HOWARD LAKE, MN The Howard Lake City Council approved revisions to the Central Park Project Phase 1 and design services for the addition of a splash pad during a city council meeting FEb. 18, because of residents’ requests to add it.
A splash pad requires a 60-day build out, and could be available as early as mid-August.
There was deliberation in allocating these funds to a splash pad specifically, in lieu of other major park renovations, such as the Memorial Park bathrooms.
There were concerns that funding already allocated to other projects would have to be moved to cover the cost of this addition.
Council Member Gene Gilbert noted that other projects need completion before adding funding to new projects.
Phase 1 was approved last year, to include regrading and adding sidewalk, landscaping benches, and the addition of an amphitheater.
The original budgeted cost of Phase 1 included limestone benches, which have been replaced with benches that other cities have donated to the City of Howard Lake.
It also reduces the number of trees to be planted.
The estimated cost of Phase 1, including the splash pad, is $450,000, and would be paid for by the Park Dedication Fund, plus a portion of already-budgeted funds intended for later projects.
HL library study
In 2019, the city council approved a new roof, landscaping, and general maintenance for the Howard Lake Library.
City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller suggested that a library study be conducted by BKV Group to answer two questions.
• What would it take to make the current library fully-functional and code compliant?
• How much would it cost for a completely new building?
It may be more cost-effective to construct a new library building, than to bring the current building up to compliance.
The current library has no elevator, making it difficult for parents with strollers to access the second level. There is also very little space for staff to store supplies.
“Libraries today are not the same as they were 20 years ago,” Mayor Pete Zimmerman stated. He also noted that libraries will not be the same in another 20 years.
Libraries have evolved over the years, but still remain a consistent community centerpiece.
The Howard Lake Library, which is a part of the Great River Regional Library, has a wide variety of uses, including the community room on the second floor.
BKV Group, which the city has used for studies before, can have the study completed within four to six weeks.
At least one representative from BKV Group has worked with Great River Regional Library in the past.
The city’s capital fund would cover the cost of the study, from the facilities fund.
The council approved moving forward with the study at a cost of $12,000.