BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Delano City Council is moving forward with plans for a splash pad, but in a new location.
Poor soils in the originally proposed location west of Third Street and south of the 4th of July beer stand increased the estimated cost of the project by about $100,000. New plans call for the splash pad to move northeast of that location to the corner of Third Street and the walkway, where a new concessions building had been proposed. Now, the concessions building will shift to the east and change from a T shape to one long building lined up next to the splash pad.
“We ended up finding good soil borings in this area,” intern Mackenzie Krause told the council during a special meeting Tuesday. “Soils would need to be corrected some, but not as much as in the original location.”
The total area of the splash pad and concrete and the fence around it will be 120 feet by 80 feet.
Krause explained why the new site would be desirable.
“This is a good location in that it’s still within the park so it provides that privacy we had talked about in earlier meetings,” Krause said. “There are utilities located right next to it, as well, so there will be easy access for utilities.”
Additionally, Krause said the new plan pushes the concessions building closer to Delano Municipal Stadium. Concessions could also be made available to the splash pad users, which could help fund an additional attendant at the site.
Neither the splash pad nor the concessions building are within the drip line of the existing oak trees, and the site is in a sunny area, City Administrator Phil Kern noted.
Assistant City Engineer Shawn Louwagie added that two ash trees along Third Street will be removed, as previously planned, but no oak trees will be removed.
The city may utilize the existing Boy Scout pop stand as a mechanical building, or the mechanical components may be moved into a portion of the concessions building, Kern said.
With the initial splash pad plan, the beer stand was to be removed and a permanent shade pavilion was to be added, but the beer stand will remain and the pavilion will be put on hold. The Delano 4th of July Committee is planning to commit funding for concessions building equipment and the pavilion, but will not be committing funds for the splash pad. However, the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano has pledged $5,000.
Councilman Jason Franzen asked how the new plans would affect the 4th of July celebration.
“Something to think about is this area is a gathering point for the carnival for four days,” Franzen said. “It’s not something we discount. We have to think about where is the natural gathering point going to be? If we island things off, it breaks up the social cohesion. The last thing is how the carnival people feel about it is irrelevant, but there’s only so many of these companies around. I’m fine with the splash pad. We need to think about how much we’re encroaching on the carnival that’s a long-term draw.”
Kern said he had met with representatives of the Delano Athletic Association and 4th of July Committee at the site.
“The serving windows serve into the oak gathering area. They felt that was a positive,” Kern said. “ . . . One or two rides will have to be cut or dispersed elsewhere else. Jack Lynch, who also is a former 4th of July Committee chair, looked at it and said, ‘You’ll draw way more people with this splash pad here than you would with two extra kid rides.’”
Mayor Dale Graunke said the carnival owners have adapted to changes in the past, and would likely find a way to do so again.
“If you become creative when you’re pushed into a corner, you find new ways to do things,” Graunke said.
Plans call for work to begin at the site the second week of July.
Odds and ends
During a joint meeting with the Delano Water, Light, and Power Commission, Kern announced that the city is negotiating to take over marketing and developing duties from the private entity currently doing so for the West Metro Business Park.
“Essentially, we’ll be taking on a greater part of that project,” Kern said. “We have a couple interesting prospects. Given the renegotiation, everyone is stalled. I’m excited that if we can get that set up, we can have some relatively quick action.”