Simplified: The latest plan for a downtown ice ribbon, inclusive playground and plaza brings a projected $7 million cost increase. Here's a look at what's included at that price and what happens next.

Why it matters

  • The ice ribbon is just one feature in a broader plan for Jacobson Plaza, named after the local family who initially donated $2 million to make it happen.
  • The new plan increases the size of and features in the plaza, including a bigger ice ribbon, bigger plans for the playground and a cafe.
  • Increasing, too, is the cost of the project from $4 million to $11 million. That's with an increased donation of $5.5 million from the Jacobson family and an increased contribution from the city – pending approval – of $5.5 million.
"We have a family that is stepping up big time to offset those increased costs," Councilor Rick Kiley said. "This is why I ran for this City Council eight years ago, to provide these kinds of opportunities for our citizens."

What are the planned park features?

The City Council got a look at the plans for the entire 10-acre site on Tuesday.

Here are some of the features:

  • A 14,000-square-foot refrigerated ice ribbon (about 2,000 square feet more than the original plan)
  • A more than 26,000-square-foot inclusive playground. (That's larger than all five play pods at Sertoma Park, which make up a combined 19,250 square feet.)
  • A warming house
  • A cafe
  • A maintenance building
  • A parking lot allowing for easy drop off and access for people with limited mobility
  • Expanded common areas
  • Expanded amenities like lighting and architectural features designed for year-round use

Another thing contributing to the increased cost is the need for more environmental work at the site, Parks Director Don Kearney said.

A future "Phase Two" of the project would also include:

  • A splash park alongside the inclusive playground
  • A dog park
  • More development in the area of the park north of Fourth Street for expanded green space, shelters, etc.

Why did the scope of the park increase?

Kearney said the decision to broaden the scope of the park came about after stakeholder meetings and tours of ice ribbons and parks in other areas. It's a way to attract more people to downtown.

The goal of doing more in the first phase of the project is also to minimize disruption and construction costs.

Doing all of this work now means the park will be under construction at the same time as construction continues at the adjacent Steel District.

"Having all of those happen at once is better than multiple construction projects extended over time," Kearney said.

What happens next?

The City Council will decide whether to approve the amended agreement – including $3.5 million more than initially planned in city spending – during their upcoming April 19 meeting.

If approved, the revised timeline is to begin construction this fall with a planned opening date for late fall 2023.

The goal for phase two, Kearney said, is to build within the next three to five years.