Superior groups get behind effort to revamp city park
The city has a plan to revamp Center City Park at the corner of Belknap Street and Tower Avenue. It's a plan similar to the one originally considered when the Superior Women's Club created the park in 1975, said Betty Renko, a member of the Parks...
The city has a plan to revamp Center City Park at the corner of Belknap Street and Tower Avenue.
It's a plan similar to the one originally considered when the Superior Women's Club created the park in 1975, said Betty Renko, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the club.
Even before the council decides Tuesday night whether it wants to adopt the plan created by whirlwind public planning sessions, community groups are showing support for the plan. The Superior Women's Club and Superior Rotary are putting money on the table to help pay for the estimated $299,294 renovation of the downtown park.
"It seemed worthy of our last contribution," said Andrea Hammann, president of the disbanding Superior Women's Club, which created the park and donated it to the city during its 100-year history. While the park hadn't been maintained to the organization's standards over the years, she said the resurgence in interest in the park makes it a worthwhile project. The Superior Women's Club is contributing about $3,000 to the project.
"Having a renovated park there might give it a little more presence," said Alan Rock of the Superior Rotary, which will contribute about $2,800 to the project. He said the plan fits with the Rotary's efforts to plant trees.
Street trees, which are expected to grow to 70-feet tall, would encircle expanded grounds for the park.
While the Superior Women's Club had intended to make small contributions over time, Renko said when the group met last, they decided to give one large donation for the renovation of the park.
The Superior Women's Club in the 1970s purchased the land, hired a landscape designer, commissioned the artist for the sculptures, built the park and donated it to the city.
The plan retains sculptures commissioned by the organization and moves them closer to the library, but the fountains, which no longer operate, won't be a feature of the renovated park.
"The design doubles the park space from the modest piece of property on the corner," said Mary Morgan, Parks and Recreation administrator.
The plan extends the existing park toward the library and making use of the lawn adjacent to the park. The plan would divide the parking lots to the north and west of the building, enhancing safety because it would eliminate a pass through used by motorists to get from Tower to Ogden Avenue to bypass the traffic lights, she said. While the plan would eliminate some existing parking, reconfiguration of the lots would actually add a couple parking spaces more than now, Morgan said.
Seating created immediately adjacent to the library's northern glass wall would provide people visiting the library with a place to read outside, if they choose, she said.
The city hasn't settled on a lighting recommendation yet, Morgan said, but that would be replaced too.
While the idea of managing stormwater was important to some during the planning, Morgan said the cost of the proposal outweighed the benefit because parking lots would have to be re-created.
A path from the north end of the library passes through to the corner of Belknap and Tower. The path encircles the city Christmas tree.
"The community Christmas tree has been retained," Morgan said. "It's one of the big events we know takes place at the library and the park every November, I think drawing anywhere from 200 to 500 people, depending on the weather. And this design allows people to congregate around that tree comfortably."
The space around the 29-foot conifer would be more open than it is today.
The gateway feature is going to have the new city logo on it, she said.
"This is a very lovely, simple plan that we are hoping will be easier for us to maintain," Morgan said.
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or snelson@ superiortelegram.com.