A little nature amid suburban chaos
While the rest of Rosemount is busy, Carroll's Woods offers calm and tranquility. The wind rustles through tall trees. A deer passes a well-worn path leading to Rosemount High School. The sun glints through the trees off of Schwarz Pond.
"It's a unique asset to a suburban area," said Ron Jacobson, who lives near the woods.
Carroll's Woods and Schwarz Pond Park offer residents opportunities to experience the outdoors without leaving Rosemount. Paved and non-paved trails wind through the 44-acre woods that also lead to Schwarz Pond Park. Carroll's Woods are adjacent to the park, making it easy to access fishing at the pond.
Boys wearing Irish hats ride down the paved trails on their bikes carrying fishing poles. One unlucky boy wobbles as he tries to keep hold of a tackle box too. Schwarz Pond Park is 62 acres and includes the pond, play equipment and a skate park.
The city attained the woods property in 1975, said parks director Dan Schultz. The city bought the property from Mary and Donald Carroll with money obtained through a Department of Natural Resources grant.
The plan then was to keep it a natural area. Schultz said the key features of the woods are the access to natural space within the city and the walking trails that wind through it.
Schultz said the trails are popular and are used throughout the year by many.
The parks department plans to put up signs throughout the woods soon to help direct residents. Other than that, Schultz said, the woods will stay the way they are.
Last year Schwarz Pond Park underwent some renovations including the addition of a fishing pier in the pond. The city also added a trail connection from the parking lot to the Rosemount High School baseball field that sits near the pond.
There are a number of access points to the woods including well-worn foot paths off of Connemara Trail and Chili Avenue. For those driving to the woods the easiest way in is from the Schwarz Pond Park parking lot off of Connemara Trail.
In February the Rosemount Planning Commission held a public hearing about some possible zoning changes to all the city's parks. As part of that change, the commission was considering changing the zoning of the parks from public institutional to residential. That proposal stirred up concerns, especially for those living near Carroll's Woods. After dozens spoke out against the zoning changes, the planning commission chose to maintain the current zoning designations.
Jacobson, who spoke at those meetings, said the woods are a special place to him and he showed up to ensure that nothing threatens the space.
During that meeting neighbors from all of the city's parks shared stories of their affection for their local parks but none so much as those from near Carroll's Woods.
"It's a special place. I know many folks that have lived in Rosemount for a long time feel the same way," said Jacobson.