The Shakopee City Council adopted the Parks, Trails and Recreation Master Plan Tuesday evening, which will serve as the city’s preliminary 20-year guiding document for the future of its parks and trails.
Over the past year, the city has worked with its consultant team, new residents, a steering committee, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Three Rivers Park District to form the plan. Its consulting firm, Confluence, also received insight from more than 1,000 Shakopee residents to develop the , which comes in the wake of the city’s Envision Shakopee project — a 20-year comprehensive plan for the build out of the city.
The parks and trails vision revolves around connection. Residents want to feel connected to the nearby Minnesota River, to Shakopee’s rich history, to parks and trails, to surrounding businesses and to each other, Brad Aldrich, the presenter for Confluence, said.
The visionary is not part of a capital improvement plan, City Administrator Bill Reynolds emphasized, which means it isn’t set in stone.
“This is a visionary document,” Reynolds said. “There are things in this plan that will not happen.”
Changes in the economy, business partnerships falling through and a shortfall in grant money are all factors that could change the feasibility of the parks and trails plan.
Here are some of the takeaways from the master plan.
The vision for this park is to create a skating area in the winter with two hockey rinks, a broom ball rink and a warming house. Summer months would bring the addition of a renovated basketball court and expanded pickle ball courts.
This park would turn into an “adventure play area,” with an expanded mountain bike trail and kayaking and canoeing opportunities off the beach. Also mentioned in the is a proposal to move the historic helicopter located at Memorial park to Quarry Lake, because it would better fit the “adventure” theme of the park.
The main changes to this area would be practical: more shade and water fountains. Also included in the proposal are street crossing improvements and bike stations.
Three Rivers Park District and the SMSC are interested in planning a cultural trail at Memorial Park, which would offer people from throughout the region to make the trek to the park to learn about the region’s European settlers and Native Americans.
One idea proposed in the was to engage residents using immersive videos to display the region’s history in a virtual reality manner, so they could see how the land they are standing on has changed over time. Residents could access these videos with their mobile phones.
In addition to this proposal, the city would look into adding more green space, a natural playground and easy river access with a kayak boat landing.
“This really becomes a regional cultural destination,” Aldrich said.
A dog park, kayak launch and destination playground are in the plan for Huber Park in Downtown Shakopee. Other tweaks include an amphitheater face lift, more green space and a Veterans memorial. Aldrich said he envisions bustling art fairs and food truck events during the summer months after Huber Park receives its makeover.
Part of the proposal included a suggestion to rename Huber Park to Holmes Park. City staff and Mayor Bill Mars said at the meeting that, because of the negative feedback in response to this proposal, the renaming of Huber park would be “off the table.”
The vision for Windermere Park, one of Shakopee’s highest points, calls for a natural children’s park with natural play areas and a surrounding trail system for biking, hiking or walking. Shakopee’s archery range is proposed to move here, as well as another dog park.
can have a Cadillac’
City Councilor Matt Lehman, who did not vote on the adoption of the parks and trails because he had to leave the meeting to attend to family matters, said he was concerned with the loftiness of the plan.
“It looks like every part is the top Cadillac,” he said, adding that even though the visionary document is just a plan, once the trickles into Shakopee’s comprehensive plan, the city has to find a way to implement it.
“Everybody would like a Cadillac, but some people don’t get to have one,” he said.
Reynolds responded to Lehman’s concerns, saying the plan was meant to be lofty, reiterating that not everything outlined in the plan will come to fruition.
The rest of the council voted in favor of the adoption of the plan, commending Aldrich and his team for their years-long work on the document.
“I encourage every resident to read this document. Seek to understand and seek to learn in our community,” Mars said.
The document is 269 pages and can be found at https://cld.bz/ea1hDxp.