Parklands faces hiccups as construction continues


JASPER — Despite a few snags, the Jasper Parks Department still expects the Parklands to open in the fall of 2018.

The Park Board heard an update Tuesday on the 75-acre nature park under construction on 15th Street near Jasper High School. The $7 million project currently faces two issues: The signature footbridge still has not arrived, and the cascades, or waterfalls, between the middle and lower ponds may not be able to flow year-round.

The footbridge will cross the stream between the middle and upper ponds and was expected to arrive in August after being pushed back the first time. Without the bridge, other areas of the project cannot be completed. Jasper Lumber now expects to receive the bridge in the next couple of weeks. 

The other issue facing the project comes from the cascades that will flow from the lower pond near the parking lot off 15th Street into the middle pond. The plan had been to drill a well to ensure the cascades flow even if the water level in the lower pond drops, however when crews drilled the well, they didn’t hit a water source with enough flow to sustain the cascades.

Several solutions are under discussion, including drilling again closer to the Jasper High School property but still in the city’s easement. If that happens, a waterline will have to be run from the well to the cascades. All together, that option would add $17,000 to the project, which could be covered by contingency costs.

Another option is to simply let the water flow naturally. As it is, water will flow from the lower pond to the middle pond as long as the water level remains high enough. If the water level drops, however, the flow will stop, which Parks Director Ken Buck said is not ideal.

“We want to make sure there is water flowing in there all the time,” he said.

The board also approved the residents along Matthew Avenue to build an access path from the dead-end road to the Parklands. Greg Krodel presented the neighborhood’s plan to the board. According to the plan, the neighbors will pay for a culvert to be installed in the ditch between their road and the Parklands as well as for a crushed stone path to be built. Once the project is complete, the neighbors will donate the path to the Parklands. Krodel said the path was shown in some initial plans for the park, but ultimately eliminated. The neighbors then approached the city about building the access point for themselves and worked with city personnel to develop a plan, eventually settling on the culvert and crushed stone path.

“In the long haul it’s more cost effective,” Krodel said. “It’ll last longer ... and it aligns with other culvert solutions along the nature trail.”

The park board ended its meeting with a discussion on park rules for the Parklands.

Parks department staff drafted a list of rules that includes age limits for minors to be alone in the park, guidelines for fishing in the ponds and guidelines for the use of trails by bicycles, skateboards and scooters. The draft also bans alcohol from the park, but park board members wondered how that rule would work when the pavilion is open for event rentals that will likely include alcohol.

City Attorney Renee Kabrick said separate rules would need to be drafted for the pavilion.

Park Board President Roger Seger also pointed out that with an alcohol ban, people would not be able to bring in a picnic that included a bottle of wine.

All the rules will be revisited and finalized at the board’s October meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 at City Hall, 610 Main St.   

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