MDM: Coughlan Pond at oldtown

It’s that time again where I get to dream big with no budget, no reality checks and no logistical impediments!

If you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with water. Ever since I was a little kid I would go and stare at streams, lakes, rivers, etc… I think that there’s something ingrained in humans about water. They want to be near it because they know it’s life blood. It’s also (in my opinion) has a calming and relaxing nature. People spend tons of money just to put a fake fountain or stream in their backyard just for the noise.

Water is great as resource and just as good for placemaking. In since we can’t really use our river we might as well try to get some other water feature near the downtown.

Enter stage left: The Quarry Lake (near downtown).

For those of you unfamiliar with the location, there’s a Limestone quarry located along third avenue. Last year it closed due to a slow economy and pursuit of silica sand. However, there are some companies that lease the quarry to do processing and the family that owns it is open to selling it to another mineral company. Whatever happens, I don’t REALLY care, but I think it would be nice if the city bought it and turned it into a lake/park/bioswale.

I’m all about reducing the amount of rain water we put into the river and I think this would act as a nice collection area and buffer. We already did the exact same thing with Hiniker Pond and from what I’ve heard it’s actually a nice place to swim and relax.

The selling point of this park would be the re-emerging old town and Riverfront Park. The ability to move from this park to the downtown would make it a no-brainer investment for the city. It would raise the property values in the area and give people a place to hang out downtown, which is sorely lacking right now. Riverfront Park is nice, but it’s event-orientated. Without something going on there, it’s not really that great of a place to be.

We can talk about how to fix Oldtown properly in another article.

Mankato has already speculated that a project like this will happen in their city center renaissance plan  (which makes you all giddy when you read it, then sorely depressed when you realize barely any of it has been followed through on. Granted, everyone was optimistic in 2007. ) Here’s a link to the specific page.

In my photoshop masterpiece, I’ve highlighted three areas: Oldtown, the quarry and a possible expansion.

So, there you have it. My idea for a pond and park near downtown. I think it would be a superb asset.

Oh! I should mention. The Coughlan family has owned that quarry for four generations, hence the name.

Thanks for reading.

About Matthias Leyrer

Matthias Leyrer is a resident of Mankato looking to restore a fraction of its old glory. He writes about the economic, aesthetic, practical and financial issues facing the city of Mankato going forward.