The Metropolitan Council has awarded Anoka County three grants for programs designed to encourage more people to use the county’s parks and trails.
The county received a $20,000 grant for its Partnerships in Translation program, which will use the funding to update signs, maps and markers at monuments in the parks to include information in several languages.
County officials will review the parks website for federal accessibility standards and work with Outdoor Latino on translation services. The program is aimed at making diverse populations feel more welcome in the parks.
A $34,000 grant will cover a Learn to Bike program in which REI will provide staffers and bicycles for free programs in Anoka and Washington counties.
A $52,000 grant will help fund the Augmented Reality Trail Program at Bunker Hills Regional Park in Andover. Visitors will be able to use cameras on their smartphones or a borrowed iPad to pull up interpretive images and information while using the trails.
The grants come out of the Met Council’s Equity Grant Program for capital and noncapital projects.
Ponds at Battle Creek golf course to close
The Ponds at Battle Creek, a nine-hole Maplewood golf course owned by Ramsey County, will close permanently on Sept. 12 as county leaders explore potential development at the 88-acre site.
County officials are seeking ideas on how to redevelop the golf course and a 77-acre lot bordering the county workhouse and Battle Creek Regional Park. The county has issued two requests for developers to submit 25-page plans outlining their suggestions for the county-owned sites by Oct. 4, calling it “a prime development opportunity.”
The county hopes to interview developers in November and negotiate a sale of the properties by the end of the year.
Park advocates have challenged the county’s plans to close and redevelop the golf course, saying development would run afoul of a 1994 ballot measure that protects parkland. County leaders say the course was exempted from the measure.
Gift certificates, rain checks and range cards for the golf course are nonrefundable and won’t be redeemable after Sept. 12. Season-pass holders may use their passes at Goodrich Golf Course in northern Maplewood through the end of the 2021 golf season.
Public safety facility project nearing end
Renovations wrapped up last week at the Minnetonka Police Department while construction continued at the adjacent fire station, both projects part of a $30 million plan approved in 2018 by the City Council.
The new fire station, expected to be operational at the end of October, will replace a roughly 50-year-old facility and accommodate the growing staff and a rising number of calls for service.
Features of the new fire station include space for health and wellness activities, as well as decontamination areas to reduce exposure to cancer-causing agents. The station includes indoor parking and more evidence-storage space.
Both facilities are adjacent to City Hall on the sprawling civic campus off Minnetonka Boulevard.