New plans for Inver Grove Heights city parks move forward

images courtesy of City of Inver Grove Heights Work will be done in North Valley and South Valley parks, located off 70th Street East, in Inver Grove Heights. Work, which is expected to start in 2019, will give the parks a facelift and new amenities like pickleball courts.

Two parks in Inver Grove Heights will be getting some major work done as part of a parks master plan update approved Nov. 13 by the Inver Grove Heights City Council. 

North Valley and South Valley parks will be updated in the coming years as many of their amenities are out of date.

Eric Carlson, parks and recreation director, said the update is something the parks commission had been working on for some time. In August 2017, the council accepted a $15,000 grant to fund active living and healthy food options in the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan

The parks are being used as a pilot program for such initiatives.

The city carried out a walk audit of  both parks and their surrounding areas, and last August, a “pop up park” meeting was held to solicit feedback from residents.

Carlson also said a neighborhood park meeting was held in September of this year to review recommendations. 

The significant changes for North Valley Park include repurposing four of the existing tennis courts into six pickleball courts, Carlson said. Parking near the new courts would be reworked to provide 20 to 25 new parking stalls.

Other proposed work includes relocating four of the disc golf holes from South Valley Park to North Valley Park. 

With South Valley Park, Carlson said city staff looked at adding 20 community garden plots on top of the hill at Borman Avenue, as well as a lookout tower near the gardens. 

Other proposed work includes more parking stalls near the well house, removing the baseball field and creating an open green area for recreation/fitness programming and replacing the playground equipment with a traditional and nature-based playground facility. 

Carlson said it’s also proposed to replace the building and shelter with a larger shelter that could include a restroom core; add natural surface trails around the pond and a small archery range; and identify the natural trails in the park to be maintained by the city. 

Council member Tom Bartholomew said he had concerns about the archery range and needs more information before supporting that aspect. 

Carlson said he owes the council more information on the safety of the proposed archery range before things move forward with it.

Work in the parks would take place between 2019 and 2020.

Mayor George Tourville said the council had gone over the plans multiple times, most recently at the Nov. 5 work session.

During the work session, resident Kirk Lindberg said he has been playing pickleball for a couple of years. 

“It’s become a really fun game. It’s great exercise,” he said, adding he had made new friends playing the sport.

Lindberg said a number of them showed up to the meeting to give support to the parks and recreation department as the plans move forward. They feel more pickleball courts would be a “great amenity” for the city.

More discussions before the council and with the neighborhood are planned as the park plans move forward.

Carlson said with all the proposed improvements, the neighborhood would be notified on when they would go before the parks commission.


–Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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