splash pad

A splash pad is one of the many new amenities that will be available in St. Michael once Town Center Park is completed. The $3.3 million project is currently underway near City Hall. (Graphics courtesy of city of St. Michael)

Big playground, pickleball courts, performance pavilion also among amenities planned for new Town Center Park

About 15 years ago, St. Michael acquired land between 42nd Street NE and Frankfort Parkway for a planned city campus. City hall and the local branch of the Great River Regional Library have since gone up on the land, but soon there will be a major new addition. Work is already underway on a new Town Center Park, which is set to feature a big playground, a large pavilion, pickleball courts and a splash pad which could attract families to St. Michael each summer, the way existing splash pads act as destinations in area cities like Delano and Otsego.

“[The new park] is definitely going to be a step or two above our other neighborhood parks,” St. Michael Community Development Director Marc Weigle said. “We would expect people from other communities to come here, just as people from St. Michael go to parks in other communities. We feel it will definitely draw people in from a 10- or 5-mile radius.”

The city had long planned to use some of its Town Center land for a park. Over the past few years, a task force looked into possible amenities and features, with a goal of keying in on amenities that did not yet exist in any other city park.

“[The task force] brainstormed ideas and ranked the ideas they thought were the highest priority items,” Weigle said. “The splash pad was at the top of the list, because it’s a feature we don’t have in the community. We also tried to find things like the large pavilion and the pickleball courts that would appeal to a wider range of ages.”

The playground, designed mostly for children aged 5-12, will include two main structures for climbing, sliding, etc. plus some additional ancillary structures. There will also be a smaller play structure aimed at kids aged 2-5. Adjacent to the climbing structures will be a swingset and zipline.

The splash pad is set to feature a number of fountains and sprayers of different styles, as well as a giant pouring bucket that will appeal to those who wish to be drenched rather than splashed.

The pickleball area will include six courts. A 66-foot by 44-foot pavilion will include a stage for performances and will also be usable for picnics, reunions and other gatherings. In the middle of the finished park will be a large “grand lawn” or open space. New paved walking paths within the park will connect up to existing paths. Parking lots will be at the corner of Frankfort Parkway and Lange Avenue, and at 43rd Place, the latter lot connecting to the existing parking lot for city hall.

The estimated cost of the project is $3.3 million. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including the city’s park fund, building fund and bonding.

The St. Michael City Council gave its final approval to the park layout in April. A construction crew continues to work in the area, with the goal being to have the park substantially complete by October. Splashing could then commence in the spring.

“We’re excited about it; it will be a great amenity for the community,” Weigle said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”

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