Grand opening festivities will take place Friday, May 26 for the city of Coon Rapids’ Sand Creek Park, which has been closed the past two years for a redevelopment project.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with root beer floats and kids’ activities (face painting, balloon art, bouncy houses) plus concessions followed by a short ceremony and ribbon cutting at 7:15 p.m. and a free showing of the Disney movie, “Zootopia” at 8:30 p.m. (bring a blanket and lawn chairs).
With funding from the $17.4 million park bond referendum passed by voters in November 2013, the park has been completely reconfigured with six new softball fields, two multi-purpose fields primarily for lacrosse and football, two playgrounds, a skate park, trails and increased parking.
In addition, a new building used for concessions, restrooms and a warming house has been built and a new entrance to the park has been constructed at the intersection of Northdale Boulevard and Redwood Street with a new traffic signal.
Coon Rapids Mayor Jerry Koch has been at the park several times since it reopened April 23.
“It’s wonderful,” Koch said. “It’s so great to see so much life back in the area again.”
There are still a few bugs getting worked out, but he is extremely happy with the project, according to Koch.
From the feedback he has been getting, “everyone seems very happy,” Koch said.
Comments have been “unbelievably positive” said Council Member Steve Wells, who as a member of the North Star Lions Club has been manning the new concession building with his fellow members of the club, which has a contract with the city to operate the concessions.
The Lions club is very pleased with the concession building, he said.
According to Ryan Gunderson, city recreation coordinator, while the park officially in April, the new skate park has been in use since it was installed last year.
Softball leagues have been in full swing at the six fields in the park and the first tournament, a girls’ softball event, was played this past weekend, Gunderson said.
“We are booked solid with weekend softball tournaments through the Fourth of July,” he said.
The city expects to attract more tournaments to Sand Creek than in the past because the new fields have been built larger, Gunderson said. They are all 300 feet in size instead of 275 to 285 feet before, he said.
And while the two multi-purpose fields are geared for football and lacrosse, they will be used for soccer games this weekend as overflow fields for the Coon Rapids Soccer Association’s annual boys’ soccer tournament which takes place at the Coon Rapids Soccer Complex, he said.
“This will be the first time for soccer at Sand Creek Park,” Gunderson said.
Gunderson has received “great, positive feedback” from the users of the new park since it reopened, he said.
“They are all glad to be back at Sand Creek,” Gunderson said. “The softball players particularly like the four wheel fields because everything is close.”
Park bond issue proceeds paid for the site work as well as amenities, such as dasher boards for the outdoor hockey rink, equipment for the two playgrounds, electronic reader board, skate park and lighting. That totaled $5.8 million, according to Gunderson.
The contract to build the 4,000 square-foot concession and restroom building amounted to $1.48 million with the money coming from the city’s facilities construction fund.
In addition, construction of the new park entrance and intersection at Northdale and Redwood, plus the new signal, turn lanes on all four legs, mill and overlay on the road and a new sidewalk on the north side of Northdale, came with a price tag of $905,882, of which the city’s share was $810,000 because Northdale is a county road and Anoka County footed some of the bill.
The city’s funding commitment was paid for from tax increment financing dollars earmarked specifically for road improvement projects.