As an organization, our most vital asset is our membership. It was an exciting day…
Below is a contribution from GMPT business member WSB Engineering. For more information, please visit www.wsbeng.com.
WSB is a forward-thinking design and consulting firm specializing in engineering, community planning, environmental, and construction services. WSB exists to build what’s next in infrastructure—the places, spaces, and systems that support our lives. Since 1995, its staff has been dedicated to improving the way people engage with communities, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and our environment. The firm offers services in over 30 complementary areas to seamlessly integrate planning, design, and implementation. Its coast-to-coast client base is served from 17 offices in five states.
One of the ways WSB enhances the systems that support our lives is through developing parks and trails, as these are important pieces of infrastructure that provide a wide range of benefits for communities and the environment. WSB’s landscape architecture team works closely with engineers and planners to deliver projects of varying scales, including parks, trails, public waterfronts, outdoor performance venues, memorials, campgrounds, athletic complexes, and wayfinding signage.
Recently, WSB provided services to assist the community of Lake City in redeveloping Ohuta Beach, a waterfront park along Lake Pepin. Ohuta Beach offers vistas of the Mississippi River Corridor and many recreational activities along the water’s edge. Over time, competing activities adjacent to the beach, including marina facilities and mobile vacation homes, created a utilitarian zone and caused a disconnect from Lake Pepin to the rest of the city. WSB’s role was to address this disconnect and work with the city, community members, and nearby property owners to find a solution.
An extensive community engagement plan was implemented to ensure a strong relationship with the community and a successful end result. Desired amenities from the public engagement included four-season use of the park, preservation of lake views, restrooms, changing spaces, and outdoor wash areas with food vendor opportunities that supported Lake City’s heavy event schedule. Multiple concepts were prepared to incorporate these amenities and address existing site challenges such as flooding, parking, boat storage, a lift station, and an abundance of mobile vacation homes. WSB also utilized 3D renderings to illustrate to stakeholders and community members what the park might look like once completed.
The approved plan expanded the use of the site by designing open lawn areas, flexible plaza space, seating, water access, a multipurpose building, play areas, multipurpose parking, road realignment, and alternative locations for impacted mobile vacation homes. Unique strip lighting, decorative pavement, and lake-themed play areas all contributed to giving Ohuta Beach its special identity.
To accommodate Lake City’s many year-round events, sidewalks, crosswalks, removable bollards, lighting, and wayfinding from downtown Lake City to Ohuta Beach were all incorporated to provide safe public access. Careful analysis of the site and collaboration between many WSB service groups contributed to successful implementation. The park was opened to the public in the fall of 2021.