Roseville will carve out two small community parks this fall, tucked between homes and apartment buildings in the southwest and southeast corners of the city.
And to get them up and running, residents themselves will do some of the grunt work — setting up playground equipment and planting trees, grass and pollinator gardens.
City officials have found over the last few years that using volunteers doesn't just keep costs down, it gets neighbors and residents to buy in to a project and take ownership of it, said Jim Taylor, Roseville parks superintendent.
"We have people who look forward to it all year," Taylor said. "They'll set up the slides and swings and tunnels. It helps create this sense of community ownership."
The parks will be built simultaneously, with work starting this month to grade the fields and pour asphalt. They're expected to be completed by the end of October at a combined cost of about $500,000.
One of the parks will go on a vacant acre-sized lot at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and County Road B. The city bought the land last year with a park in mind.
The plan is to build a playground and a few walking paths while keeping as much natural space as possible, Taylor said.
"After talking with the community we came up with this idea of pollinator gardens," he said. "We'll have residents come out and plant over 3,000 pollinator plants and trees and get that in the ground before winter comes."
Planting day will be Sept. 15, parks officials said.
The other park will be built along Marion Street, on a hilly strip between apartment buildings. The city had to work a little harder to get community input for that one.
Parks planners went door-to-door to get ideas about what people wanted. The city also held block parties to draw families out and get their thoughts.
They found that the No. 1 desire for kids and parents was a neighborhood treehouse, Taylor said.
"We're going to try to make that, so kids will be able to climb up and it will feel like a treehouse."
The city plans to keep as many trees as possible, and build a slide that follows the natural slope of the hill as it winds through the trees. A few walking paths are planned to cut through the park.
Volunteers are to meet at the park on Oct. 13 to build the playground.
Both corners of the city where the parks will go have been underserved for years, Taylor said.
"These are just areas of the city that didn't have enough parkland," he said. "But there's lots of support from the City Council and parks commission because they know how important this is.
"People are so excited to have places in the southwest and southeast where kids can hang out and play."