Plans for a new recreational park in south Savage are moving ahead.
The new park is proposed to combine two pieces of park land set aside from separate housing developments on Hampshire Avenue. One development is currently underway and one is awaiting approval.
If fully approved, the park will span approximately two acres, and its opening date will depend on the pace of the developments and park design process.
Park amenities being considered for the site include green space, a playground, picnic shelter and potentially restrooms, according to the Savage Public Works Director Greg Boatman.
The plans for a new park have been underway for several years.
The park area is approximately a quarter-mile south of Redtail Ridge Elementary School and near the Murphy Hanrehan Park Reserve border. Some officials have said a new park is needed because south Savage residents must cross 158th Street to access Redtail Ridge, and the park reserve has no walking trails beginning nearby.
Last year, city officials locked in 1.17 acres of parkland when they approved the Creek Hill East development. The land is currently being graded to prepare for construction of the 39 new homes.
Since 2013, Creek Hill East’s developer, Pulte Homes, has developed 170 lots in the area and paid roughly $650,000 to the city in fees in lieu of setting aside parkland within the developments.
In 2017, the Savage Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission recommended that the Savage City Council request land instead of fees on future development in the area to ensure a recreational park for the south Savage community.
In 2018, city officials considered whether or not they should proactively purchase land from a private landowner, but decided to wait for opportunities to request land from incoming developers.
Purchasing land allows officials to change land’s use, but dedicating land designates that the land will forever be used as a park.
As officials hoped last year, the second piece of park land came onto the map recently with the proposed Hampshire Preserve development.
The development, which includes approximately one-acre of parkland, will go before the Savage Planning Commission on July 9 ahead of a council vote on July 20.
The parks commission reviewed the proposal last month and recommended the council accept the land for park dedication.