Park construction start.JPG

Some fill material in place and earth movers at the ready. (Al Lohman/The Patriot)

You probably saw lots of pictures of the lunar surface last month as the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. And that’s a bit how Lake Waconia Regional Park will look in a couple weeks as construction begins on a major park development project.

Well, maybe not quite that drastic, but expect major changes, according to Carver County Parks officials, as crews begin to install municipal sewer and water lines, construct parking lots, roads and a public watercraft access, and perform extensive site grading for stormwater collection and future improvements.

The park closes after Labor Day weekend, on Sept. 3, due to intensive construction activity at the site. Barricades will be placed on the park entrance road and trail leading into the park.

“It will be like starting all over from a topographical perspective,” said Marty Walsh, county parks and recreation director. Most of the existing trees and vegetation will be removed, as well as the picnic shelter, to make way for utility lines and create more formal parking lots and roadways in line with master park plan.

Waconia Event Center will remain in place for now, but its future remains in limbo as county commissioners continue to evaluate possible rehabilitation of the facility and alternative plans for a new public gathering place.

City utility work already has begun outside the park along old Highway 5 and crews will be moving into the park soon. The same contractor is doing both utility and park development work, which should help with work coordination and provide economies of scale, according to Walsh.

He notes that an important consideration in the park project is to protect groundwater and keep surface water from entering the lake, so much of the earthwork will involve directing runoff water to holding ponds, rain gardens and a treatment facility.

Later this fall, earthwork begins on a related Metropolitan Council project to replace and old sewer line and increase collection capacity. That work will proceed along Highway 5 from a Met Council pumping station.

The master park plan and construction updates are available on the Carver County Parks website: www.co.carver.mn.us.

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