Tag Archives: Griep Park

Chaska Park Board approves Griep Park plan

The Chaska Park Board (of which I am a member) approved the plan for development of Griep Park last night by a 6-0 vote.  The plan involves installation of play equipment on the park’s southeast corner near White Oak Drive.  The project has a $90,000 budget — $50,000 for the playground equipment and $40,000 for site preparation, grading, and landscaping.

The project will next go to the Chaska City Council for approval at their meeting on Monday, May 21.

I want to thank the many residents from that neighborhood who got involved with the process.  Your involvement makes for better results.  The final plan will be minimally disruptive to the heavily wooded park, and has nice play areas for both preschoolers and school-age children.  This park is going to be a real asset to the neighborhood, and a nice addition to the city’s park system.

On a sad note, former Park Board member Jack Spizale passed away last week.  Jack was warm-hearted, friendly, and a great asset to the Park Board.  He will be missed.


Chaska Area News and Notes: April 23, 2012

Assorted news and observations from the last few days:

  • I finally got down to Patron Mexican Restaurant over the weekend, and I highly recommend it!  Good food and fairly priced.  Service was a touch slow, but I was willing to live with it because it was nice to see a downtown Chaska restaurant that was busy.  Check out their Facebook page for more information.
  • Chaska Middle School West math teacher Michelle Schnaare was named District 112’s Teacher of the Year on Saturday night.  Schnaare receives a $3,000 grant to use on a classroom project of her design.  Congratulations to her and the other finalists:  Chris Commers (Chaska High School, Social Studies), Sara Falkofske (Chanhassen High School, Science), Marie Foster (Chaska Elementary, 4th grade) and Angie Kissock (Chanhassen High,  Physical Fitness).
  • I attended the first annual Pride of Chaska BBQ Bash on Friday night benefiting Chaska High School.  A great event that raised about $50,000 towards building a competition-caliber softball field at the school as well as acquiring a marimba for the music program.
  • After a series of neighborhood meetings, the plan for Griep Park is being finalized and will be reviewed by the Chaska Park Board at next month’s meeting, which will be on Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Chaska Community Center.
  • Supporters of Ron Paul for President have been very successful in getting their delegates through to the upper levels of the Republican caucus process.  Over the weekend, it was reported that Paul supporters earned 20 of the 24 Congressional District delegate spots, despite finishing a distant second to Rick Santorum in the non-binding vote at the precinct caucuses in February.  This is not going over well in some quarters of the party.

Chaska Park Board Recap, May 9

Last night, the Chaska Park Board held its monthly meeting.  The primary topic on the agenda was the discussion of potential park land dedication as part of the Southwest Christian High School (SWCHS) development on the Francis Hammers farm land (on Bavaria Road just south of US-212). 

Here’s some background on the issue:  developments of the size of SWCHS are required to either dedicate 10% of the acreage to park land or pay an equivalent amount into the city’s park development fund.  The City Council ultimately decides whether to accept the acreage or the contribution to the fund when they approve the development.

Currently, Griep Park is adjacent to the future SWCHS site.  Griep Park is an undeveloped, heavily wooded parcel with only a couple of trails going through it.  The SWCHS site was originally slated to be single-family homes, and there was an intention to use land in the southeast corner of the Hammers parcel through park land dedication as an add-on to Griep Park and build a neighborhood park on the site. 

Four potential park sites were identified, two on the to-be-dedicated land and two on the existing park parcel, with one site on the to-be-dedicated land identified as preferred.  Such a park would have been centrally located to the new houses as well as the existing homes located on and around White Oak Drive.

However, the current site plan of SWCHS changes these calculations.  The proposed site plan uses the land in a different way than it would be used if it were a residential development.  The south side of the property will have large retaining walls (up to 13 feet high) in order to create athletic fields for the school.  The site originally identified as being preferable for the location of the neighborhood park is a drainage pond on the current site plan.

So, the land that would be dedicated to the city under the current plan would be of little value to the city — a heavily wooded parcel sitting below the retaining walls of the school.  Even SWCHS officials admit there is little use for the land.  The city, in the past, has designed parks that work well with adjacent schools.  Community Park and Clover Ridge Elementary flow together nicely, as do McKnight Park and Jonathan Elementary.  There’s no possibility of this piece of land working with this school in such a manner, based on the topography as well as the current site plan.

As such, I voted with the majority in a 5-2 vote last night to recommend to the City Council that they opt to take the payment into the park development fund as opposed to the park land dedication.  This is a decision that has some ramifications for the school.  While the exact amount of the fee was not available last night, it is expected to be a six-digit figure.

It would be my hope that if the City Council chooses to accept the Park Board’s recommendation, that they work with school officials to structure the payment in a way that both protects the city’s interests as well as not placing a hardship on the school itself.

SWCHS administration has conducted themselves admirably through this process.  The redesigned site plan is significantly improved from the original 2008 plan, and they have held two neighborhood meetings to address concerns.  This new facility will be an asset for the city of Chaska, and I look forward to the city and SWCHS continuing their partnership over the years to come.

Additionally, I am pleased that these decisions will allow development of Griep Park to move forward.  The White Oak neighborhoods are underserved by park resources today, and the unique character of  the Griep Park land should enable a truly unique neighborhood park to be created for those residents.

Chaska Updates: SWCHS and the Downtown Business Alliance

The next week is an important one for the proposed new location of Southwest Christian High School on the Francis Hammers farm property on Bavaria Road. 

Tonight, the site plan will be reviewed by the Park Board, which has to recommend to the city whether to accept a piece of land in the southeast corner of the property as fulfillment of the parkland dedication requirements or whether to instead ask for a cash payment. 

Wednesday, the Planning Commission will review the site plan and make a recommendation to the City Council as to whether or not the site plan should be approved.  The City Council could then take action on the development at next Monday’s meeting.

In other news, the Chaska Herald reports on the creation of the Downtown Business Alliance, which is a group of downtown Chaska businesses that have broken off from the Southwest Metro Chamber of Commerce in order to ensure a tight focus on downtown Chaska’s issues and opportunities.  The group of businesses in the alliance have been vital in the development of the Downtown Master Plan and will be just as vital in the nuts-and-bolts of implementing it.

Chaska Park Board Meeting tonight

On the docket for tonight’s Chaska Park Board meeting, at 7 p.m. at the Chaska Community Center:

  • Coordination of Winkel Park with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land
  • Chaska Community Center Capital Improvement Program
  • Discussion of objectives for potential Chaska Dome facility
  • Update on Griep Park/SW Christian High School

The public is welcome to attend the meeting.

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.

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