The Orono Parks Commission held a meeting on Monday, June 1, to discuss its updated goals for the remainder of the year.

The Parks Commission’s 2020 plan listed events through the rest of the year; however, due to coronavirus restrictions, the parks department discussed how its plans for upcoming events are changing. The events that are changing or have the potential to change include the 2020 holiday tree lighting event, Lurton Park Dog Days, Big Island groundbreaking and the Bederwood Sports Field grand opening.

The annual Lurton Park Dog Days event was postponed indefinitely; there is no reschedule date currently and the parks board will revisit the topic next year. The Big Island groundbreaking and the Bederwood grand opening are also delayed indefinitely.

The holiday tree lighting event has not been officially cancelled. Members of the parks board agreed to wait because COVID-19 restrictions could change before the holiday season.

Even though most events are postponed, the work the parks department is doing will continue. A bid was awarded more than a month ago for the Big Island Legacy project. The contractor will work on converting the trail network, following ADA standards, a latrine facility near the visitors center, signage and security measures. Due to limited funding, the shelter and picnic tables were not included in the bid award.

The Big Island Legacy non-profit foundation is fundraising in order to complete the project; however, they are approximately $50,000 away from their goal. According to parks board member Rick Carter, the city of Orono contributed additional funds to go toward the project, which allows the funds they receive from their DNR grant to be increased as well.

Other updates the parks commission received include work from the public works department, which transitioned the parks from winter to spring as well as began annual inspections and maintenance. The Orono Golf Course is gradually reopening with COVID-19 rules in place.

Seeding and parking was completed at Bederwood. Bids for the East Long Lake Road Trail went out and construction on the Dakota Trail Crossing at Orono Orchard Road is complete.

The Navarre Dakota Trail Access project is in conjunction with Three Rivers Parks District and Hennepin County. About 60 percent of the design is complete and construction was expected this year but due to setbacks from COVID-19 regrouping for construction is expected in 2021.

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