Osakis Voices: Survey of park shows surprise
When the new commissioners took office in January 2005, we were the acting Park Board and one of our first actions was to have Battle Point Park surveyed. What we found was landowners were on park land.
The survey on the south side of the park showed survey stakes in the middle of a mobile home. The other was on the lakeside when you first drive in. The county attorney resolved both issues for around $30,000. This money was put into the park fund. Before the survey, most people thought Battle Point was 3 to 4 acres when in reality it is 10 acres.
There were a lot of informational and public input meetings in '05, '06 and '07. The County Board felt that this is a county park and that there should be representation on a board from all parts of Todd County. On April 15 2008, the Todd County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution organizing parks and trails board appointees.
The board consisted of two commissioners and five citizens, one from each commissioner's district. We have since added three at-large members for a total of 10 members. The terms of these members follow the commissioner's elections.
One of the Park Board's first actions was to do a park plan. Without a plan, you can't apply for grants to help improve the park. The Park Board also divided the park into four zones for easy tracking when working on it.
In 2007, the Park Board was approached by the Sauk River Watershed with a plan to do a shore land restoration. The board felt that if it was going to help the park shore land, it would be a great idea, not knowing that they would be losing almost all of the swimming area that Battle Point was known for. Out of 600 feet of shore land on the north side, the Park Board was given a 15-foot wide area of beach. It was a two-year fight just to get another 10 feet, making it 25 feet. The Park Board wanted a least a 70-foot beach.
Another issue was installing another dock to take pressure off the boat landing dock. This also was about a two-year fight just to get 10 feet to install a dock which is close to the bathrooms.
In 2008, the Park Board had Public Works installed signage on all roads leading to the park. They also installed handicap parking signs in the parking lot. They also approved garbage pickup.
A local high school boy got an Eagle Scout Award for installing a dry fire hydrant at the park. In 2010, the Park Board hired a family close to the park to mow. In 2011, the Park Board voted to have a pavilion built. They also got the fishing pier from Lake Charlotte in Long Prairie which was rebuilt by STS with help from the DNR. They bought swimming area buoys for the beach. They installed a split rail fence on the eastern border of the Park. In May of 2012, the fishing pier was installed and class 5 walking paths to the pier, bathrooms and pavilion by request of Sauk River Watershed. We received a call from veterans' office in St. Cloud about walking paths not meeting ADA standards so all the walking paths had to have concrete.
The board approved to have REA bring power into the park and install a light at the entrance to the park. In 2013, the Park Board, along with the DNR started working on canoe access in Reynolds Township. We upgraded the electric service at the park.
Storm damaged the pier and pavilion. The pavilion was damaged beyond repair and a new one would be built. In 2014, board asked Public Works to remove the parking island when you first drive into the park. Phase 1 of playground equipment was ordered not to exceed $13,000 and installed. In 2015, Osakis Sportsmen Club donated a dock to Todd County. Park Board accepted memorial benches. The board approved phase 2 of playground equipment not to exceed $14,000.
In 2016, phase 2 of playground equipment was installed and the park entrance was paved, along with the area in front of the boat access. In 2017, power was extended to bathrooms and a light was installed in front of them. Monkey bars for playground were ordered and Sportsmen installed a dock by bathrooms in zone 2. In 2018 to present, monkey bars were installed and a wooden ramp to a pier was replaced with cement. An area for garbage cans was created and a park information sign was installed.
All this information can be found on the Todd County website under "Recreation" then under "Todd County Park and Trails Minutes." I will finish up next month with all the people involved and budget numbers, and update you on Todd County business.
Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.