Lake Elmo Park Reserve to undergo $2.5 facelift


Solomon Gustavo/Review Eagle Point trail on the west side of Lake Elmo Park Reserve will be patched up to address drainage issues, and a parking lot will be added for safe and easy trail access, as part of $2.5 million worth of park improvements.

Solomon Gustavo photos/Review Features of the modern campground — like electrical, water and sewer lines — will be improved.

The outdated playground equipment, which is going on 17 years of use at the modern campground, will be updated.

Improvements to trail, playground, modern campground

 

In an effort to both update old equipment and infrastructure, as well as to update certain features, the Lake Elmo Park Reserve is set to undergo $2.5 million worth of improvements. 

Construction details are still being ironed out, but the overall project is slated for fall of 2019 to prevent closures during busy camping times in the summer, or during the summer-capping Washington County Bluegrass Festival. 

Improvements will take place in two main areas: the playground and modern campground, and the Eagle Point trail along the west side of the park. 

For the modern campground, the focus is on replacing electrical, water and sewer systems, according to Washington County Program Manager Andrew Giesen. 

It’s time for the playground to be replaced. The 17-year-old equipment has surpassed its design life of “about 15 years,” said Giessen. 

Giessen said about two thirds of the $2.5 million will go to improving the camp and playground. 

To the west of the park, improvements will be made along Eagle Point trail to address some drainage issues. 

There will also be the addition of a parking lot. 

“People want to access the west side of the park,” said Giessen. “It’s more natural, there’re not paved trails or roads, [it’s a] more scenic location of the park.”

Right now, those people park on local side streets. The county wants to provide a parking lot that park users can use to safely and conveniently access the reserve.

Though not included in this round of improvements, Giessen said the county is considering the feasibility of adding a new building at the head of Eagle Point trail. It’d be a small facility with restrooms that would also be the unofficial trailhead.

The money for the improvements comes from three sources. A $1 million chunk comes from Washington County’s capital improvement budget. The rest of it comes by way of two Metropolitan Council funds, $900,000 from a state tax fund and the remaining $600,000 from a grant. 

Giessen said construction is planned to begin after Labor Day and the Bluegrass Festival, likely momentarily closing the modern campground. There might also be some closures along Eagle Point trail. Overall, said Giessen, the county would “limit impact to park users.”

The project should be finished by the end of fall 2019. 

“We’re excited to make improvements,” said Giessen, adding the region is fortunate to have the Washington County commissioners who approved the park improvement funding.  

 

–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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