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Master Plan: Existing Park Space - Programming Elements Meeting

Meeting Notes—June 18, 2002

Benton County Parks Director Carrie Tripp stated that the County has grown 35% in the last 10 years. The population is 34,000 people +/-. There are great opportunities for Benton county to start implementing its vision for parks, trails and open space. The parks system should support the economy and the sought-after quality of life.

Representatives from a number of groups attended this meeting: County Commissioners, Park Board members, environmental groups and the public. The Initiative Foundation funding again provided the food and beverages for this celebration and work meeting.

Bonestroo's Steve Hansen gave an overview of the Visioning and Goal Setting Meeting and again stressed the importance of the Stakeholder Checklist. This checklist restates Benton County's Goals and Policies as set forth in the Benton County Comprehensive Plan. The results of the small focus groups were recorded, and future opportunities and priorities were identified and graphically displayed. Bonestroo then talked about the priorities of each element—parks, trails and open space—then participated in discussions following each element.

Participants broke into small groups and worked on three different exercises. The first exercise involved ranking natural areas to determine what types of activities and/or resource-compatible facilities the County and Residents are interested in. The second exercise prioritized programming elements for the existing Benton County Parks. And based on those priorities, the third exercise was to develop a concept plan of Benton Beach – a vision for the future.

A break for a picnic dinner was provided for all committee members and citizens of the County. This was a great time to celebrate everyone's hard work and contributions to this planning process thus far.

The Citizens Open House continued into the evening and provided an informal opportunity to review and discuss existing parks, interests, opinions and concerns. The following pages reflect the outcome of the focus groups and priorities placed on existing parks.

The County wishes to "Continue to maintain and improve all community facilities."

Listed below are the priority rankings to maintain or improve existing community facilities given by four small groups, with 1 being the highest ranking. For example, for Lakeview Center, three members of Group 1 ranking it a priority 1, with one member giving it a priority ranking of 12. The bullets represent additional comments from group members.

1. Benton Beach—30 +- Acres

A. Lakeview Center—currently used as a meeting facility, and for wedding and family functions.
Group 1—12, 1,1,1
Group 2—1, 2, 1
Group 3—3, 5, 6, 8
Group 4—6, 6, 6
- alcohol and internet

B. Redwood Inn—currently used as storage. The physical condition was looked at in July 2001. The County is allowed a certain percentage upgrade through the Flood Plain Management Ordinance, but is limited.
Group 1—4, 5, 7, 8, 14
Group 2—5, 10
Group 3—6, 7, 12
Group 4—7, 8
- keep parking for visitors
- potential to be a conference center if possible to upgrade
- possible teen center

C. Restroom/Shower Facility—upgrade.
Group 1— 6, 3, 2, 3, 1
Group 2—10, 2, 8
Group 3—1, 2, 4, 2, 1
Group 4— 4, 4, 7
- as needed by beach
- storm shelter
- shower facility for swimmers

D. Pond near Redwood Inn—future asset, 12' x 14' deep (fishing, interpretive area, gardens)
Group 1—11, 10, 4, 9, 10
Group 2—8
Group 3—4, 11, 6, 6
Group 4—10, 10
- desirable particularly if water quality is not improved
- keep dangers and liabilities in mind if considered for use by children (e.g., fishing pond)
- interpret what? Here's a pond?
- gardens would be nice
- needs to be carefully checked for oxygen—approved by DNR

H. Play Equipment—ADA Accessible, Pre-K, K-5, 10 plus
_____I. Shelters—upgrade.
_____J. Activities—volleyball, horseshoes, bocce, lawn bowling/croquet
_____K. Picnic Areas—more definition, council rings, barbecues
_____L. Fishing pier
_____M. Splash pads
_____N. Gardens—Butterfly, Kitchen

E. Camping—upgrade (screening, new layout—landforms)
Group 1—1, 2, 2, 2, 3
Group 2—9, 8
Group 3—6, 8, 9
Group 4—8
- future considerations if camping is to be expanded; would be separating campers from RVs and need for electrical plug ins

F. Trails—Pedestrian, bicycle, combined
Group 1—3, 4, 1, 10, 2
Group 2—8, 1
Group 3—2, 5, 5, 1, 4
Group 4—3, 3, 3
- could have a paved trail looping around the park

G. Education/Interpretive Markers—could put markers/signage in selected parks to inform visitors of other county Parks with interesting environmental or landmark features.
Group 1—10, 6, 6
Group 2—4
Group 3—4, 12, 13
Group 4—

