$17 million Firemen's Park reconstruction takes shape in Chaska

Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl calls the Firemen's Park Project a catalyst to revitalizing his city's historic downtown.

It's big and expensive -- upwards of $17 million.

Work began in recent days. When it's completely done this year, the popular park will house a 6-lane curling center, banquet hall, and a Crooked Pint Ale House restaurant with a glass wall that will allow customers to watch the action on the ice.

A new bridge will link Firemen's with another city park up the hill, creating a 30-acre playground.

Some residents, like Kendra Maus, can't wait.

"Super excited about it," she says. "They need a lot more businesses down here to keep the economy going."

But others prefer the old, wide-open Firemen's Park, which was a historic remnant of Chaska's brickmaking industry.

The number one concern folks have, however, centers on the park's massive old cottonwood trees.

Four 100-year-old centerpiece trees were chopped down in the last week to make room. Three of them were rotted.

Rotted or not, Maus says she's okay with the trees coming down.

"With development, you gotta start somewhere."

City leaders, for what it's worth, plan to plant numerous trees around the park as part of the new project.