New entrance at K-town park
Construction on a new entrance for Douglas County’s Kensington Runestone Park is complete for 2013.
Construction crews have finished their work on a new gravel entrance for the park, and Douglas County commissioners approved the final $147,151.11 construction bill at their November 12 meeting.
Douglas County Park Superintendent Al Lieffort said the construction was paid by a grant from the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The grant total was $291,000, and about $70,000 from the grant is still available. Those funds will be used next summer to surface the current gravel roadway into pavement.
“We’ll let it sit over the winter and settle in,” Lieffort said.
Besides pavement plans, the rest of the construction project is completed in the Kensington Runestone Park. A boardwalk in the park spanning 100 feet of water was constructed this summer along with the new entrance.
“We’re still well within budget for the project and we expect to get it all done with the money that we have,” Lieffort said.
So far, visitors to Kensington Runestone Park have given positive feedback about the changes. Lieffort said visitors have complimented the more scenic drive into the park.
“We’re very happy with the way it turned out,” Lieffort said. “We’ve gotten lots of feedback on it from people who use the park. Everybody really likes the new entrance. It’s quite a bit more scenic than the old one was.”
The construction is designed to make the historic Ohman farmyard look as it did when the Kensington Runestone was discovered there in 1898. The next step for the park is to continue working on the restoration of the Ohman farmyard and developing the interpretive trail system in the park.
Lieffort also said at some point Douglas County will try to acquire more state funds to rebuild the park’s playgrounds, picnic areas and a visitor’s center at the south end of the park. But for now the current structures will remain until they can secure more funding.
“There’s another project out there, but it’s a couple of years in the future, probably,” Lieffort said.