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Pilgrim Point Park moves forward as Douglas County commissioners approved the conditional use permit

Park will be open next summer but it will take years for all the elements of the park to be completed.

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This rendering of Pilgrim Point Park shows the various components of parks master plan. (Courtesy of Hagstrom Engineering)

Douglas County’s Pilgrim Point Park reached a milestone as the conditional use permit was approved by the Douglas County commissioners at the Tuesday, Nov. 2, regular board meeting.

That was the last step in the planning process.

Pilgrim Point Park CUP by inforumdocs on Scribd

Now, the real work begins – the construction of the park, which is situated on an 8.5-acre piece of property on a prominent peninsula on the eastern side of Lake Ida.

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Although the park is set to open to the public next summer, many of the master plan design elements are years away, according to a prior statement by Brad Bonk, Douglas County Parks superintendent.

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Brad Bonk

When all is said and done, the park will include two picnic shelters/restrooms, two beach areas, parking lot, bike/walking path, playground and climbing sculptures.

The funding to date to purchase the park has come from local tax dollars, but moving forward on the new development laid out in the park plan, Bonk said funds could come from a number of sources including grants, park dedication fees and other sources.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush said the Planning Advisory Commission recommended approval of the conditional use permits with its seven conditions.

The conditions are in regard to permitted facilities, wastewater facilities, hours of operation, lighting, parking, trash and special events.

For example, trash receptacles must be emptied at least weekly during months the park is open; it won’t be open before sunrise and will close no later than 10 p.m; and wastewater facilities within the park property must be connected to central sewer prior to use.

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Dave Rush

Rush said a public hearing was held prior to the Planning Advisory Commission members making their recommendation at the Oct. 26 meeting.

He said a couple of people voiced concerns about traffic, safety, trash, road setbacks, lighting and more. Rush said there were some valid concerns, but that they would need to be taken up with the Board of Adjustment. He added that if anyone disagrees with the approval of the conditional use permit, they could go through the appeal process.

The Lake Ida Lake Association and the Lake Ida Township Board are in favor of the park and have no issues with it, according to Rush.

According to information supplied in the board packet, there are plans to pave a bike trail on the south side of County Road 116 in conjunction with the paving of that road from the end of the current pavement into the park property. Douglas County is currently working on plans with property owners to extend the trail to County Road 34.

From there, the county will look at future road plans and determine the best route to connect pedestrian traffic with the park.

The speed limit posted for County Road 116 is 35 miles per hour with the extension plan to also be posted at 35 miles per hour. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will enforce speed limits with routine patrols.

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In addition, the sheriff’s office will be providing water patrol to monitor the point and boating activity taking place on Lake Ida as part of their regular patrols during the boating season.

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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