Pequot Lakes: Trailside Park improvements on tap next spring
As Pequot Lakes looks to wrap up the Highway 371 four-lane expansion this fall, the city council is looking ahead to its next big project - Trailside Park along the Paul Bunyan Trail downtown.
The council voted Tuesday, Aug. 1, to proceed with the Trailside Park master plan without relocating the playground and to begin work in spring 2018. The vote on both proposals was 4-1 with council member Jerry Akerson opposed.
Plans are to connect Trailside Park and Bobber Park under the water tower by closing Patriot Avenue (current two-lane Highway 371) from the stoplight at County State Aid Highway 11/Main Street north to Sibley Street.
Luke Sydow, from SAS+Associates in Duluth, whom the city hired to devise a park plan, provided an update for the council on the master plan and timeline for phase one construction. The preliminary cost estimate for phase one is $1,737,832.
Included in that cost estimate was $20,000 to move the Trailside Park playground. The concern was that the playground would be too close to water features, including a splash park and pond.
"I understand about the water, but $20,000 is a lot of money that we could put into the park," mayor Nancy Adams said.
"I agree. It doesn't make sense to move the playground," said council member Randy Loukota.
The council agreed not to move the playground.
Sydow said the master plan has all the elements the council wants, but locations may shift as details are fine-tuned.
Phase one includes work on the north side of the park, except a bandshell/amphitheater. The plan proposes to move the Veterans Memorial to give it more prominence and make it more accessible. Phase one amenities also include the splash park and flags display (the city received anonymous donations of $150,000 for a state flags display and $100,000 toward a splash park), pond, restrooms/warming house/pavilion, walkways, parking, street closures and southwest connection to Pequot Lakes School.
Adams questioned the suggested pond depth of 8 feet, saying that seemed deep. Mike Loven, public works supervisor, asked how the city would keep people off thin ice in the winter.
Sydow said the pond's 8-foot depth is to get past emergent aquatic vegetation to have open water, and not cattails, all the way across the pond. As for thin ice, he acknowledged that is a challenge and suggested "thin ice" signs.
"To me, that's a hazard," Loven said.
The council also accepted a team Sydow assembled for the park project, including engineering firm Widseth, Smith, Nolting; architect Studio One; and landscape architect SAS+Associates. Akerson was opposed and council member Scott Pederson abstained because his son is part of the team.
The plan is to seek bids for projects in January-February 2018, with construction taking place from spring 2018 to mid-November.
"We'll have plenty of opportunities to talk through those costs," Sydow said, adding the master plan costs will be refined as details for each element are refined.