Veterans Park Boardwalk

Veterans Park Boardwalk to be removed in June 2022
Due to safety, accessibility, and maintenance concerns, the Veterans Park boardwalk is being removed in mid-June of this year.

The boardwalk, installed in 1990, no longer meets ADA requirements for people who use wheels, with inadequate entrance points, a narrow walkway, and insecure decking. Also, the boardwalk lacks side guardrails and deck edging. It has also degraded in condition in recent years. In 2016, the floats began leaking Styrofoam pieces and had to be replaced; other parts of the boardwalk remain in poor condition.

Consequently, the City Attorney recommended removal of the boardwalk.

Plans are being discussed to install a wildlife viewing deck on the west side of the marsh, with moved in June to prevent incidents that may occur, given its condition and outdated design. As part of the Capital Improvement Plan process, staff will work with the Community Services Commission and the City Council to consider alternatives for the site.

Until its removal, walkers should avoid using the boardwalk and find an alternative path around the marsh (see map at bottom).

Safety and Accessibility Concerns
For several years, residents and staff have noted a number of safety concerns about the boardwalk:

  • The width only allows for one person to pass safely and is not wide enough for safe use wagons, strollers, bicycles, wheelchairs, etc.
  • There are no guardrails of any kind or lip along the edge of the walkway.
  • The boardwalk sections are very uneven, making it hard for users to balance.
  • The boardwalk is surrounded by cattails that have historically caught fire with some frequency.
  • The east boardwalk entrance is often flooded, prohibiting access.
  • The boardwalk does not meet ADA accessibility standards in several ways, including a lack of ramps at the access points.

As part of the Capital Improvement Plan process, Staff will work with the Community Services Commission and the City Council to determine alternatives for the site. Current alternates being considered include:

  • The construction of a new boardwalk at an estimated cost of $310,000, which would significantly strain the Recreation and Open Space Capital Improvement Budget.
  • The construction of a wildlife viewing platform, including interpretive panels to educate visitors about wetlands, stormwater, and migratory birds. This option would cost significantly less ($115,000-$175,000) and could be considered as funding becomes available, which may include grant opportunities.

Maintenance and Environmental Concerns
In September 2014, staff was informed by visitors to the park that some of the boardwalk floats were cracked and leaking small pieces of Styrofoam-type material. Options were presented to the Community Services Commission, including replacing the entire boardwalk or replacing the floats. The CSC opted for staff to replace the floats. Other parts of the boardwalk, however, are original and remain in poor condition.

Please reach out to Recreation Services Director Markle with any questions at 612-861-9394 or amarkle@richfieldmn.gov.

New Vets Park Map for FB