Douglas County approves big plans for Chippewa Park

Cost for changes to park estimated at a little more than $1 million

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Standing in Chippewa Park, Douglas County Park Superintendent Brad Bonk points out the different elements to be included in the park's master plan. Douglas County commissioners approved the master plan, which includes at least two phases, at the Tuesday, Dec. 1, county board meeting. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Another Douglas County Park will be getting a makeover as Douglas County commissioners approved the master plan for Chippewa Park at the Tuesday, Dec. 1, board meeting.

The 30-year plan for the 35-acre park, which is nestled between Devils Lake and Little Chippewa Lake in Brandon Township, includes at least two phases with the first phase projected to be finished within the next five years. The total estimated cost of both phases with construction, design/engineering and contingency is $1.067 million.

Jillian Reiner, a landscape architect with Hagstrom Engineering in Alexandria and Brad Bonk, Douglas County parks superintendent, presented the plan to the commissioners at their meeting. Hagstrom Engineering is the firm working with the county on the plans.

Bonk said the county already has received $45,000 in donations to be used for the park, which he said was “pretty good seed money.” The donations came from two sources – $15,000 from the Brandon Fire Department and $30,000 from Brandon Manor Homes. The rest of the funds will be coming from grants, which Bonk has been and will be applying for, along with park dedication fees and other donations.

In May 2019, the county purchased a parcel of land on the northeast side of Chippewa Park with about 7 usable acres that will be included in the plans.


Here’s a look at what will be included in Phase 1 of the Chippewa Park master plan:

  • RV campground dump station

  • Upgrades to the existing RV campground, which will include 14 sites and an asphalt one-way drive.

  • Large storm shelter/restrooms, which will include an outdoor shower, back patio and more.

  • Bridge crossing over the channel that connects the two lakes to be used by vehicles and pedestrians to access the north parcel

  • Additional hiking and winter ski trails

  • Cart-in and boat-in camping sites with carts provided at the trailhead

  • Fenceline on the north property boundary

The Phase 2 improvements, which would likely happen in the next 10-15 years, include:

  • Central Lakes Regional Trail Connection, which is approximately two and a half miles of trail to the city of Brandon and the Central Lakes Trail

  • RV restroom and shower building

  • Additional sites added to the RV campground

  • Asphalt main access drive with 10 parking spaces

  • Beach playground

  • Drive-in tent camping that includes a gravel access loop, parking spaces, 12 drive-in sites and a double vault toilet

  • Additional cart-in and boat-in camping sites

Chippewa Park Master Plan Map by inforumdocs on Scribd

Reiner told the commissioners that the layout of the plan is very flexible and that a goal is to leave the property very natural and not disturb too much.

Prior to coming up with the master plan, the county collected plenty of data, including site and community analysis, a public open house and community input through a survey.

Elements in the master plan were based on the data collected, said Bonk.


Chippewa Park Master Plan Report by inforumdocs on Scribd

The park currently offers camping at one of its 15 overnight camp sites, swimming at what Bonk described as two of the best swimming beaches in the county, and picnicking, as well as fishing, volleyball, kayaking and canoeing.

One of the commissioners asked about the timing of the project and Bonk said the first priority is to get the grant money secured for the bridge, which should happen yet this winter. The earliest any work would be done would be next summer, Bonk told commissioners.

He said the project would not be completed as quickly as Lake Brophy County Park and that that park was unique in that the 20-year plan would be completed in about five years. The plan for Chippewa is a long-range plan and will take probably the 10-15 year estimated timeframe to complete.

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The 35-acre Chippewa Park, nestled between Devils and Little Chippewa Lake in Brandon Township, will soon be getting upgrades as part of the park's 30-year master plan. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Douglas County Parks Superintendent Brad Bonk points out elements of the master plan for Chippewa Park as Douglas County commissioners Keith Englund (left) and Jerry Rapp (right) look on. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She 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 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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