14-09: Blaine Wetland Sanctuary
North of 109th Avenue and west of Lexington Avenue.
The concept design was approved in July 2014 by the Blaine City Council. In the concept phase, recommendations were made for trails and other amenities for the large open space Under the direction of the Natural Resources Conservation Board, this 500 acre property, located north of 109th Avenue and west of Lexington Avenue., is one of a dozen open spaces in Blaine being managed by the 2008 Open Space Management Plan - controlling invasive trees and plants, promoting the growth of plants native to this area, and restoring pre-development conditions.
In the construction phase of the project, trail heads, parking areas, trails, bird watching blinds, overlooks and other features to enhance the enjoyment of the unique ecosystem of this area will be built over the next five to seven years. While this area mainly consists of wetlands there are also many upland areas and in total they create habitat for a wide variety of birds, mammals, amphibians and a diverse community of native plant species.
One of the end goals of this project is to build a nature center that will provide interpretive information as well as educational opportunities for families, school groups and others. The proposed location for the center is on Lexington Avenue just west of the Lexington Athletic Complex.
Portions of the open space area have been identified for restoration to improve and preserve the plant quality and diversity, and to protect endangered plant species. One project has been underway since 2009 and will be completed in 2015. A second project was approved at the same time as the new improvement project. This restoration project, led by Critical Connections Ecological Services, Inc., should get started in late 2015 with a completion date of 2020-2021.
After a rigorous review process, the project proposal from Stantec, a consulting firm from Roseville, MN, was recommended to the City Council and approved at the December 4, 2014 council meeting. Stantec has a wealth of experience in designing and constructing open space amenities and working with the public to incorporate features to meet a variety of needs.