Chaska Builds on its Historic Past
Chaska Fireman’s Park Curling Facility and Schimelpfenig Park Construction and Renovation Blends History with Sports and Recreation Action
An innovative municipal redevelopment project in downtown Chaska, MN is bringing new excitement to the community while honoring its heritage.
Located on the site of a former brick factory, Firemen’s Park and Schimelpfenig Park Construction and Renovation project is highlighted by the new 42,497 s.f. Chaska Curling Center, Welcome Hall and Crooked Pint Ale House restaurant. The curling center includes six curling lanes, locker rooms, and tiered seating, with viewing tables inside the ale house. The facility will also include a 300-seat event center, now nearing completion; with patio and two outdoor locations for weddings. A new boardwalk encircles Fireman’s Lake.
Work continues this spring on a pedestrian bridge crossing the lake to link with Schimelpfenig Park, beach area improvements, new park shelters, a stage pavilion, an interactive fountain, a memorial walk and an updated playground.
The park experience honors Chaska’s history. The curling center’s cream-colored brick resembles Chaska brick once produced from the lake’s clay. Reclaimed barn wood is repurposed in the ale house. The Welcome Hall showcases the historic fire department bell, remembering firefighters who helped develop the park in the 1950’s. The memorial walk features a brickyard garden and rest areas feature replica kilns.
“The Chaska park and recreation staff worked very closely with the Chaska Historical Society, KA, 292 Design Group, LHB and others to capture the essence of the historical significance of the land’s history,” said Tom Redman, director, Chaska Parks and Recreation.
The multifaceted project was designed to address layered goals, including driving downtown traffic, enhancing the downtown business district, providing for community gathering spaces, and building on the historical aspects of the park.
“The challenges going into the project were timing, budget and public involvement,” Redman said. “The project team that was put together very much depended on KA to be a willing partner and to understand all facets of the project. This project had many different parts to it and it required a mentality of staying calm and focused to finish with a quality project. Which we did,” Redman said.
KA came on board providing preconstruction services in June 2014 and demolition work commenced in January 2015. Preconstruction planning addressed challenges including site drainage issues. The project sits on 543 aggregate piers and features an underground water storage tank that recycles the water into the irrigation system.
Multiple bid packages were issued to expedite the city’s accelerated schedule. The organized and proactive subcontractor team made an outstanding contribution to the project’s success.
The community has embraced the new heart of downtown, say city officials.
“Our expectations were to have 188 curling memberships sold, and we are already at 900 sold!” said Redman. “The 12 leagues were advertised online and all filled within two weeks. The 96-team bonspiel held in mid-January was a resounding success. The event center has already been scheduled for over 50 weddings and events,” Redman added. See video
“The reception thus far has been nothing short of amazing. It is doing exactly what we thought it would do in bringing more people into downtown Chaska,” Redman said.
Grand opening is planned for June.