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Bathhouse design approved for Lake Brophy County Park

This drawing depicts what the proposed bathhouse at Lake Brophy County Park could look like. (Contributed)

A beautiful park in a beautiful setting on a beautiful lake needs a place for swimmers to shower off, change their clothes and use a restroom. Park officials and designers of the new bathhouse at Lake Brophy County Park also believe a bathhouse needs to be functional, easy to clean and sustainable.

"We don't need a giant bathhouse. It doesn't have to be grandiose," Brad Bonk told Douglas County commissioners at their Tuesday, July 17 meeting.

Bonk, Douglas County's parks superintendent, asked the commissioners to approve the design for the bathhouse, with a projected cost of $165,000, that will soon be built at Lake Brophy County Park.

The design which will feature four handicapped-accessible family-sized bathrooms/changing rooms, was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Lake Brophy County Park, on the north side of Lake Brophy along the Central Lakes Trail, west of Alexandria, is the county's newest park and the first to be added to the park system since 1990. It is separate from the Lake Brophy Wayside, on the other side of the lake, along County Road 82.

The bathhouse will serve the beach area of the park and will be similar to the bathhouses at both L'Homme Dieu and Latoka beaches, Bonk said.

Mod Feders from Buetow 2 Architects, who is the lead architect for the project, provided some details about the bathhouse to the commissioners. He explained that it would be a three-season bathhouse that will be 21-feet by 18-feet, with each of the rooms 8-feet by 7-feet.

"They are good-sized rooms," Feders said. "And the exterior of the building will be easy on the eyes and fit into the natural setting."

He said the building will feature a metal roof and fascia with a light green color reminiscent of aged copper. The siding will be cream-colored fiber cement panels with similar painted metal doors and frame.

Feders also said a lot of thought went into the design as far as safety was concerned, and that there will be plenty of good lighting.

Bonk added that the doors will be locked at night and can be controlled through the internet or a cell phone and there will security cameras on the premise. He said the county has access to a website where the security cameras save and upload the videos, so they can be viewed at any time.

As for the master plan for Lake Brophy County Park, the beach area and bathhouse are expected to open next summer. There are also plans for a pavilion, shelter, playground, picnic tables, trails, sledding hills and more.

Over the past five years, Douglas County has spent approximately $1.7 million purchasing the land for the park, which features high hills, lakeside space, secluded spots, big open fields and access to the Central Lakes Trail. The money came from park funds, grants and private donations.

Douglas County HRA

Al Glaeseman, Dee Peshek and Sarah Alstead from Douglas County Housing and Redevelopment Authority went before the commissioners Tuesday with the HRA's 2019 levy request.

Although the levy requires approval from the commissioners, it is not part of the county's budget. The HRA's levy is $700,000, which is slightly more than .01 percent of the taxable market value in the county.

The maximum levy amount for the HRA is a little more than $1 million, Glaeseman said it is only requesting 68.5 percent of that.

Rental assistance from the Douglas County HRA is being provided to 230 households, plus 36 subsidized units owned by HRA, according to information provided to the commissioners. Each month, an average of 110 landlords receive housing assistance payments totalling $76,549. That amounts to $918,588 per year. The average annual income for the 230 households is $15,539, with 21 of those households making less than $5,000 per year.

Glaeseman said the budget and levy is a work in progress and something the HRA has been working on since January.

Commissioner Charlie Meyer noted that the HRA does not increase its levy amount each year and in fact, he said that last year was the first time in seven years it was increased.

Commissioner Jim Stratton said he applauds the HRA for the work it does.

Other items

In other action, the county board:

• Accepted five donations to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for a total of $2,010. The donations were designated to the honor guard, K-9 unit and for fitness equipment.

• Approved a joint powers agreement between the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

• Approved three conditional use permits — McCleary Development LLC for a building expansion; David and Loni Kjos for 100 percent credit for pervious pavers with a stormwater plan; and Lake Miltona Family Cabin LLC for a private vacation home rental with an overnight guest capacity of 20.

• Approved three contracts for Douglas County Public Works for enhanced pavement messages, reconstruction of County Road 3 and replacement of culverts in Miltona Township.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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