North St. Paul invests in Hause Park renovations


On July 20, North St. Paul Public Works staff began dismantling the 21-year-old play structure at Hause Park. New equipment will be installed Aug. 10. Aundrea Kinney/Review

Renovations to the enclosed shelter at Hause Park include a new furnace, windows and doors, in addition to replacing the rotten siding and indoor flooring. A pathway will also be added from one of the doors to the road. Andrea Kinney/Review

Hause Park in North St. Paul may look like a whole new park after two renovation projects are complete. On July 18, the North St. Paul City Council agreed to update the enclosed park building, and on Aug. 10, volunteers will be installing a new playground structure, an action approved by the council May 16.

 

Park shelter

Hause Park, located on Charles Street North between Fourth and Fifth avenues, offers one of the two enclosed shelters North St. Paul rents out. City council members agreed to appropriate $30,000 from the park fund to update the aged facility. The action was based on a recommendation made by Debra Gustafson, the city’s strategic operations director, on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I just want to say I’m really happy to hear that this is happening. ... It really needs the updates and for the cost — I think that’s a really low cost,” said council member Tom Sonnek.

Gustafson explained at the July 18 meeting that the improvements will include an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible pathway between the road and the shelter and a new furnace to replace the existing furnace, which is condemned. New windows and doors are also a part of the plan, along with the replacement of rotten siding, updates to the restrooms and kitchenette, and replacing the carpet with epoxy flooring.

“The main use of Hause Park Shelter is facility rentals. As of June 30 ... we had 26 facility reservations at Hause. I’m anticipating that we’ll have more throughout the season,” Gustafson said.

The need for updates was noticed by the public — Gustafson said Community Development staff has received numerous complaints about the shelter’s existing condition from people who rented it. Additionally, a community meeting held in April revealed that neighbors of the park see shelter renovations as a priority.

Most of the work will be completed by the North St. Paul Public Works Department this winter when employees are less busy than they are in the warmer months.

Before the council voted on the issue, council member Jan Walczak shared her concern that the inside of the shelter should be ADA accessible, like the proposed walkway outside. Gustafson explained that the bathrooms are not currently ADA accessible, but those changes would be made with the proposed renovations. 

 

Playground

North St. Paul Public Works staff began removing the outdated playground equipment from Hause Park July 20, and the city is still seeks volunteers for the community build scheduled for Aug. 10.

The play structure, which has outlived its 15-year life expectancy, will be removed and replaced with a new one — called the Scrambler — and another fun component: a zip track. The Scrambler includes two slides and a rock climbing wall, as well as other features.

In addition to the new play equipment, the sand at the playground will be replaced by fiber playground chips to improve safety; drain tiles will be added to reduce the possibility of flooding; a concrete curb will be built around the playground area; and a walkway connecting the street to the playground will be built. 

The city is also throwing in a couple benches for parents and guardians.

The updates to the Hause Park play area were included in the Park Improvement Plan that was adopted by the council in January 2013; the full $41,000 designated for the project will be taken from the city’s park fund. 

At the July 18 meeting, council member Terry Furlong, who is the council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission, noted that after the changes are made to the park shelter and the playground, this could become a “destination park” in the community.

“I think it’s really going to add value to the neighborhood,” he said.

To sign up to help build the new playground visit www.northstpaul.org and click “New Playground for Hause.”

 

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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