The city of Chanhassen has completed the Lake Ann Park Preserve Feasibility Study. The study provides a comprehensive overview of the next phase of the Lake Ann Park Preserve.
Earlier this year, the city negotiated an agreement with Lennar Homes, which purchased property formerly owned by the late musician Prince. Lennar and the city negotiated a density transfer which would preserve the eastern side of the property — 115 acres — as city parkland, and enable the city to continue the city’s trail system to the west side of the city, providing those residents access the city’s trail system.
The Lennar residential development, called The Park, will be built in three phases, resulting in 169 homes. Construction for the first phase began this summer.
Since then, the city conducted a study of the park preserve land, which includes property bordering Lake Ann and Lake Lucy. The park preserve acquisition will enable the city to complete three fourths of a paved trail system around Lake Ann, with one quarter of the lake property privately owned.
According to Park and Recreation Director Todd Hoffman, the next step will be the transfer of the property, then identifying a project timeline and funding sources. According to the feasibility study, funding sources could include general funds, a dedicated tax levy, bonding, general park bond issue, utility/franchise fees, partnerships, donations, grants or foundations.
A citizen survey was recently sent to 1,700 residents, selected at random, said Jake Foster, Chanhassen assistant city manager. The city participates in the National Research Survey every three years for community feedback on quality of life, public safety, local government and services, and other lifestyle factors.
The first group of surveys was sent Nov. 13; the second set was mailed Nov. 22. Deadline for responses is Dec. 27, with final results expected sometime in February.
Foster said that typically, Chanhassen performs quite well with a response of 20-25 percent.
The questions include a funding source for the Lake Ann Park Preserve project, Hoffman said.
The question is: “The city is considering a ballot question that would ask residents to approve a property tax increase of approximately $5/month for a home valued at $430,000 in order to make improvements to a number of community parks (e.g., Lake Ann Park, Bandimere Park, Lake Susan Park, and Chanhassen Recreation Center). To what extent would you support or oppose this property tax?”
“It’s a way to test the waters,” Hoffman said. “Then, based on feedback, the park commission would make a recommendation to the City Council about a future referendum. Park bonds are pretty affordable,” Hoffman said. “For the cost, $5 a month, it benefits everyone — if you use the parks, or even if you don’t, they still make your property more valuable.”