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St. Paul residents got a glimpse this week of what the future Pedro Park could look like, as the capital city gears up for a long-awaited building demolition that will expand the tiny downtown green space.

The St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department on Monday released sketches of the proposed park design, alongside an announcement that the lot where the park sits will be restricted by a perimeter fence for demolition preparation.

Downtown residents have eagerly awaited updates on Pedro Park since the City Council voted in October to demolish the former public safety annex at 100 E. 10th St., which adjoins the park and, once gone, will provide enough space to nearly double its size. Demolition was initially slated for January but was pushed to spring.

The plans released Monday show a starkly different park compared to the current site, including the addition of an expansive green space, a splash pad and a dog run. Planners narrowed in on the design after getting community feedback in February.

"The community latched onto the plan because it's asymmetrical and something different from what we have in St. Paul," project manager Bryan Murphy said.

Pedro Park has been a crown jewel — if a small one — downtown since the Pedro family donated the 0.45 acres in 2009. Since then, community members have gone back and forth with the city over what the future of the site should be.

The city initially planned to expand the park into the public safety annex lot but abruptly changed course in 2017, instead offering the building to a developer. Angry neighbors responded by suing the city, but the developer backed out in early 2021, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Capitol River Council headed a work group that year to discuss what the city should do next, and made the case for a larger park. Green space is in high demand downtown because the area is a "concrete jungle and a park desert," said Julie Printz, a council member who led the work group. The new plans are refueling residents' hopes for the park, she said.

Demolition of the former public safety annex will begin early next month, followed by work to level off the park to 10th Street and construction of a retaining wall. The city plans to have a completed, grassy plot by the end of summer, according to Murphy.

Kathy Blair, who has lived in a nearby apartment for over a decade, has a garden plot in the current park where she plants cosmos and marigolds. She said she thinks the project is a "wonderful community amenity" and is looking forward to having a place for her grandchildren to play outside.

While funding for the project is still being ironed out, the city, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and community members are raising money. An additional $7 million in federal funds may also be available.

"It's not the way that a new park usually happens — we are building the bicycle as we ride it," St. Paul Parks Conservancy Executive Director Michael-jon Pease said. "The will of this neighborhood will make this park real."