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City column: Planned projects will benefit city

This month’s winter weather makes the construction season seem very far away. But even now, in the coldest weeks of the year, the city of Rosemount is busy planning for the projects residents will see under way this summer. Those projects will answer a lot of needs in our community. Let me share a few examples.

We invest every year to keep our network of streets in good repair. Earlier this month, the city council authorized our engineers to draw up the plans for this year’s street improvement projects. That should provide a smoother drive along Shannon Parkway and in the neighborhood southeast of Shannon and Dodd Boulevard.

There will be plans to help pedestrians and bicyclists by filling in the gaps in the trail on the west side of Shannon. We will also see work to improve the sidewalk across the railroad tracks on 145th Street. Crews will im-prove Bacardi Av-enue by paving from Bon-aire Path to 130th Street near new residential developments. A trail is planned along with new engineering concepts to handle storm water and preserve wetlands in that area.

Crews will complete an upgrade of the shelter that gets heavy use at Erickson Park during the softball season. Nearby, new courts will be available for our residents who enjoy tennis. Once the snow goes away, kids in the neighborhood near Jaycee Park will enjoy improved playground equipment. And folks out for a stroll will find new amenities like benches available at several spots around our well-traveled trails and sidewalks.

A couple of projects will be very popular when the heat returns. Construction will start this spring on a splash pad at Central Park to give young children some fun in the water. And on the inside, our Steeple Center will get air conditioning and shades to control the sunlight when the days are hot.

Next door, work should begin soon to build an activity center along with senior housing. And we continue to plan with the Dakota County Community Development Agency to bring an affordable housing project for seniors on part of the Genz-Ryan site on South Robert Trail.

One more summertime project will be under way: the growing of grass on the fields at the Flint Hills Athletic Fields at Bonaire and Akron Avenue. Construction there is basically complete, but as frustrating as it may be for the teams who’d like to get out there and play ball right away, we need to give the sod a year’s head start to assure healthy turf for years to come.

I believe there’s a common theme that runs through many of the projects the city of Rosemount will carry out – and it really comes to mind during these days of cabin fever. We cherish the days when it’s easier to get around outside in Minnesota. And to maintain the quality of life, our city works to encourage citizens of all ages to work up a sweat – whether running around a splash pad, swatting a tennis ball or a softball, or just walking around to enjoy the sights in our lovely community. I hope you look forward to seeing the construction signs – and the features that will follow them.

Mayor Bill Droste penned this column.