Funding approved for Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

Funding is in place for Anoka County to improve roads, parking lots and trails at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in 2013.

The Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its Parks and Recreation Committee, has approved an agreement with the Metropolitan Council to receive a $798,000 grant for the project.

Of that amount, $507,000 will come from state bonds allocated to metro area regional parks projects and $291,000 from Metropolitan Council bonds.

The county has until Dec. 31, 2016 to spend the money.

Last month, the county board approved a grant agreement with the Metropolitan Council to receive $1,281,000 in state regional park and trail legacy dollars.

Of that total, $125,000 was earmarked for the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park project.

The two grants combined will pay for the project, according to John VonDeLinde, county parks and recreation director.

The project will design and reconstruct the park roadway, parking lots and trails as well as construct new trails and storm drainage improvements plus a new additional dock at Cenaiko Lake.

In addition, there will be utilities and lighting improvements, restoration and signage.

The new trail work will complete what is now a partial trail round Cenaiko Lake, VonDeLinde said.

This is the second of a three-phase project, he said.

The first phase completed two years ago reconstructed the entrance to the park and the parking lot next to the Visitor Center.

The 2013 project will take care of the rest of the parking lots in the park, except the parking lot for the performance pavilion, which is relatively new, according to VonDeLinde.

Design work for the project will be done in-house over the winter with bidding in February or March, VonDeLinde said.

“Construction will begin in the spring and take two to three months,” he said.

And efforts will be made to minimize the impact of the construction on park users, for example the Coon Rapids Arts Commission concert series at the performance pavilion, which begins in June and runs through early August, VonDeLinde said.

Restoration work, such as seeding, sodding and landscaping won’t take place until late summer/early fall when conditions are best for germination, he said.

According to VonDeLinde, the third phase of the project – rebuilding the boat launch parking lot and access – won’t occur until the reconstruction of the Coon Rapids Dam itself is completed.

That two-year project is scheduled to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2014.

“It makes no sense to rebuild the boat launch parking lot and access until after the reconstruction of the dam is complete because heavy traffic will be using it during the work on the dam,” VonDeLinde said.

This year the city of Coon Rapids reconstructed Egret Boulevard from Coon Rapids Boulevard to the entrance to the regional park.

The 446-acre Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is one of the most popular in Anoka County, according to the county parks website.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]