Lake Owasso County Park Development Project

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Update May 2018: The Lake Wabasso boat launch is now closed through July 1, 2018. The Lake Owasso boat launch will remain open throughout summer 2018. Ten temporary parking stalls have been created near the intersection of North Owasso Boulevard and Rice Street for parking until the Lake Wabasso launch can be reopened. Construction will continue at Lake Owasso County Park through summer 2018.

Lake Owasso County Park is a nine-acre park located at 370 N. Owasso Blvd. in Shoreview. The park is located between Lake Owasso and Lake Wabasso and is currently split into two park areas with a small crosswalk on Owasso Boulevard. The park was originally constructed in the 1960s and no renovation or design work has taken place since the park opened. Many of the facilities show significant wear and tear and currently require excessive maintenance. As a result, park use has diminished substantially. 

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has identified this park redevelopment as a high priority and has set aside $1.9 million in county funding for design and construction.

Project goals

  • Reuse existing parking lot areas for future parking with limited reconstruction.
  • Use sustainable design elements to develop new buildings that are energy and water efficient and provide enhanced stormwater management.
  • Provide universal accessible facilities in compliance with the ADA.

Past public meetings

August 25, 2016 
View notes from this meeting (PDF)

September 15, 2016
Design workshop – concept refinement
View participant feedback. (PDF)

November 17, 2016
Open house
View plan highlights and participant feedback.

March 9, 2017
Open House
View notes from this meeting. (PDF)
View image boards. (PDF)
View concept boards. (PDF)

Redevelopment project

After four community engagement meetings, a concept plan was created based on the needs of the community and participant feedback for the park. The plan includes updated project information. Original plans planned to rehabilitate existing parking lots while the new plan provides new parking lots to allow for better circulation, usability and increased stormwater quality requirements. The project will be completed in two phases, beginning in 2018. 

Stormwater management, including pipes and basins, are currently configured for the North Owasso Boulevard based on the park's location and design. The city of Shoreview has planned to reconstruct North Owasso Boulevard in 2020. Park design plans have been adjusted to accommodate road design and stormwater management in anticipation of the future road project. These new accommodations will be completed in partnership with the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and will comply with new regulations provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Reconstruction of North Owasso Boulevard provides additional room for recreation space and a stormwater treatement area within the park. Currently, the preferred design moves the road north, allowing more space for park features on the south side of North Owasso Boulevard. 

Parking

Parking lots at the redeveloped park will provide stormwater management and will allow one-way traffic. The entrances and exist will be coordinated to ease congestion in and out of the parking lots. Consolidated trailer parking was requested by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office to allow for better enforcement of parking regulations. The proposed design has 116 standard parking stalls, 28 boat trailer parking stalls and two dedicated boat stalls.

New buildings

The existing park has three small picnic shelters and a beach restroom. Two new seasonal restroom building are proposed to serve park visitors. The beach restroom will be replaced with a new building that houses separate changing areas and restrooms for men and women. A second restroom will be built north of North Owasso Boulevard and will be combined with a picnic shelter with a 60-person capacity. Building will be built with block walls and cement siding. Natural light and solar power will be utilized. The park will serve as a template for net-zero energy use in county parks. 

Restoration

Tree removal will take place and trees that are in poor condition or are impacted by the proposed development will be removed. These trees have been approved by the natural resources manager and the county forester. Trees that are in good health and are native species have created the shape and design of the proposed park. Trees scheduled for removal will be used to create a nature play area at the park playground. Invasive species such as buckthorn and locusts will be removed and 35 new trees will be planted.

Turf seeding and native short grass prairie seed is planned for stormwater basin areas and throughout the park.

Accessibility

The park will be constructed to include a trail loop in the parking areas and with existing city trails. Sidewalks and crosswalk enhancements will be developed in partnership with the city of Shoreview. All ages and abilities will be able to use the park. 
 

Other amenities

Updated utilities including electrical, water and sewer services will be part of phase one construction. Security lighting with motion response will be added to building exteriors. Picnic tables will be located throughout the park, bike racks and benches will be located near the buildings and play area. The beach will have a paved area, shower tower and shade sail structure with picnic tables. The nature play area will replace the existing playground. New signs will be installed at park entrances and parking lots.

Previous design

The north side of the current park, located on Lake Wabasso, contains three basic picnic shelters, a playground, open grass area, boat launch and parking. It also provides overflow parking for the south side. The south side of the park, located on Lake Owasso, features an unguarded swimming beach, restrooms, boat launch and parking. The park has approximately 1,000 feet of shoreline on Lake Owasso and 700 feet of shoreline of Lake Wabasso. Lake Owasso is a 393-acre lake popular for swimming, boating and fishing; Lake Wabasso is a small 50-acre lake primarily used for fishing.

The park's current buildings and facilities do not meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards. The beach restroom building has substandard plumbing and electrical systems, and there are no restrooms located near the picnic or playground areas. The picnic shelters lack running water and electricity, and the Lake Wabasso boat launch is inadequate for most boaters.