Nicollet Commons

Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville at 12550 Nicollet Avenue.

BURNSVILLE — A beloved community play area is closed for repair this summer, but the park will likely open with a few new bells and whistles next year.

Showing signs of wear and tear, the water feature at Nicollet Commons Park won’t open this summer.

On Tuesday, a majority of the Burnsville City Council members said they support rolling park enhancements, such as adding new water features, into the park’s maintenance project.

“It’s such a draw, not just for this community, but for communities all around us,” Councilor Dan Gustafson said.

Ryan Peterson, the city’s public works director, said the rehabilitation project is expected to cost approximately $750,000. Replacing broken water pipes and sealing cement cracks are a few repairs on the to-do list.

The water feature was built in 2003.

After becoming more than a place to dip your toes, the Minnesota Department of Health contacted city leaders to say the site should be considered a pool. The water feature underwent a retrofitting project to meet pool standards in 2009.

Garrett Beck, the city’s parks, recreations and facilities director, said putting the park temporarily out of commission gives city leaders an opportunity to reimagine its future.

The park outgrew its original intent, and demand on the already-popular park is expected to increase.

Beck said three developments underway in Burnsville are expected to bring over 500 new housing units to the area in the near future.

Councilor Cara Schultz voiced the lone opposition for adding the enhancements to the overall project.

“To me, the enhancements are a want and we have a lot of needs coming up and I think we’re in such financial uncertainty, especially going into 2021, that it just doesn’t look right — when so many people are struggling financially in our city — to do this,” she said.

The project will be paid for with dollars in the park dedication fund. The use of these funds is restricted to certain parks projects.

“I think we are going to be in a crunch in every area and I think we are going to have to stretch every dollar, and I don’t care what bucket you get that dollar out of,” Schultz said.

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said it’s the right time for the project, and enhancing the amenity for the community’s use is a need.

A design for the enhancements hasn’t been finalized, but the Council gave city staff the green light to continue moving toward the bid process.

A concept design hadn’t yet been shared with the Council, but the officials requested the enhancements not exceed a $500,000 estimated cost.

The project timeline sets the park’s reopening date sometime around Memorial Day next year.

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