A new shelter building and playground are among more than $1 million worth of improvements planned for this year.
Countryside Park in Edina, located next to Colonial Church and the upcoming Waters Senior Living Development, now has the funding it needs to undergo renovation this year.
“I’m anticipating a late spring, early summer construction start,” said Ann Kattreh, parks and recreation director for Edina. “We plan to be done with construction in October.”
Renovation of the park will include construction of a new shelter building, a new playground, a more functional pathway system throughout the park and a larger hockey rink.
“A trail system will be added connecting the existing parking lot to the other amenities in the park,” Kattreh said. “The current parking lot is underutilized because there are not connecting pathways to the rest of the park. It will help alleviate some of the parking issues we have in the park right now.”
The park’s two baseball fields are heavily used during warm months, and many park users have to park on the streets, Kattreh said. One of the fields has been renovated recently, and the other will be getting a complete upgrade as part of this project.
A committee of neighbors selected the new playground equipment for the park. “The playground will be moved from its current location and will be larger, partly shaded and significantly more handicapped-accessible than our existing playground,” Kattreh said.
Funding for the $1.025 million project includes a $695,000 park dedication fee from the Waters Senior Living Development and $330,000 raised by the Edina’s Capital Improvement Program. The Waters of Edina is a new senior living community that will be opening in October adjacent to Countryside Park.
New shelter building
The old shelter building will be torn down and rebuilt further west on the site. It will be used as a warming house during the winter and could potentially be used for park programs during the rest of the year, Kattreh said.
The building also will serve as a gathering place for the community to conduct meetings and events. It will include an outdoor picnic area, and the restroom facilities will be available year-round.
Along with the Parks and Recreation staff, the Public Works Department has provided input for the construction of the shelter building.
“It’s going to be a really nice facility for us,” said Brian Olson, public works director of Edina. “In terms of us being able to flood rinks, it will make it more efficient for us to do our job. We’re excited about it.”
Next week contractors will submit bids for building the new shelter. After the contractor is selected, the plan will need to be approved by the City Council before construction can begin.
Bidding for the rest of the park’s renovation, including the playground and pathway system, will open April 4.
“We are going to be moving our general skating rink and adding a hockey rink,” Kattreh said. “Our Edina Hockey Association teams will definitely be using that rink. It will have scheduled and unscheduled use.”
Hockey teams in Edina can sign up to for outdoor hockey, and for about two months out of the year, they play at different outdoor arenas throughout the city.
“Will the teams use it [the new Countryside Park hockey rink]? Yes,” said Chris Fraley, board member of the Edina Hockey Association. “There’s no doubt the rinks are used in Edina.”
Fraley said teams will use the new Countryside Park rink but said it will be more for the kids and families in the neighborhood who go to the park.
Candice Wheeler is a University of Minnesota student on assignment with the Star Tribune.