Tag Archives: Athletic Park

Improvements to Athletic Park and the Chaska Community Center

With all of the school referendum talk the past couple of months, I haven’t had a chance to talk about a few of the things going on with our city’s Parks & Recreation area.  Last month, the Park Board looked at a couple of critical projects that will provide some real benefits to the community.

First, the Park Board (as well as the Planning Commission and City Council later in the month) signed off on plans to build a levy around Athletic Park at a maximum cost of $250,000.  The levy would have completely protected the facility from four of the last seven flood events, and minimized the damage and time the park was out of service in the other three events.  An average flood event costs the city about $30,000 for clean-up and repairs, so we can expect to make up the construction cost over time.  Additionally, the Public Works Department is seeking to lower construction costs by hoping to take advantage of fill made available by other development projects in the area (such as work at the West Ridge Corporate Center on Engler Boulevard), and they believe that the final construction cost number can come in significantly lower than the figure cited above.  The plan also allows for a trail to be constructed on top of the new berm.  This trail fits in with the city’s long-term plans to enhance Athletic Park and provide better connections to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land adjacent to the park.

Secondly, the city is preparing to move forward on some major maintenance projects at the Chaska Community Center.  The building’s core is now twenty years old, and as comes with buildings  that reach that age, it is time for some key elements of the building to be refreshed.   This spring, a new mechanical unit for the pool area will be installed at an estimated cost of $350,000.  Current plans call for the pool to be closed on April 30, re-opening on May 22.  This would be slightly longer than the pool’s usual yearly spring downtime.

The summer of 2013 will see new mechanical equipment installed in the two ice arenas.  This is necessitated by regulation changes surrounding the chemicals used in the current equipment (that make it cost-prohibitive to continue as-is).  Additionally, the equipment has outlived its expected life and is showing signs of its age, particularly in Rink 2.  The project will also improve the ventilation of the entire arena complex.  After the changes, it is expected that Rink 1 will remain ice all year, and Rink 2 will be transitioned to turf during the summer (the opposite of today) .  This is a $3 million project.

Finally, $775,000 is slated to be used for other capital improvements to the facility including:  roof repairs, pool deck repair, replacement of some wellness equipment, renovations to locker rooms in the arena, carpet replacement, and enhancements to the entryways.  These improvements will start next year, ending in 2014.

All of these Community Center projects will be financed by revenue bonds sold by the city and repaid through increased membership, daily-use, and ice rental fees.  Staff believes that they can finance these bonds while maintaining the Community Center’s competitive pricing position with peer facilities.  In my capacity on the Park Board, I will work to make sure that remains the case.

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Vote for Athletic Park to help it win a $125,000 grant

Chaska’s historic Athletic Park was selected as one of 25 Twin Cities sites competing to win up to $125,000 in grant money as part of American Express’s Partners In Preservation program.

Winners will be selected by an online vote on Facebook.  You can vote one time per day between now and October 12.  Tell your friends!

To vote:
1. Go to www.Facebook.com/PartnersinPreservation.
2. “Like” the page.
3. Find Chaska Athletic Park in the list of sites.
4. Cast your vote for Chaska Athletic Park.
5. Repeat tomorrow!

Athletic Park is currently in 5th place — let’s keep the votes coming!

Chaska News and Notes

Park Board – March 14, 2011

I participated in my first Chaska Park Board meeting last night.  I very much enjoyed meeting the other Board Members and am excited about the great projects we have in store.  Some of the topics discussed were:

  • Athletic Park Master Plan:  discussion of budget and project phasing.  I’ll have more to say on this before it goes before the City Council in April.  I was pleasantly surprised at the cost for the overall project, and I think the phases that have been identified reflect the right priorities.
  • Griep Park Expansion:  As part of the Southwest Christian High School project, a 3.24 acre parcel in the SE corner of the property will be added to Griep Park.   With the SWCHS project getting closer to starting, preliminary designs are being developed for the park, with neighborhood meetings being scheduled in the next two to three months.
  • Dome Discussion:  The Commitment to Community Task Force raised the possibility of a domed facility to provide field space during the winter months.  Since then, the City has begun to take some steps to investigate whether or not such a facility is feasible. 

Martin to appear at DFL SD 34 Meeting

New DFL Party Chair Ken Martin will be appearing at the March 16, 2011 monthly meeting of the Senate District 34 DFL Party.  The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilder Room of the Chanhassen Library.

Other news:

  • A disturbing suicide attempt at the MN-41 bridge over US-212.
  • Le Bistro Tourville is apparently doing some hiring.  The restaurant is reported to be quick-service sandwiches.
  • Levee construction is underway in Carver.  Visit the city’s webpage for more information or to volunteer.
  • Cooper’s Foods is switching primary wholesale suppliers from SUPERVALU to Affliliated Grocers Midwest.  That’s why the store is no longer bannered as a County Market, and you may have noticed that the layout of their weekly circulars have noticably changed.

Two additional thoughts

Two other thoughts as we head into the holidays:

  • One more note on the idea of a pay freeze for city employees.  If retention of employees is a concern (and the Council is certainly correct to be concerned), then the time to take an action like a pay freeze is when everyone else is doing it.  By waiting now until 2012 (or beyond) to take any action, the City risks being something of an outlier compared to the private sector and other governmental bodies, who have been making these moves in 2009/2010/2011 and have already taken those savings.  Additionally, making such a move earlier allows you to get savings across the entire five-year planning period.
  • A good discussion has broken out at the Chaska Herald site regarding the Athletic Park proposals.  I think what proposals like this and the Downtown Master Plan point to is the need for Chaska to have a published Economic and/or Community Development Strategy.  Here’s a link to such a strategy for the city of Tracy, California.  This is the sort of document that the city needs to create and make available.  It clearly delineates a handful of key goals, one to three strategies for achieving those goals, specific actions the city will take, and how the city will measure progress.  Master Plans and Concept Plans get us part of the way, but what we really need are specific actions and measures to make clear exactly what the priorities are and to hold public officials (elected and city staff) accountable for making progress.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Holiday season!


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