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New accessible playground, BSC restaurant designs revealed

The Madison's Place playground area will include a splash pad, garden and restroom facility. Courtesy of Stantec.1 / 3
Gartner Restaurant Holdings is working on the new Bielenberg Sports Center restaurant designs, which will have a lunch counter, fireplace, coffee and juice bar and seating overlooking the ice arenas. Courtesy of Gartner Restaurant Holdings.2 / 3
Courtesy of Gartner Restaurant Holdings.3 / 3

Two partners poised to make the Bielenberg Sports Center a destination and a community asset released this week a sneak peek at what the complex will look like in 2014.

Plans for Madison’s Place, the largest all-accessible playground in the state, have a whimsical feel with flowers, plants and a butterfly garden.

Meanwhile, work on the inside of the new 120,000 square foot center will have a full service restaurant presented with a large fireplace, natural stone, wood beams and comfortable seating for parents, visitors and athletes.

The two designs were presented at a Woodbury City Council workshop Wednesday. Madison’s Place, an outdoor splash pad and the restaurant are part of the complex currently undergoing a $21.8 million expansion project that includes a 90,000 square foot field house, an outdoor ice rink, updated lobby, concessions and meeting rooms.

John Slack of Stantec, a consulting firm working with the city on the playground and splash pad, said the designs have been updated to replace an athletic theme with more of garden setting.

“A lot of fun, interactive pieces,” he said.

Greg Gartner and Bill Kulesa are working on the designs of the restaurant that will have a coffee and juice bar, lunch counter, booth seating and bar height tables overlooking the hockey arenas.

The duo is currently recruiting top chefs as well, vowing to make the restaurant an attractive place for many local residents as well as outside visitors.

The restaurant has not been granted a liquor license yet, but will move forward with the designs of what owners are calling a “lunch counter” in case it does receive approval by the City Council before opening next April.

Even if a liquor license is approved, City Administrator Clint Gridley said typical bar features will not be included in this facility that mostly serves youth athletic groups.

“They’re not going to have a traditional bar with all the hard liquor bottles behind,” he said.

But Council Member Paul Rebholz, though impressed by the designs, was not on board with eventually granting a liquor license. He said city officials need to make a decision regarding alcohol and tobacco policy at public parks as well in order to be consistent throughout municipal facilities.

The restaurant will be located on the second floor of BSC, an extension of the first floor lobby that will be open to the public to hang out without necessarily eating a meal.

“At the end of the day, there is alcohol on the second floor,” Rebholz said, noting that he wouldn’t want parents to feel uncomfortable standing near others drinking.

Council Member Christopher Burns said BSC is a “family-friendly place” and he’s not in favor of the restaurant serving alcoholic beverages either.

The final vote will take place once Gartner and Kulesa submit a formal request for a liquor license in March.

The outdoor facilities, however, seem to be moving along without any major changes.

Madison’s Place playground and the splash pad will be an extension of the BSC complex.

Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens was excited about the plans that steer away from athletic design and give children with disabilities and their peers a whimsical place to play.

Dave Millington, one of the founders of the Madison Claire Foundation which is heading the plans for the playground, also said he’s excited to see everything come together.

“It’ll be a tremendous destination place,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of families there.”

The newly renovated and expanded BSC is set to open in the spring of 2014. Also on Wednesday, the state’s professional soccer club Minnesota United FC announced moving its headquarters to the Woodbury facility.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.