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RCWD and City staff held numerous meetings leading up to the start of the project including a heavily attended open house/neighborhood meeting. Recommendations were provided by the City's Parks, Recreation, and Environmental Commission (PREC) to the City Council. Important dates up to the start of the project are shown below:
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The Rice Creek Watershed District’s (RCWD) Hansen Park project originated from a 2013 petition to the RCWD by the Cities of New Brighton and St. Anthony Village to establish a Basic Water Management Project to address stormwater management and flooding within the contributing drainage area to Ramsey County Ditch 2 (the City of Roseville was later added to the petition).
The existing ponding basin (and dam) in Hansen Park was originally constructed in 1969 to be 4 feet deep. Following years of sedimentation, the pond depth was only 6 inches deep just before the project. RCWD worked closely with the Minnesota DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to implement the removal of the dam and excavation of the pond. The pond depth when complete will again be an average of 4 feet deep. However, the normal water level will be lowered 2 feet and the dam was raised 2 feet. This combination allows for an additional 11.6 million gallons of water to be stored in the park during heavy storms.
The RCWD was awarded a BWSR Clean Water Fund Grant from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, in the amount of $3,000,000, to complete a series of projects designed to clean up Long Lake. One of these projects, the Hansen Park Comprehensive Water Management Project, is expected to cost a total of $4.8 million. $1,540,000 of the grant was allocated to Hansen Park and the RCWD is providing the remaining costs of the project.
The trails on the west are raised by this project and will be constructed to reduce the frequency and duration of flooding on park trails during/after large rainstorms. Additionally, the project removed the boardwalk trail east of the dam and converted it to gravel. During the summer of 2017, the bridge near the Hansen Park shelter experienced flooding and this structure and adjacent trails will be raised in 2018 prior to completion of the project.
The remaining dredging will take place in early 2018, with trail work, grading, and revegetation to be completed in the summer. The final planting plan will expand the growth of aquatic plants in the pond, and incorporate native plants throughout the project site (including pollinator-specific plants). The raised park trails on the west side will be paved in late summer 2018. The water level in the pond will be raised to normal around this time as well.
Prior to the project, the existing pond bottom soils were characterized and compared to MPCA guidance documents. All materials meeting Dredge Management Level 2 or 3 have been and/or will be hauled offsite to an approved disposal location (i.e. landfill). Materials meeting the criteria for residential re-use (Dredge Management Level 1) will be placed in the open area previously used as youth ball fields.
The youth ballfields on the west side of Hansen Park were often wet and were our lowest quality fields. The City Council, PREC, and staff approved relocating these youth fields to the east side of Hansen Park to the current adult fields at this location. These fields have fences and will be reconstructed/regraded to meet youth needs. The two adult fields had undulating outfields (ankle breakers) and were often wet. These two existing adult fields will be reprogrammed to the newly constructed lighted ballfield at New Brighton's Lion's Park.
Existing excavation material from the pond meeting MPCA residential standards was placed in this area as part of the project. The area was raised above the floodplain and will be mowed turf grass with un-programmed use at this time.
The RCWD's Hansen Park project allowed for the contractor to store excavated materials in the open area to allow the soil to dry before being hauled out. This activity would either require the fields to be regraded/replaced or RCWD would compensate the City for it to create fields in a different location. The City agreed to the removal of these fields in exchange for $200,000 up front, and approximately an additional $100,000 at the completion of the project. The first $200,000 was used towards the adult softball field at New Brighton Lion's Park, and the remaining funds will be used to improve and convert the existing adult fields on the east of Hansen Park for youth use.
This area is an Iron-Enhanced Sand Filter (IESF) and its purpose is to improve the quality of water flowing through the park and down to Pike Lake and Long Lake. It removes phosphorous from the water by pumping pond water through the filter beds, thus reducing algae blooms in the downstream lakes. This feature will be operated and maintained by the RCWD.