrian crossings on 105th Avenue where the two entrances to the park are located, Himmer said.

An existing vehicle entrance off Uplander Street will be removed as part of the park redevelopment, something residents on Uplander have long sought.

“People like the plan and are looking forward to the park improvements getting done,” Himmer said.

According to Himmer, staff will look at the information presented at the meeting and possibly tweak the concept plan before taking it to the council for approval in February.

Once the green light is given by the council, WSB & Associates, the consultant hired by the council to prepare the master plan and design the individual parks and trails improvement plans, will work on final design for Riverview, Himmer said.

The goal is to go through the bidding process in May with construction to begin in June or July, he said.

Redevelopment work will affect the entire park except for the Coon Rapids National Little League baseball fields, so the park will be closed during construction, apart from the baseball fields, Himmer said.

Under the park bond referendum, the budget for the Riverview reconstruction is anticipated to cost $1.4 million.

Major elements of the concept plan for Riverview include:

• Regrading the entire site.

• Two paved parking lots providing off-street parking for 213 spaces; the upper lot (80 spaces) would be open year-round, while the lower lot would be closed during the winter for a portable hockey rink and general skating area to be placed over the pavement.

• Construction of a new playground area with separate play areas for various age groups connected by an exterior walkway and a 14- by 16-foot picnic shelter located adjacent to the playground.

• Hard surface court areas for tennis and basketball (half-court).

• New skate park with paved surface on the western edge of the park with screening.

• Two new T-ball fields with 120-foot foul lines adjacent to the Little League fields.

• Multi-purpose building with community rooms, fire place, warming house, restrooms and storage space.

• New internal trail system providing connection between Uplander and 105th.

• New drainage improvements to provide necessary storm water management.

• Increased landscaping phased over time throughout the park to provide buffering from adjacent homes.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]