Phoebe Bakken Memorial Park in the Village of Cottage Grove is fast becoming a beloved recreation centerpiece, and a shining example of inclusive, accessible play. Named in honor of a long-time local resident and school teacher — and built with a generous donation from her estate — Bakken Park is home to the first aquatic facility in the Village, a new covered shelter, restroom and concessions building, with amenities to complement a variety of activities and multi-modal use.
The Village of Cottage Grove first worked with MSA in 2015 on a Master Plan for Bakken Park. At that time, the park consisted of athletic fields, trails and a playground. The park is located just adjacent to the Madison United Rugby Club Sports Complex and Cottage Grove Fireman’s Park, surrounded by open greenspace and a great deal of opportunity for growth. The Village and MSA worked in close collaboration to envision a new community gathering space and splash pad that would tie into the existing features and promote other on-site events and cross-functional enjoyment as well.
Design for the splash pad began in earnest in 2019. MSA park and recreation professionals presented the Village with plans for a new 2,330-square-foot recirculating splash pad, with both wet and dry zones and areas for people of all ages and abilities to relax or play. The recirculating option, while a larger up-front investment, was selected as a more natural fit to the site footprint, which didn’t have the space needed to properly convey the water and stormwater associated with a flow-through splash pad design. The recirculating option also saves the Village on potable water use and greater long-term costs. The new “sprayground” is designed for water to be turned on via a timer on a daily basis, but to conserve water when not in use. When in operation, the water features will automatically turn off after four minutes and can be reactivated by simply pushing a button. The design includes teen, family and tot play areas, two shade canopies, stone and metal benches and an outdoor shower.
The splash pad is accompanied by an inviting new multi-purpose building that houses restrooms, a large covered picnic/shelter area, concessions and serving area, storage room and mechanical space for splash pad equipment. The building and water complex are surrounded by play areas and a multiuse path, with new bike racks, a bike repair station, information kiosk, drinking fountain, community plaza space, fixed picnic tables and new landscaping throughout.
The entire project was designed to be fully ADA compliant, which supports the larger goals of the impressive Bakken Park plan. MSA’s splash pad and building designs were created to support ongoing and future park expansion, including new trail networks leading to the Village’s Miracle Field project, a baseball diamond with rubber surfacing, ADA-accessible bleachers, shade shelters, batting/pitching cage areas and dugouts to promote full and active participation by children with cognitive and physical challenges — a project led by the Miracle League of Dane County.
The Village celebrated the completion of the new splash pad, building and gathering spaces with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 5, 2021, and look forward to welcoming residents and guests to the transformed Bakken Park!