Over the next 20 years, Stoughton’s second largest park is expected to get a transformation to attract locals and tourists year-round.
The City moved forward with a Mandt Park Master Plan, which outlines the future use and character of the 33 acre park used annually for the Stoughton Fair, Coffee Break Festival and youth baseball, as well as the home to Troll Beach, the Mandt Center and a skate park.
The Common Council unanimously approved the plan, prepared by MSA Professional Services, on Tuesday, June 9.
In the design, Mandt Park will have a splash pad, pedestrian bridge connecting the park to the riverfront redevelopment, a nature trail that follows the river, added parking, a paved pedestrian mall for outdoor eating, and added bathrooms and shelters. The last phase of the master plan includes a new fair building/expo center that is expected to be a space for community events.
“This park needs a big facelift and this gives it a new vision,” Ald. Regina Hirsch (Dist.3) said.
Park master plans are completed in phases and can take anywhere from 15-30 years to complete, Dan Schmitt from MSA told the Council. The first phase, which includes adding a bathroom, shelter and trail improvements could be completed in the next five years at an estimated cost of $3 million.
Over the past two years, MSA services and the Parks and Recreation Department have been gathering input from residents on future improvements of Mandt Park. A 2018 Stoughton Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan survey, which had more than 400 participants, found the most desired elements of parks in Stoughton included nature and multi-use trails, playgrounds, splash pads and restrooms.
In October 2019, three options for a Mandt Park master plan were presented to the public where 30 participants discussed safety and access issues. All of the plans added a new park shelter, playground and splash pad.
Two of the plans focused on the placement of streets and parking across the park, while the other was centered around the needs of the Stoughton Fair. At that meeting, a vote showed a preference for a one-way access road, which is not included in the master plan.
This final master plan is a combination of the three options, Schmitt said.