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Parks poised to expand

Douglas County commissioners gave the go ahead to County Park Superintendent Al Lieffort to apply for five grants that would expand or enhance several county parks.

One of the projects that could be funded by grants is a tournament quality horseshoe court at Deputy Sheriff Curtis A. Felt Memorial Park.

The park is located along County Road 42, across from Alexandria Golf Club.

The project's $100,000 price tag includes a fenced area with nine horseshoe courts (with the possibility of expanding to 12 courts) and a center courtyard area for scoring and observing. The project would also include construction of a picnic shelter and public restroom, relocation of the volleyball court and an updated playground area.

Lieffort will apply for the funds through the Outdoor Recreation Grant Program. This grant offers a 50-50 cost share - $50,000 would be funded by the grant program and the balance would be covered by the park's department labor and fundraising efforts from a local horseshoe throwing organization and law enforcement community.

Lieffort said he expects the county will learn if its grant application is successful by mid-summer; best case scenario, Lieffort said, the project could begin in the spring of 2012.

Other park enhancements the county hopes to get grants for

During Tuesday's county board meeting, Lieffort also shared details on four other projects waiting for grant funding:

• Kensington Runestone Park

Project cost: $100,000

The Regional Park Grant Program would provide funds for a new park entrance sign and trail and interpretive signs connecting areas of the park.

This is a 60-40 cost share grant - $60,000 would come from the grant program and $40,000 would come from the county in the form of labor done by the park's department employees.

• Lake Brophy Park Addition I

Project cost: $1.3 million

The Legacy Grant Program would provide funds for the purchase of 97 acres from Wayne Lee property. The county has already purchased 33 of the 130 acres.

This is a 75-25 cost share grant. According to Lieffort, the property owner would reportedly be willing to donate the local share - approximately $325,000.

• Lake Brophy Park Addition II

Project cost: $400,000

The Legacy Trail Program would provide funds to acquire the Joann Srock property at the end of East Lake Brophy Road NW.

This is a 75-25 cost share grant. According to Lieffort, the property owner would reportedly be willing to donate the local share - approximately $100,000.

• Central Lakes Trail Connection at Melby

Project cost: $10,000

The Local Trails Connection Grant Program would fund a section of trail that connects to County Road 24 in Melby.

This is a 50-50 cost share grant. Lieffort said the local share - $5,000 - would likely come from a park dedication fund and the township.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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