County OKs land for Warren Park
Warren Park's six-acre park addition passed a hurdle Nov. 20 when the St. Croix Board of Adjustment approved its land use.
The addition is a crucial asset to the already 24 acres owned by the Town, said Rich Meyer, Town Board chairman and the driving force behind the park.
When it's all said and done, the park will cost the Town about $500,000, Meyer said.
Currently, Warren Park sits on 24 acres of land and includes the Town Hall building, about a mile and a half of walking trails, a playground area and shelter.
The addition will be built east of the current park. Plans feature a baseball field, soccer field, volleyball pits, second shelter, horse shoe games, picnic tables and additional parking.
The Town needed permission from the St. Croix Board of Adjustment because the proposed land is zoned ag-residential, which means it wasn't to be used for park space.
Now that park use has been approved, the area must be leveled, Meyer said.
It's a hill right now and one end of the hill is seven feet higher than the other end, he said.
Meyer said he hopes to have the land leveled by spring so the grass can be planted. His ultimate goal is to have a full lawn in time for the Town's 150th celebration in 2010.
Other planned updates for the park -- including a new gazebo behind the Town Hall garage, a restored prairie area south of the walking trails, two new boat docks, an observation deck and an oak tree carved into an eagle -- could take more time, he said.
For example, building a public boat dock requires different specifications than a private deck someone would build in his or her backyard. The problem, Meyer said, is that it's not clear what those specifications are and hiring an expert would cost thousands of dollars.
It's something the town must carefully consider, he said. New boat docks could significantly increase the number of people visiting the park.
The park already gets a decent number of visitors, he said. Some of the draw is that the park is dog friendly. Pet owners can bring their four-legged friends to Warren Park and walk without a leash.
The woodchip walking trails, which were built by prison inmates, are used year round. In the winter months, residents are often out walking the trails in snow shoes and cross country skis, he said.
Eventually, Meyer said the park could become a destination for travelers. That's because parks in the 30 to 35 acre range are said to draw people to the area, he said.
Work on the new recreation area will start within the next couple weeks, he said.
That's also when the eagle statue will be carved, he said.