New Marion Street park to bring more green play space for Roseville families


courtesy of City of Roseville • A new green-space park has been approved for 1716 Marion St. in southeast Roseville. With a public and privately funded $250,000 budget, the lot will include a wide open field, playground and a hill slide.

courtesy of City of Roseville • The hill slide — which came out of neighborhood talks with the Parks and Recreation Board — will be a unique addition to the area.

courtesy of City of Roseville • The paths, gardens and benches also included in the park’s master plan should help make the park a destination for multi-generational families and residents.

courtesy of Google Maps • The 0.68-acre lot where the park will be, near Larpenteur Avenue and Rice Street, currently sits vacant.

The Roseville City Council unanimously approved the master plan for a new park to be built in the southeast corner of the city. 

Parks and Recreation Department officials presented plans for the new park, located at 1716 Marion St., at the Feb. 12 council meeting. The park will work to provide a safe, green place for the neighborhood’s children to play.

The $250,000 budget and master plan for the lot, tucked away near the corner of Larpenteur Avenue and Rice Street, was approved that night alongside another park on Cleveland Avenue, as covered in a previous story.

While there are many large apartment complexes in the Marion Street area, they do not provide playgrounds or other facilities for kids and families.

Council member Tammy McGeHee said she is excited this opportunity received the go-ahead.

“I’m very much in favor of the Marion Street park,” McGeHee said. “There are many, many children there and no place to play.”

Just like single family homes have yards and are often near playgrounds, McGeHee said she feels this high-density residential area is underserved and finally getting the attention it deserves. 

“I really think it’s a great opportunity,” she said. “It’s got a lot of community support because people do believe we should do some of these things.”

The 0.68-acre lot was purchased by the city for $68,000 back in May 2016. Of the $250,000 budget, $137,380 will come from grant funding and community pledges, according to city documents.

Pledges from local organizations include the Friends of Roseville Parks and the North Suburban Evening Kiwanis Club. City funds will cover the remaining $112,620 of the park’s budget. 

 

A community build

What started as resident complaints of children playing in parking lots and streets eventually turned into conversations with many local partners, including the Karen Organization of Minnesota.

Some three or four years ago, the large Karen immigrant population in the area urged the organization to get involved, helping to advocate for the lack of play options.

“This was a need that the parks department was not really aware of before we started meeting,” Karen Organization Co-Executive Director Alexis Walstad said. “Tamarack Park is relatively close by, and I think that the assumption was that the kids could just walk over there and use that park.”

Working with the community directly, the Parks and Recreation Department hosted many meetings and discussions. According to the department, more than 300 residents were in attendance at some five meetings. 

“Accessibility and having a place that’s close to home is really important, especially to parents in these apartments as well, who need to keep an eye on their kids,” Walstad said. “It was really a good opportunity to just come up with an idea that we really needed more green space in the apartment buildings.”

In addition to the green space, the master plan includes a playground, treehouse and a hill slide as part of the lot’s renovation. 

“It’s been a lot of different partners working together to figure out how we can make a more welcoming environment for refugees who are living in Roseville,” Walstad said.

Among the Karen population who lived in the area — many of whom have now moved out — there are other immigrant families living in nearby apartment complexes, including Nepali and Bhutanese communities.

It’s through the children of these families that Grace Church of Roseville got involved. 

“With our local focus, we really want to be active in our community,” said Grace Church Director of Impact Darla Benjamin. “We asked ourselves, ‘How can we help most with the issues and things that are happening right here?’”

Working with the Roseville Police Department to find out the needs of the city directly, the church wanted to become part of the plan. Benjamin said after attending some meetings about the park, Grace Church pledged $75,000 for its playground. It will be constructed in a community build effort.

“It came out of [the] generosity of our people,” Benjamin said. “It’s easy to write a check sometimes, but what’s better is building relationships and having connections.”

Construction of the yet-to-be named Marion Street park is set for this summer.


 

– Katie Lauer can be reached at klauer@lillienews.com.

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