‘Party in the Park’ gets new, later date

Event moves to early September

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — The city’s “Party in the Park” is moving to the weekend after Labor Day this year instead of its usual early August date in an effort to boost attendance.

The Oak Park Heights City Council voted March 5 to hold the late summer event on the Sunday after Labor Day, said City Clerk Jennifer Pinski. Party in the Park had been held on National Night Out, usually on a weekday in August.

City Administrator Eric Johnson said the council decided to hold Party in the Park on a new date for two reasons.

“The hope was to boost attendance and potentially have cooler weather,” he said.

In a another separate park-related action, the council voted to seek a $15,000 KaBOOM! (CQ) grant to install fitness equipment in a city park.

Johnson said in a memo to the council that the city must provide a $6,000 match to the KaBOOM! grant for a total of $21,000. He added that the city’s match would come out of the $130,000 in the 2013 park and trail budgeted project fund.

The city would ask for community volunteers to help install any equipment purchased with grant funds. The city did a similar project at a different park last year.

Johnson said the Park Commission’s ideal location would be on the west end of Swager Park or within the ‘Fly-Ash’ site.

In other business March 5, the council received a St. Croix River Crossing update from project manager Jon Chiglo and discussed a city proposal for the state Department of Transportation to give the city control of the north frontage road, 60th Street North, from its terminus at Osgood Avenue to the Oak Park Heights’ western border at the west end of Fred’s Tire.

Johnson said the city wants to relocate 60th Street North at Osgood to improve traffic flow at that intersection.

“We all know that intersection is difficult to move around and through,”  he said, adding that city officials want to reroute 60th Street-Osgood Avenue intersection to help improve that area.

Johnson said city, county and state officials continue to discuss the city’s proposal.

“It’s been discussed between the city and MnDOT, as well as the county,” he said. “The discussions to date have been good. It’s something that both parties are considering.”