H. Play Equipment—ADA Accessible, Pre-K, K-5, 10 plus
Group 1—2, 5, 2, 1
Group 2—6, 4
Group 3—5, 7, 7, 2, 10
Group 4—2, 2, 2
- keep maintained, add additional as needed

I. Shelters—upgrade
Group 1—9, 2, 1, 6, 2
Group 2—3, 7
Group 3—3, 8, 2, 3, 9
Group 4—
- running water? electricity—kitchen
-w add kitchen facility

J. Activities—volleyball, horseshoes, bocce, lawn bowling/croquet
Group 1—4, 8, 5, 1
Group 2—4, 4
Group 3—9, 10, 14
Group 4—1, 7, 7
- checking out equipment
- bats and balls
- volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, etc.
- keep it family friendly
- low-impact activities and facilities
- small trails—places to explore

K. Picnic Areas—more definition, council rings, barbecues
Group 1—7, 6, 1, 7, 1
Group 2—3, 9
Group 3—1, 3, 9, 7
Group 4—1, 1, 9

L. Fishing pier
Group 1—4, 5, 2, 9, 5
Group 2—2, 4
Group 3—13, 13, 4
Group 4—5
- No

M. Splash pads
Group 1—13, 10, 9
Group 2—9
Group 3—1, 1, 2, 4
Group 4—5, 9, 9
- Interactive water feature

N. Gardens—Butterfly, Kitchen
Group 1—8, 4, 7
Group 2—1, 9
Group 3—8, 10, 11
Group 4—4, 10, 10
- get master gardeners to do plan and implementation

O. Site Layout—landforms for separation between camping, day use, play area and open play
Group 1—1, 8, 1, 7
Group 2—5, 7
Group 3—15
Group 4—10

P. Other—please describe below:
Group 1—4
Group 2—
Group 3—5, 3, 3
Group 4—4
- Lakeview Center not being used enough; should have a lot more activities for all the money paid for it and not getting the payers' money out of it.
- improve lake quality
- let users know the quality of swimming
- shower off area for swimmers
- there should be signs on the highway to show for park
- regarding Lakeview and Redwood: With some improvements there is potential for using these facilities via a contract or retainer with St. Cloud State University. For use for meetings/retreats. This was almost a reality a few years ago, but county was not really ready or able to provide the upgrades or the personnel to manage the relationship

2. St. Regis Park—0.6 Acres

A. Low-maintenance plantings
Group 1—5, 1, 2, 2
Group 2—1, 3
Group 3—1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2
Group 4—1, 3

B. Educational/Interpretive markers
Group 1—5, 2, 6, 1
Group 2—2, 3
Group 3—1, 2
Group 4—2

C. Other—Please describe below:
Group 1—2
Group 2—
Group 3—
Group 4—1, 3
- maintain public access
- more information about location and facilities to public
- canoe launch/picnic area
- restore shoreland

3. RoseAnna Beach Park—0.6 Acres

A. Parking—upgrade
Group 1—10, 1, 8, 1
Group 2— 2, 3
Group 3— 2, 2
Group 4—1, 1, 1

B. Picnic—upgrade
Group 1 – 1, 2, 6, 2
Group 2 – 1
Group 3 – 1, 1, 2
Group 4 – 2, 3, 3

C. Low-maintenance plantings
Group 1 – 4, 3, 6, 3
Group 2 – 3
Group 3 – 1, 1, 1, 3, 4
Group 4 – 2, 2, 3

D. Educational/Interpretive markers
Group 1 – 4, 4, 6, 4
Group 2 – 4
Group 3 – 3
Group 4 – 4, 4, 4

E. Other—please describe below:
Group 1 –
Group 2 –
Group 3 –
Group 4 – 5
- Make the location and facilities know to the public.

4. Mayhew Lake Park—4.4 +/- Acres

A. Fishing pier
Group 1 – 1, 1, 1, 2
Group 2 – 1, 3
Group 3 – 1, 2, 3
Group 4 – 2, 2, 5

B. Trails—pedestrian
Group 1 – 3, 1, 2, 5
Group 2 – 1, 2
Group 3 – 1, 1, 1, 1, 4
Group 4 – 1, 3, 3

C. Seating node
Group 1 – 4, 4, 4, 1
Group 2 – 3, 3
Group 3 – 2, 2, 4, 5
Group 4 – 4, 5

D. Low-maintenance plantings
Group 1 – 5, 4, 3, 4
Group 2 – 3, 4
Group 3 – 2, 2, 3, 3
Group 4 – 2, 4, 4

E. Educational/Interpretive markers
Group 1 – 2, 3, 5, 3
Group 2 – 3, 5
Group 3 – 4, 5
Group 4 - 3

F. Other—please describe below:
Group 1 – 6, 3
Group 2 –
Group 3 –
Group 4 – 1, 1, 6
- More parking
- Set trap in river to hold fish in lake.
- Acquire additional land

