Graphic representation of the new community park building from the north side entrance. Graphic courtesy of the City of Cottage Grove
News
The evolution of Glacial Valley Park

 

By Dan Solovitz

Plans for an expansive new park on Ravine Parkway in Cottage Grove are moving forward, as presented at the Cottage Grove Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 22. Glacial Valley Park at 9900 Ravine Parkway South has begun initial construction and will be continued through this fall and next spring. The park will offer numerous sports and community facilities, as well as prairie trails for use by residents.

Graphic representation of the new community park building from the south side entrance.
Graphic courtesy of the City of Cottage Grove

Currently vacant and owned by the city, the 250+ acre site is located west of Keats Avenue South, north of Ravine Parkway South and Joliet Avenue South. At a cost of approximately $4 million, the park project is funded through the Parks Trust Fund, supported by $3,400 park dedication fees paid by new homeowners and developers for each new home that is built in Cottage Grove.

According to City of Cottage Grove Planning Intern Riley Rooney, “The Parks and Recreation Department has completed a park master plan, which includes a community park building as well as various recreational facilities. It is currently zoned as agricultural, but is transitioning to a residential district to fit with new zoning ordinance regulations. Right now the site is guided as a future park, per our comprehensive plan.”

As currently planned, the complex will be home to a park building, a playground, a baseball/softball diamond, a combination soccer/football/ lacrosse field, a hockey rink, a basketball court, a skate area, six pickleball courts, and a parking lot with 70 spaces.

The land for the pickleball courts and the larger sports fields is in the process of being cleared now. The playground and hockey rink will likely be completed in the spring, along with the new community park building.

The park building will have a lobby/warming room that will be open year-round during park hours. There will also be a classroom/ program room and a multipurpose room available for community use with a fee, and a kitchenette to provide full entertainment options for groups or residents who may want to rent the rooms for parties or other events.

Map showing the location of the new park, northwest of Cedarhurst Meadows Park. Graphic courtesy of the City of Cottage Grove

Nestled between new housing developments on the south and west and the Crossroads Church Woodbury Campus to the north, the open prairieland plot will remain essentially untouched. Aside from the community sports installations, the rest of the parkland will stay as is, save added trails for hiking.

 

“The South Washington Watershed District intends to establish a Glacial Valley Interpretive Center. Essentially this is 250 acres of protected open space and trails. It will be a big area of biodiversity that will support natural vegetation and be a habitat for wildlife,” said Rooney.

Plans for the park building were presented, outlining aesthetics and functionality.

Cleared football/soccer/lacrosse field, goalposts installed. Photo by Dan Solovitz

“The building exterior will be comprised of multiple materials, including limestone masonry, glass, thermally-modified wood, and architectural pre-cast concrete. The landscaping will be comprised of deciduous and ornamental trees, as well as shrubs and perennials. In addition to what we have for the entire park, the park building will also have its own landscaping, which includes ornamental trees, deciduous trees and some prairie grasses as well. Vehicle access is proposed off of Ravine Parkway using the existing curb cut. Pedestrian access is provided by a sidewalk connection from the existing Ravine Parkway soft and regional trail systems,” added Rooney.

Commissioner Derek Rasmussen commented that he was excited that the new trail system would finally connect the existing trails all the way from Lake Elmo Park to Ravine Regional Park. When asked if 70 spaces would be enough parking for the number of community activity facilities being installed in the new park, Cottage Grove Parks & Recreation Director Zac Dockter said, “Most of our parking lots don’t get used all that often. If you look at Kingston Park, which has a couple hundred stalls, when you need those stalls you need those stalls, but the other times you don’t need them. The baseball season is about two and a half months long, the soccer season is maybe three months long. We’ll have to be creative with how we manage the rental of the facility. We have equations we use for estimating how many cars will be needed per player. We’ve worked through those numbers, and we’re pretty comfortable with it. There will be situations where it’s going to be tight, and we’ll have to tell people renting the facility that they might not be able to have a certain night or a certain time based on what we’re projecting.”

Concrete outline of future playground area. Photo by Dan Solovitz

Interior layout of the proposed community park building. Graphic courtesy of the City of Cottage Grove

Commissioner Ken Brittain added, “I think a good effort has been made to work with everything we have, to do the best that we can, and I’m excited to see this amenity in our community.”

 

Brittain motioned to approve, a second came from Commissioner Jerret Wright, and it was unanimously carried.

 

August 31, 2022