July 2016, Chaska Minn. – The city of Chaska recently completed a renovation of Firemen’s Park located in the historic downtown area. Their goal was to upgrade the park, highlighting the town’s history and honoring the firefighters who helped develop the park years earlier. The city obtained 292 Design Group for the architecture and design. With their help and the structural engineers at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates (KOMA) the re-designed park is complete and ready for the community to enjoy.

The completed park has a number of added attractions including a Crooked Pint Ale House, a curling center and a banquet facility. Also new to the park are a promenade, interactive fountain, stage and pavilion, boardwalk, and bridge. Numerous honor columns and flag poles are scattered throughout the area nodding to the history of the park and the firefighters. “This park had so many more components than many parks do, which provided additional structural detailing” says principal structural engineer Jim Krech, “we were engineering pedestrian bridges and pavilions and honor columns and everything in-between. It provided a work experience unique to this park.”

Poor soil conditions existed in the area and were not conducive to typical foundation design which meant the park structures and buildings needed a specific attention. These park shelters are not heated or used in the winter and they needed to be constructed to prevent frost heave.  The stage and pavilion also required special attention structurally. The pavilion is a large steel structure that cantilevers out off the ground and needed limited movement from wind force.

The walk bridge that weaves across the lake is distinctive in that it has a number of places that allow people to stand or fish. It is a large bridge that connects Firemen’s Park to Schimelpfenig Park across the lake. The lake itself is man made and was formed by digging out the clay which was then used to make “Chaska brick”. This clay foundation tends to lack in lateral support which required 12” diameter helical piers to penetrate deep down into the lake bottom. “This park had some unique challenges, it also had an interesting story behind it which made it fun to be a part of,” says structural designer Frank Stanton, “it turned out really great and is a tremendous addition to the city.”