So far, the year of 2020 has had its fair share of ups and downs. One of the ways that people have coped is by focusing on the beauty of the outdoors. One thing COVID-19 can’t take away is the healing power of fresh air.
More and more families are taking long walks, going for bike rides, and visiting local parks.
The most prized park in Monticello is Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which is currently undergoing significant long-term renovation – highlighted by the construction of a campground that will allow people to have extended stays at the park.
An important part of that project is a trail to connect the south parking lot to the athletic fields on the property. Wright County Commissioner Darek Vetsch complimented Parks & Recreation Director Marc Mattice for the job he has done with the trail. There had been safety concerns, because many of those coming to attend games at the athletic fields had to walk along the road against traffic to get from the lot to the fields. With that impediment gone, Vetsch said Mattice and his staff have earned the praises of parkgoers.
“You’re a very popular man for that path you’ve cut through at Bertram this last week,” Vetsch told Mattice. “I’ve had so many people just raving about it finally being done. It probably should have been that way originally. It’s amazing that the little things – how far that goes.”
The County Board asked Mattice to provide a project update, and he said the park should by ready to go by the end of October.
“We are hoping to complete the construction of the campground by the end of October,” Mattice said. “We began building construction in May and site development in July.” Mattice said. “We’re going to get the main power turned on and get all our inspections done. We will move to a punch list on all the buildings. Site grading has come along very well. They got all power pedestals in and all their upgrading done. We’ll be putting in Class 5 (gravel) in a couple weeks. We’re looking at the last week of October to start a punch list on that and will start seeding in October.”
Mattice and his team have been working on this project for about a year and a half.
“From initial design work, to bidding, contracts and development, this project has taken a lot of dedication,” Mattice said.
Vetsch added that throughout the spring and summer, throngs of people have used Bertram Park as a place of social distancing when many other entertainment options were unavailable.
The park has been packed, especially during the summer months, but it seems as if a new crowd is starting to make their way to the park to see the leaves changing and take a walk in the crisp fall air.
The team is taking that next step and creating a getaway for avid campers.
“The campground will provide additional camping offerings close to home. People will be able to spend a night or a week, with four lakes, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails,” Mattice said. “It will also provide winter camping options with the construction of camper cabins, groomed cross-country ski trails.”
Many Monticello locals are just hoping to return to some sense of normality and put COVID-19 behind them. One of the few positives to come out of the pandemic has been the Wright County parks system.
The campground construction is wrapping up quickly, but Mattice said that because the weather will be turning soon, the campground won’t fully open until summer 2021.
This park has been a work in progress and it seems like every year it receives improvements.
“The entire park is a long story form acquisition in the year 2008 to various phase of development which started in 2015,” Mattice said.
Reach Jessie Meyen at email@example.com