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07-29-22 | Department

Community Centered Minnesota Park

Becker Park in Crystal, Minnesota
by Bob Slipka, Sr. Landscape Architect, WSB

Winding poured concrete sidewalks guide park-goers through Becker Park in Crystal, Minnesota that was redesigned by the city and WSB of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The park features 12.2 acres of play structures, basketball, pickle ball, picnic table areas, a formal band shell, and an oval section that is used for ice skating in the winter and a farmers market in the summer and had a grand opening in 2021.
Winding poured concrete sidewalks guide park-goers through Becker Park in Crystal, Minnesota that was redesigned by the city and WSB of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The park features 12.2 acres of play structures, basketball, pickle ball, picnic table areas, a formal band shell, and an oval section that is used for ice skating in the winter and a farmers market in the summer and had a grand opening in 2021.
As a civic park, there was interest from the community for a splash pad to complement the destination play area. The city already has water centered ammenities at the city pool with above ground features. This project incorporated a patio area with inground sprays and nozzles. LED lights and a timer were included so the water play structure could function as a fountain feature for several hours in the evening. Benches and landscaping around the aquatic play area were added so during non-summer months, the patio can be used by the community for other events and activities.
Located on the east side of the park, the park redevelopment plan required the Watershed District to facilitate a storm water infiltration system that would help reduce flooding in the area.
The bandshell was constructed with full power and audio capabilities to be functional for both small and large events. The bandshell also doubles as a shelter with portable seating and picnic tables for smaller community events like birthdays, farmers market, etc. The festival lawn is nearly three acres in size, capable of hosting large groups for concerts and performances but also as an open lawn area for more passive use recreational activities.
Blue safety surfacing includes the Crystal, Minnesota logo within it. The Landscape Structures play structure is tucked under the Shade Systems sun sails of the same color scheme. Poured concrete leads children to the play area and parents to the new benches looking onto the space.

Becker Park in Crystal, Minnesota, was redesigned to serve as a focal park within the local park system. Completed in 2021, the 12.2-acre park now features a large inclusive play area, a splash pad, a formal center band shell, a new restroom building, multi-purpose space for ice skating and farmer's markets, and picnic tables.
Originally named Crystal Park, the space opened in 1948 as the first public park in the area. A few years later, it was renamed Becker Park and has evolved to accommodate the community as needs change. Becker Park was home to two full-size softball fields, basketball, and tennis courts prior to the redesign but were beginning to be under-utilized and called for a full redesign. The first step of the master plan was to redo a neighboring park to include new softball fields in a more appropriate space municipal tract.
WSB worked with the City of Crystal and the Water District in the first Park and Trail System Master Plan to craft a multi-faceted, amenity forward park for the community to enjoy. The design was primarily focused on revamping the green space rather than a total rebuild. The public was heavily involved in the final product through community engagement every step of the way.


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Community Play
The existing basketball courts were redone and where the tennis courts once stood, pickleball courts were added in 2022 after the ribbon cutting ceremony. In addition to new surfacing, new LED lighting and low fencing between the pickleball and basketball courts was added. Poured concrete was used to create the winding sidewalks that lead park goers to each space and act as wayfinding throughout the multi-use space. The design of the play space was focused on inclusion and accessibility for all, meaning that wide pathways, safety surfacing, and play structures for all were vital.
On the southern end of the park, there are traditional play spaces. While on the northern end, there are spinners, a splash pad, and swings. A Landscape Structure play structure was added on-top of blue safety surfacing that features the city's logo. The logo was poured separately to be as accurate as possible. Shade Systems sun sails provide shade to the adjacent picnic tables while tying in the color scheme of the play structure. The play area is 14,000 sq. ft. in size.

Environmentally Conscience
Coordinated with the Watershed District, the park redevelopment required a storm water infiltration system on three-acres on the east side of the park, making it one of the largest below-ground water infiltration galleries in the Twin Cities area according the city. This system was buried below grade to treat and reduce downstream flooding while bolstering water quality and current infiltrates 0.6 inches of storm water runoff from 147 acres of surrounding land. The design team ran into issues with the fact that there is a relatively high-water table in the area and that the area faces a large volume of storm water. These issues were alleviated by having enough time to gather further information during the design phase. The water infiltration system prohibits use requiring footings as well as any large shade trees. The design made this space favorable for a festival lawn which was complimented by a bandshell structure.
Throughout the project, the design team selected products, plantings, and materials that reduce maintenance and water consumption. Plantings consisted of native trees and perennials including Northern Acclaim Thornless Honey Locust, American Elm, Red Gnome Dogwood, and Bela Lugosi Daylily.

TEAM LIST:
Custom Builders- General Contractor
WSB- Landscape Architect
Oertel- Architecture
EDI- Electrical
City of Crystal- Owner
Shingle Creek Watershed District
Three Rivers Park District

Filed Under: PARKS, REDEVELOPMENT, LASN
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