D. Low-maintenance plantings
Group 1 – 5, 4, 3, 4
Group 2 – 3, 4
Group 3 – 2, 2, 3, 3
Group 4 – 2, 4, 4

E. Educational/Interpretive markers
Group 1 – 2, 3, 5, 3
Group 2 – 3, 5
Group 3 – 4, 5
Group 4 - 3

F. Other—please describe below:
Group 1 – 6, 3
Group 2 –
Group 3 –
Group 4 – 1, 1, 6
-More parking
-Set trap in river to hold fish in lake.
-Acquire additional land

5. St. George Township Park—17 Acres, currently undeveloped

A. Trail—pedestrian
Group 1 – 1, 1, 1, 1
Group 2 – 1, 1
Group 3 –
Group 4 – 1, 1, 1
- only nature study—difficult easement

B. Other—please describe below:
Group 1 –
Group 2 –
Group 3 –
Group 4 – 2, 2, 2
-make connections with trails to local features

6. Wapicada Village Mayhew Park—Currently undeveloped

A. Other—please describe below:
Group 1 – 2, 1
Group 2 –
Group 3 – 1, 1
Group 4 – 1
- bicycle/walking bridge to access area
- make entry to land
- primitive camping or picnicking

Open Space - Future Facilities

Although Benton County Parks owns relatively few acres of natural areas at this time, there may be additional natural areas integrated into the County Park system in the future. A stated goal of the County's comp plan is to "protect and preserve high-quality natural areas and open spaces."

The County is interested in your input to determine what types of activities and/or resource-compatible facilities you would be interested in having Staff consider for natural areas. We are asking your help to prioritize the items below with the understanding that some natural areas are sensitive to too much activity and may not support some of the things listed. Your input is important to help guide where resources are used to provide appropriate enjoyment experiences for visitors in County-owned natural areas.

Please place a number to the left of each item listed below, with 1 being the highest rank:

2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 2, 5, 1, 4, 4, 2—Resource Planning and Active Management

To help maintain or improve the quality of natural areas. This may include activities such as creating a management plan, removing nonnative/invasive species, seeding/planting and others. There are a wide variety of tools that can be used for resource management that must be applied in an integrated fashion to the right place at the right time.

1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1 - Trail Creation

Some natural areas can support trails that may vary in size from a narrow foot path to one that is periodically mowed, and perhaps as wide as 10 to 12 feet. In some instances, trails make Active Management with tools such as prescribed fire easier, safer and less expensive.

3, 4, 3, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 3, 1, 1 - Interpretive Signage

This may be as simple as a small sign pointing out a particular feature on the natural landscape or as large as a kiosk with signs, pamphlets and other materials. A single sign might be placed near a common entry point such as a parking lot, or a number of different signs might be used to create an interpretive trail.

4, 2, 2, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2 - Trail Shelters

This may be as simple as a small sign pointing out a particular feature on the natural landscape or as large as a kiosk with signs, pamphlets and other materials. A single sign might be placed near a common entry point such as a parking lot, or a number of different signs might be used to create an interpretive trail. In some instances, they can increase the amount of time and energy required for Active Management with tools such as prescribed fire.


Other

  • purchase Oak Savannas and have trails pass through them, along with interpretive signage
  • connect trails to surrounding counties' trails. Apply for federal funds from Region 7W
  • have one trail just for motorized (snowmobile, 4-wheeler) ATVs, one just for walking or skiing, and possibly have them on different sides of the park. This would serve more people that way.
  • all management and development should be geared toward preservation of the natural qualities of the area (resource planning and active management).
  • install deer and bird feeders in open areas along some trails
  • build fishing peer to connect or next to new Gordon Bridge. Have parking area with handicap accessibility
  • neighborhood volunteer "watch" support groups to adopt areas
  • management plan to include what is not allowed, e.g., motorized vehicles, and security/ monitoring/enforcement of restrictions
  • concerned with the overall costs and with micro analyzing people's private property rights too much. Leave park areas as natural as possible.