Martin Co. eyeing grant for park fixup

FAIRMONT – Cedar-Hanson Park near Trimont is a favorite spot for campers, with electrical sites for RVs and areas for more traditional camping. But the county and parks department have only been able to make upgrades and additions to the park piece by piece.

On Tuesday, Martin County Engineer Kevin Peyman presented commissioners with a proposal to apply for a Parks Legacy Grant from the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment. The proposal was put together with help from CBS2 of Chippewa Falls, Wis.

“It’s a large overview for the park plan,” Peyman explained. “There will be a chance to nail down the details once we get approved, and it can still be tweaked before the final design, which could raise or lower the price of the project.”

The upgrades would include a restroom and shower building along with utility expenses, new playground equipment, campsite pads, road erosion control and a new stair and ramp system. The cost estimate is nearly $511,000.

While no match is required for the grant, more consideration is given to those applicants willing to match more than 25 percent of the cost, which would be about $127,000.

“We’ve talked about this for 20 years,” said Commissioner Steve Pierce. “It’s our busiest park and there’s so many projects, we’re never really done. This way, we could focus on some of the other parks.”

Despite the cost of providing the match, commissioners realize the value of the investment.

“It will bring in a lot more revenue at the sites,” said Commissioner Dan Schmidtke.

The park already brings in the most revenue in the county park system, with $20 per night fees for electric sites, and $10 per night for non-electrical sites.

“We may not even get [the grant],” said Commissioner Elliot Belgard. “But if we do, we’ll have to find a way to come up with it. I’d rather spend money on something like this instead of just paying down the levy.”

A resolution to approve a 25 percent match for the grant will be presented at the next board meeting, Oct. 1.

Cedar-Hanson Park is located north of Trimont on Cedar Lake, and is the largest of Martin County’s six county parks. It features 20 modern camp sites with water and electrical hookups, along with a variety of primitive campsites.