Shoreview Commons improvements moving forward


The planned plaza and decorative pond — which will double as an ice skating rink — will go in to the west of Haffeman Pavilion on a currently vacant field. (courtesy of LHB/City of Shoreview)

Phase one of the Shoreview Commons Park improvement project will transform the grassy area behind the Shoreview Community Center into a decorative pond, surrounded by an expanded plaza, a garden and a series of trails. (courtesy of LHB/City of Shoreview)

The playground along Mound Avenue will be replaced in September with a new facility proposed by Webber Recreational Design, the local representative of Miracle Recreation. (courtesy Miracle Recreation/Webber Recreational Design, Inc.)

Contracts awarded for new pond, plaza, skate park and more

The Shoreview City Council on June 17 approved a bid for initial renovations of the Shoreview Commons Park, setting off a two-phase, multi-year project aimed at expanding upon the park’s amenities. 

Phase one will include an expanded plaza in the vacant field west of Haffeman Pavilion, as well as the addition of a decorative pond that will double as an ice skating rink. The city will also replace its existing skateboard park and the playground along Mound Avenue. Construction is expected to begin in mid- to late-July. 

As part of phase one, the city will also be making sidewalk and parking lot modifications to improve walkability in the area around the commons, which includes the city’s community center, a Ramsey County Library, City Hall and the Mounds View Public Schools district headquarters.

The council accepted bids from contractors for each component of the project and then awarded all contracts to RJM Construction, which will act as construction manager, as it did during the recent community center expansion. Phase one of the improvements has a budget of roughly $3.5 million.

Shoreview Mayor Sandy Martin said she hopes that the improvements will generate revenue for the city by expanding the community center’s rental capabilities. 

“One of the biggest uses of the community center is weddings, family reunions, receptions and those types of things,” she said, noting that current rental spaces are frequently booked out. 

City Manager Terry Schwerm explained that the recent expansion and renovation of the Shoreview Library pushed the city to reevaluate its goals for the entire area around the commons.

“We’re trying to have facilities and places and create a sense of place here,” said Schwerm. “This whole Shoreview Commons area is basically our Central Park.”

Because the field where the pond and plaza are set to be built is currently vacant, Martin said she hasn’t received a lot of pushback on the project. “It just seemed natural that that area, that’s kind of been neglected on the more eastern side of the community center, get a makeover.”

The initial proposal included adding pickle ball courts to the existing tennis courts along Mound Avenue. However, the city chose to forego that option after residents raised concerns about noise and traffic.

The city is planning to look into other locations where it could add or expand pickle ball facilities, and the pickle ball lines painted on the existing tennis courts along Mound Avenue will remain. 

With construction set to begin later this month, Schwerm said visitors to the community center shouldn’t see much of a disruption.

“It’s mostly site work,” he said. “They may have some contractors park in the parking lots at times, but the work itself will not impact the operations of the community center, like the community center expansion project did.”

Schwerm also noted that the city is planning to hold off on any of the project’s parking lot improvements until this fall, in order to avoid doing the work during the community center’s peak summer season. 

Though the city has yet to finalize a construction schedule, Schwerm said he anticipates that the current skateboard park will close in mid- to late-July. He estimated that the new park will be complete by late fall. The playground along Mound Avenue is set to be replaced in September and will remain open until then. 

Phase two of the improvement project is expected to begin in 2021 and will include the addition of a large, “destination playground” just north of the main community center parking lot. 

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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