The Coon Rapid Dam Park redevelopment is moving forward, Gretchen Schlosser of Sun Post Newspapers reports (read the full article here). The park, currently known as Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, now has the tentative new title of “Great River Regional Park.”
Gretchn Schlosser reports:
The park is 160 acres, and the environmental area is 90 acres, Grissman said, and the public considers the 250-acre area as one park. Planners used a number of public engagement strategies between June and November of 2015 and found that citizens feel the Coon Rapids Dam makes the area special to them and that people want to engage in paddle sports and get access to the river.
“People want to get in that river, they don’t just want to look at it,” Grissman said.
“There is strong desire for more canoeing and kayaking.”
Included in the ideas for accommodating paddle sports at the park is the concept of shuttles that would ferry paddlers and their equipment between the park and Brooklyn Park’s River Park, about 3 miles down river.
Planners are interpreting the public’s call for a zip-line as a desire for higher adventure, she added. While development and recreation options like a zip-line and natural playground are desired, planners are also keen on keeping the undeveloped southern area of the park wild and untouched.
“The number one thing we need to pay attention to is the balance between development and wild area,” Grissman said.
Other big ideas include making the park welcoming, not just with a sign in different languages, but with spaces and amenities that accommodate different uses, as well as a larger building that is big enough to welcome and host school classes.
School visitors and children of all ages could play in a “mini river” set up in the park to mimic the big river that flows nearby, with locks and dams, oxbows and the items to build a dam. That would be a way for children to safely learn and play in the water, Grissman noted.
Planners hope to have the idea list sorted into a presentation for the city council and the Three Rivers board in March or April, Yungers said. There would be a public comment period and the formal approval of the plans could come in July or August. The city budget for 2016 also includes $200,000 in capital improvement funds for the joint master planning effort, Yungers reminded the council.
The park promises new features for first-time visitors and regular visitors alike.