Arboretum Playset Expected to Arrive This Fall

Improvements have been made to the Kuhnert Arboretum in recent years and more are on the way, including a new playground this fall, should it arrive.

On Wednesday, City Forester Aaron Kiesz presented an overview of the arboretum development to the Aberdeen Parks Board.

The arboretum was established in 1974 and is named after then-park superintendent Erv Kuhnert.

Kiesz said development of the area south of Melgaard Park really began in 2010 with the addition of footpaths, paved parking, trees and a children’s play area. Much of the work today follows an updated master plan developed in 2015, he said, and many improvements have been made through donations and grants, including from the 3M Foundation.

The gazebo has been a popular spot for Arboretum weddings, he said. It was the product of an anonymous donation from a man from Mellette who built the formwork and poured the concrete parts for the gazebo which was then assembled in Aberdeen, Kiesz said.

The Hardy Rosarians established the rose bushes in 2009. Development of the trail began in 2015 and parking was added in 2017. A new stage followed in 2021.

Playground equipment will be added to the children’s area, which already has a five-room outdoor musical instrument area and a pollinator garden.

Kiesz said the playset is on order and expected to ship this fall. It cost $150,000, of which $68,000 was covered by a grant.

“It’s really grown over the last 10, 15 years,” he said, noting that the arboretum is attracting more and more public attention.

Kiesz said staff members continue to add and expand signage to the arboretum, which is a key educational component.

Next summer, he said, the hope is to add a plaza that will recognize supporters of the arboretum.

Fall drainage work planned at Lee Park

Phase two of drainage improvements at Lee Park Golf Course will begin this fall.

Golf Superintendent Charles R. Kornmann said the work will include sumps with drainage behind the green for the eighth hole and along the fairway for the third hole.

“Those are the two main places where we can’t get carts through if we have 2-inch rain,” he said.

This water will be evacuated to the pumping station and routed to a new pond that will be created in this area. Next, materials from the excavated pond site will be used to construct the fairway for the third hole.

Further work is planned in a third phase, Kornmann said. It includes the removal of the soil removed from the pond near hole 13, the removal of the bridge near the ninth hole and the elevation of the area for a new tee box at the ninth.

“So the whole area will have catch basins between four and nine,” Kornmann said. “That should really eliminate most flood spots, especially on the front nine.”

Agreement approved for construction of cabins by Central students

In another action, the parks board has approved a memorandum of understanding with the Aberdeen Public School District to build three cabins that will replace some of the older cabins at Wylie Park Campground.

Parks, Recreation and Forestry Manager Mark Hoven said there are seven cabins on the north side of the campground which are the oldest. They are log cabin style structures.

The cabins that will be built by the students of Central High School will be the same size as the existing cabins. Through the agreement, the city covers the material costs for the cabins.

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