Carver County recently broke ground on its Lake Waconia Regional Park and Coney Island of the West project, launching a project nearly two decades in the making.
“This is an exciting time as the county takes its first steps towards implementing the vision of this area,” stated County Board Chair Randy Maluchnik, in a press release.
The first phase of the park project includes site grading, construction of water and sewer utilities, roads, parking lots and a watercraft access. Funding came from $1.5 million of state bonds, which the county matched with $1.5 million of its own funds.
The State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources is funding the watercraft access portion of the project.
The county, city of Waconia, Metropolitan Council, Trust for Public Land and state of Minnesota all provided funding and assistance.
The Norman and Ann Hoffman Foundation secured Coney Island for public use and made a generous financial donation, making the island a part of the regional park. Maluchnik presented the Hoffman Foundation members with a plaque, commemorating their generosity.
With assistance from the Trust for Public Land and the foundation donation, work is underway to construct picnic areas and trails, clean up hazardous conditions, and to preserve the history of the island, which is listed in National Registry of Historic Places, according to a press release.
The county is working at the state level to secure funding for the next phases to support development of the mainland park area and Coney Island. The approved master plan, which provides the vision for the park and island, includes many enhancements and new public facilities.
The main park area plan includes further development of the popular beach area, a central plaza area, a central watercraft pier in addition to separate fishing piers, multi-purpose trails, picnic shelters and a sledding hill.
Coney Island adds an additional 34 acres to the park’s current 130 acres, bringing the total park acres to 164. The island’s development plan includes camping sites, hiking trails, multiple boat docks and day-use areas.
“Our goal is to ensure Lake Waconia Regional Park remains a gem for all county residents and a regional destination of recreation significance for years to come,” stated Parks Director Marty Walsh.
While previous information about construction schedules reflected Lake Waconia Regional Park closing Aug. 1, that date moved to Sept. 3, so the park is available through Labor Day weekend.
More info at www.carvercountyparks.com.