After 30 years in Maple Grove’s city plans, the suburb’s second community park is about to open, turning longtime gravel mining pits into a lush tree-lined, landscaped park.
Crews are wrapping up work over the next few weeks on Central Park. Although it’s Maple Grove’s second community park, after Weaver Lake Park, it’s the first so-called urban park because it’s in the middle of the city and has a central lawn instead of ball fields. The 40-acre site is just northeast of the city’s Arbor Lakes retail area and near fast-growing residential development.
“The whole area is just mushrooming in terms of development,” Parks and Recreation Director Terry Just said. “It’s amazing how much the area is skyrocketing with people.”
Now, they’ll have a park that the city hopes will be a destination for the northwest metro area. A park building, splash pad fountain and gardens that could host weddings and other events are expected to open by the end of August. A playground is slated to open by September. And starting this winter, Maple Grove will have the first ice skating loop in Minnesota — an attraction found in more places across the country, Just said.
The 20-foot-wide, 810-foot-long loop will be refrigerated and have lights and a sound system. The park will also have basketball and pickleball courts, a pond and paved trails.
The park, at 12000 Central Park Way, has been years in the works. When Just started working there 30 years ago, the park was added to city long-term plans as “something special” to replace gravel pits.
Now, it’s nearing reality, with the city spending $16 million in construction costs. The park will be landscaped with 500 trees, 2,500 shrubs and 5,000 plants and grasses. Future additions could include a picnic area, lighted tennis courts and a skateboard area.
“It’s designed as a destination park and to serve the whole community,” said Chuck Stifter, superintendent of parks and planning. “It’s really going to change the way people use this town.”