Bassett's Creek Park
Current Phase: Permitting
Construction: Spring 2018
The play area project is scheduled for construction at the end of July with late summer opening date.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will replace the playground at Bassett's Creek Park in Bryn Mawr neighborhood and construct various site improvements to create a more accessible and inviting neighborhood space. Unfortunately, project construction has been delayed from summer/fall 2017 to spring 2018 due to complications identified during the project permitting process.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hosted a Public Hearing for the playground and site improvements project at Bassett’s Creek Park on January 4, 2016. The Preferred Concept presented is a combination of the first two initial concepts presented to the public September 6, 2016. It combines the two initial concepts into a low-impact, budget-friendly, nature-based play area, with nature trail connections to the north and easy-going paved access to Chestnut Avenue.
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
January 4, 2017
September 26, 2016
May 26, 2016
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View the Community Engagement Plan [PDF]
May 26, 2016 - Public Meeting #1 Summary
September 26, 2016 - Public Meeting #2 Summary
January 4, 2017 - Public Hearing Summary
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Updated January 5, 2017
Bassett’s Creek Park is 70 acres in total size; this project focuses on a 15.7 acre section located in the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood (Commissioner District 4), which is cut off by a set of railroad tracks and Bassett Creek. The park is about three-quarters woodland and wetland and one-quarter mowed lawn. It is a very serene place located along Bassett Creek with a small waterfall on the creek hidden in the woods. This project aims to support these wonderful features through thoughtful design, accessibility, and playfulness.
The key project objective is to provide a play area that meets or exceeds current safety and accessibility standards and is easily accessible for people of all abilities. The existing equipment, installed in 1989, has deteriorated and staff has performed temporary repairs to keep the play equipment in a safe condition and there is currently no ADA-compliant route to the play area.
The site is bowl-shaped with steep hills sloping from the park edges to the wetland and creek to the north and east, creating a challenging site to improve.
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) staff began the community engagement process by attending a Bryn Mawr Neighborhood meeting to introduce the project and gain feedback on the Community Engagement Plan. Both digital and paper communications announced the start of the project and the first of two public input meetings. An online survey was sent to the neighborhood and the attendees of the first public meeting. Forty-eight (48) surveys were returned. Most respondents live within walking distance of the park and visit on a weekly basis. Climbers, nets, bars, slides, swings, balance equipment, sand play, and a zip line topped the charts for desired equipment. The theme of “nature play” far exceeded “modern play.”
Based on the initial input, staff worked with Ultimate Playgrounds to develop options that were presented at the first public engagement meeting. The first option showed a series of small play areas featuring balance and climbing equipment along a trail through the woods, and a main play area with swings, nets, spinners, and towers located proximate to the existing play area. The second option showed two age-separated containers located proximate to the existing play area. One equipment option used more sleek or modern character equipment, and the second used equipment with a natural and organic character. The meeting participants generally liked the natural aspects of each option and preferred the natural and organic style equipment. Each option showed a new sidewalk constructed along Chestnut Avenue at the southern edge of the park and the reconstructed trails leading from Chestnut Avenue to Theodore Wirth Regional Park along the creek. Both connections were highly regarded.
MPRB staff administered intercept surveys over three days and times at the Theodore Wirth Beach Playground, a few blocks north of Bassett’s Creek Park. Staff received thirty-one (31) intercept responses from parents/caregivers and their child(ren). Climbing nets were very popular, slightly more so than nature play and modern play. Climbers, zip line, bars, balance beams, swings, and music instruments were the top equipment types.
A second meeting was held after making adjustments based on the surveys and the public comments received to date. A preferred option was presented which combined features from both the original two options and used the natural and organic equipment. Age-separated play areas are located in the same general area of the existing play container.
The participants in the second meeting generally liked the preferred option and suggested only a few minor additions, including a sand play area, drinking fountain, and additional shade. Splitting the play area into two containers not only separates age groups, but allows each container to be accessed easily by a walkway meeting ADA accessibility requirements.
The final Preferred Concept Plan [PDF] for the site includes age-separated play areas, picnic area, ADA accessible walkway to the play area and picnic area, re-constructed Luce Line spur trail along Bassett Creek, expanded nature trail through the woods, and a sidewalk along Chestnut Avenue. The equipment is the Robinia line from Kompan, Inc. which uses naturally rot and decay resistant wood from the Black Locust tree. It carries the same warranty as the rest of the traditional steel and plastic features offered by Kompan. The Robinia product has a wonderfully natural and organic character that fits this woodsy site perfectly. The surfacing will be engineered wood fiber, with strategically positioned areas of poured-in-place rubber.
Priority elements to be constructed in 2017 include: age-separated play areas, picnic area, ADA accessible walkway to play area and picnic area, a portion of sidewalk along Chestnut Avenue, and two dedicated on-street handicapped parking stalls.
Other elements of the concept include: trail, path, and sidewalk enhancements and improvements to the play area along Morgan Avenue North. The Luce Line Trail Spur along the Bassett Creek is in rough shape. Portions of it flood most springs when Bassett Creek’s water level rises. The concept moves this trail to higher ground and improves connections to both ends of Chestnut Avenue to the south. A funding strategy and design and engineering for this trail should be completed in coordination with the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission. The sidewalk connections along Chestnut Avenue that connect the remaining distance to Penn Avenue in the east and Vincent Avenue in the west will require coordination with the City of Minneapolis, utility companies, and adjacent homeowners and businesses.
Funding in the amount of $420,000 has been allocated for the design and construction of this park improvement. An additional $92,825 will be available in 2017 through the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20). The balance of the 2015 CIP funds and the additional NPP20 funds will go towards playground and site improvements in the eastern half of the park, located in the Harrison Neighborhood and Commissioner District 2.