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A new look for Lions Park
July 5, 2019

Kira Karels

HOWARD LAKE, MN – The City of Howard Lake is collaborating with the HL Parks and Planning Commission, and Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District to give Lions Park a new look, to be completed in early July. Park and lake users will benefit from this $86,500 project.

The project’s goals are to enhance the swimming area, remove the native plantings to allow for the return of green space, and create beach access for the handicapped.

Currently, the beach is closed for construction; however, the boating and fishing piers, playground, and pavilion are still available to the public.

Feedback from a variety of community members prompted the adjustments to Lions Park. Since the last developments, in 2013, additional beach maintenance and space design improvements were sought.

The city approached the WCSWCD, a partner from the past, to review the project designs. The conservation district also supplied a grant of $16,500, making the shoreline work possible.

The park’s restoration plantings were a major source of complaint. Due to its value in the preservation of the beach, the plantings are being relocated to the shoreline instead of completely removed. A rain garden will exist adjacent to the parking lot with the purpose of filtering the lot’s runoff.

Rip rap, placement of rock on the shoreline to prevent shore erosion, will replace the failing retaining wall.

Additionally, a fence overlooking the lake has been installed by the playground, concrete footpaths will outline the rain garden, and new beach sand will be supplied.

The swimming beach will be cleaned up, and the shoreline will be stabilized to make it more enjoyable. The view of the lake will be enhanced by the reduction of vegetation and expansion of open space, which will also make the playground and beach areas more connected.

When the project is completed, Lions Park’s functions will be the same – fishing, swimming, beach enjoyment, and playground activities – the safety and accessibility of the park will be changed for the better.

As a leading member of the project, Aurora Yager commented, “People who haven’t been back in a while will be surprised by the difference it will bring.”

The city is grateful for the grant from the WCSWCD, and existing partnerships for this project.

The city is always looking for ways to enhance Howard Lake, and will host a table Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Farmers Market in Lions Park to hear feedback and suggestions from residents.

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