Shoreview’s $15 million community center expansion is underway


Shoreview City Council members Sue Denkinger, Cory Springhorn, Mayor Sandy Martin, Emy Johnson and Terry Quigley used gold shovels to toss some dirt Oct. 23, marking the beginning of construction on the city’s $15.6 million community center expansion. Mike Munzenrider

Prior to the official groundbreaking ceremony, Shoreview Mayor Sandy Martin said the expansion originally began as requests for more changing rooms for the community center pool area and that additional amenities were then added to the plans. “We got carried away,” she joked. Mike Munzenrider

The expansion of the Shoreview Community Center will include a 7,000-square-foot addition to the waterpark, including a new zero-depth pool and more family changing rooms. Work is slated to be completed in August 2018. courtesy of City of Shoreview

Though an October chill was in the air, it was all warm smiles as Shoreview city officials and others broke ground Oct. 23 on a major expansion of the Shoreview Community Center.

“We used to say that Shoreview doesn’t have a downtown,” said Mayor Sandy Martin, explaining the purpose of the community center, which opened in 1990, was to be the social, recreational and cultural focal point for the city.

Nearly 30 years on, its achieved that goal and then some, Martin said, with more than 500,000 users each year.

Work will begin immediately on the estimated $15.6 million expansion, said City Manager Terry Schwerm, with a planned completion date of August 2018.

Martin said the seeds of the expansion were planted by requests from community center users for more family changing rooms in the pool area.

“Of course we’re going to build those ... and a few other things,” Martin said to laughter from the city council members, city staffers and contractors who’d gathered in the community center pavilion to stay warm before the digging began. “We got carried away.”

 

The project was officially approved at the council’s Oct. 2 meeting. 

One of the project’s focal points is a 7,000-square-foot expansion of the popular Tropics Indoor Waterpark, which will include a new zero-depth pool, an aquatic play structure and a near tripling of the number of family changing rooms, from two to seven.

The other focal point of the project is a two-level, 15,000-square-foot expansion next to the current gym. The new space will be used for four new group fitness studios, a larger indoor playground area and four new multipurpose meeting and activity rooms.

According to city documents, the project is being paid for with general obligation abatement bonds that the city will pay over 20 years, and with money from capital project funds.

Martin said the community is supportive of the expansion, and that the project is also a business decision. The community center, which charges “nonprofit” rates, she said, does compete with for-profit gyms and fitness centers, so keeping it competitive was a part of the city’s motivation to build.

Certain sections of the community center will be closed during construction, and the city recommends signing up for a bi-monthly expansion newsletter at www.shoreviewcommunitycenter.com, for those who wish to stay up to date.

The next big project for the city, Schwerm said, could be carrying out the recent updates to the Shoreview Commons Master Plan.

Change has seemingly been constant over the past few years in the Commons area at Victoria Street and Highway 96. The Commons include the community center, Shoreview City Hall and the brand new Ramsey County Library-Shoreview, which opened in January of this year. 

However, Schwerm said any additions related to the Commons Master Plan update, including a destination playground, a new skate park, more trail connections and a plaza that could serve as an outdoor wedding venue, are far from a done deal. 

For now, residents will have to be content with the community center expansion; the earliest Shoreview’s next big round of construction in the Commons could get underway, he said, is 2019.

 

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813



 

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