North Hudson opens its newest park Sunday
North Hudson is home to six parks, two with beaches on the St. Croix River, one that is home to the famous Pepper Fest and several neighborhood parks that offer everything from swings and slides to park bench swings.
This Sunday there will be a grand opening celebration at the village's newest park, Deer Run, located at the east end of Sommers Street North. The event runs from noon-3 p.m. with the official ribboncutting at 1 p.m. Minnesota Twins mascot T.C. Bear will be in attendance.
The quarter-acre park is located on land set aside by Derrick Development as part of their agreement for the Willow River Ridge II subdivision. In addition to the land, Derrick also donated $12,000 for park development. That money has been used to develop the park and purchase playground equipment and other amenities for the park. The new park features a scenic view of the Hudson area and is completely handicapped accessible.
Terri Richie is a trustee on the North Hudson Village Board and serves as the chairman of the Park Board. Richie said she didn't know much about how the parks were run or funded before she took over the post following her election two years ago but she has learned much since that time.
She acknowledges the work of her predecessor, Joyce Koetter, and all the work of those who have served on the Park Board. "I don't think people realize all the work that goes into maintaining and developing our parks here in the village. That effort includes a budget that consists largely of donations from the village taxpayers, from developers like Derrick and the donation of countless volunteer hours by Park Board members and others."
Richie said that the Village Board annually allocates $5,000 from the village funds to support North Hudson parks. Other revenue for the parks comes from fees collected from developers and individual donations. Developers have the option of donating land for park use in lieu of fees. In the case of Deer Run Park, Derrick Development did both, offering the land and $12,000 in cash to be used in the park development.
The Park Board meets monthly to plan and monitor park maintenance and development. This summer new playground equipment was installed in Glen Oaks Park and is planned for Woodcrest and Eagle Woods parks. Plans also included installation of 8-10 inches of cushioning sand at Sommers Landing Park and the installation of a new backstop. The board is also doing some long-range planning for the 4.8 acre park earmarked for the recently annexed property at the northeast edge of the village. Preliminary plans include walking trails, a pond, ice skating rink, basketball courts, playground equipment and a pavilion. Richie said the park will open in about five years.
In the meantime, the Park Board members and volunteers also act as stewards for the existing parks in the village. It is the role of the park stewards to monitor conditions in the parks and to report any problems or items that need attention. The stewards are Doug Ernie, Michelle Ortner, John Helgeson, Richie, Terry Rowan, Roger Walz and Kay Cote.
The maintenance work in the parks and installation of new equipment falls to the village Public Works Department led by Mark Ekblad. Richie credits Ekblad and his staff with keeping the parks in good shape in addition to their responsibilities throughout the village. "We don't have a parks department here to do the work. I don't know if people realize how much the Public Works Department in the village is responsible for. They do a great job but they can always use help."
Richie would like to have more volunteers involved with the village parks. She sees an opportunity for clubs and organizations to help enhance the parks. The Park Board distributed donation containers at village businesses to make it as easy as possible for residents to donate to the cause.
And Richie is always looking for suggestions from residents. She is especially interested in hearing from village seniors about what they would like to see in village parks. The public is welcome to attend the monthly Park Board meetings held the second Monday of the month at 6:30 in the Village Hall, and residents can contact her or any of the park stewards with questions or suggestions about the parks.
Said Richie, "This has been a real learning experience for me and I have learned a great deal over the last two years. This is an excellent committee that serves the village very well. They know their stuff and they have lots of energy. We are fortunate to have them and our parks. I hope everyone will come on Sunday to see the latest of them."
Village Clerk Mitch Berg recently added a map and description of parks in North Hudson to the village Web site. For more information about parks in North Hudson, go online at www.northhudsonvillage.org. and click on parks or contact the Village Hall at 386-5141.
Meg Heaton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.