Construction of the waterfront park services building planned for Lake Waconia Regional Park could be delayed a year or more.
Projected cost of the building is running outside the original target, so the Carver County Parks department is looking to secure additional funding to complete the next phase of park development.
Preliminary plans for the building were unveiled early this year as a place for picnicking, other park activities and events, with restrooms, food and drink concessions, equipment rental, also indoor gathering space. Conceptually, the building is expected to have a strong connection to the waterfront, with lakeside views and a variety of sheltered outdoor seating. It also is intended to provide a welcoming connection to the lake from the new parking facility.
Cost of the building was originally estimated at $5 million to be funded through $2.5 in state money matched by another $2.5 million in county funds. However, increasing cost of building materials coupled with the cost of sustainability and energy efficiency features, in this case solar and geothermal, as required in state funded building projects and evaluated in detailed design plans, have pushed the projected cost to $6.5 million, according to Marty Walsh, Carver County Parks director. So, project bidding and building construction, originally expected to occur later this summer and fall, likely now will be pushed back to 2022-2023.
With the Lake Waconia park expected to become a regional destination, the desire is to retain the park building features and services recommend in the public engagement process earlier in the year, Walsh said, so the intent is to secure additional funding to complete the project as planned.
County commissioners last month agreed to seek additional state funding through a similar matching dollars arrangement contained in the last bonding bill. Walsh points out that park development is being done in phases, starting with the year-long package of road, parking, trail, boat access, utility and stormwater management improvements that was completed last year.
He says he’s hopeful that additional funding to complete the waterfront services building will also include dollars for phase 3 development, such as playground, docks, fishing piers and additional trails.
In the meantime, parks officials report that use of the regional park is growing. The beach has been active on these hot summer days and the main trail through the park is now connected to a broader trail system reaching around the lake, welcoming an increasing number of walkers and runners.
They also point out that the park is a great place to watch sunsets over Lake Waconia.