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Trailside Park: Proposals shown at public meeting

Roughly 25 people filed into Pequot Lakes City Hall on Wednesday, April 13, to hear two possible options for renovations to Trailside Park after the four-lane expansion of Highway 371 is complete.

Roughly 25 people filed into Pequot Lakes City Hall on Wednesday, April 13, to hear two possible options for renovations to Trailside Park after the four-lane expansion of Highway 371 is complete.

Luke Sydow with SAS+Associates in Duluth presented concept drawings, which he insisted were not the only remaining options, that would increase the park's size and amenities after the main thoroughfare of the highway circumnavigates the city beginning in 2017. The concepts would maintain the park's current amenities such as its playground, Dru's Garden and the bandshell.

"One part of the park reacts to another part (in the concepts)," Sydow said. "If you form a negative opinion, or too positive of an opinion, about one element, it turns around and waters down other pieces."

The first concept sees the current Highway 371 being eliminated in the northern half of the park, making way for a pond and splash park. A circuit walking path surrounds the playground, pond and a central plaza.

The portion of the park south of County Road 11 has a large green space and increased parking. The current highway would still exist up to where the city stoplight is currently located.

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In Sydow's second concept, Highway 371 would remain intact throughout the park, but it would be narrowed from its present size with parking spaces added along the road. The bandshell stage is rotated, facing northwest. The pond and splash park are moved to the southern portion of the park in this concept.

At a previous public meeting on the topic, attendees were encouraged to rank a number of issues regarding the park. The highest ranking issue was economic development. For that reason, Sydow's concept featured several opportunities for new businesses around - and possibly inside - the park.

"It shows that you guys are fiscally responsible enough to realize you can't just put everything into a park without having some economic development," Sydow said.

Other priorities listed by the public included open space and recreation, pedestrian circulation and services and programs. Other topics Sydow listed as "guiding principles" include building on what is already in the park, addressing vehicle traffic, safety and year-round use.

Questions arose regarding parking and traffic flow, particularly at the beginning and end of school days. Both of Sydow's concepts indicated an increase in parking, and the school buses' current route from County Road 11 - through the Highway 371 intersection before turning onto Second Street and Woodman Street - should not be affected.

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKESTRAILSIDE PARK
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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