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Eau Claire County board OKs plans to upgrade Lake Altoona County Park

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Andrew Dowd | Leader-Telegram

A long-range plan for $10 million to upgrade buildings, utilities and amenities at Lake Altoona County Park will be used to seek grants to pay for those projects.

The Eau Claire County Board voted 26-0 - three supervisors were absent - at Tuesday night's meeting to adopt the master plan for the waterfront park.

"It will probably take quite a few years to get it all done, but at least it's a start," Pat LaVelle, chairman of the county Parks and Forest Committee, said of the plan's approval.

There is no timeline specified for the three-phase plan, as the funding for it will be based on the county's future budgets and ability to secure grants from the state and federal government.

Chief among the park's current problems are a deteriorated parking lot, utilities in need of upgrading, aging buildings and inconvenient restrooms. The master plan would address those issues, plus add a new four-season shelter, build additional pavilions for small group gatherings and new restroom buildings, expand the dock area and add more parking.

The plan has been in the works since 2015, but supervisors said Tuesday that details of it could be changed.

"This plan is not cast in stone as far as the specific designs are concerned," Supervisor James Dunning said.

But Supervisor Gary Gibson noted that the master plan presented in October was created with help from the public at several meetings held in recent years.

"This plan has changed a lot over the past two years from the public hearings," he said.

LaVelle said details can be adjusted in the future, but the important part about securing any funding is to have an overall master plan for the park in place.

"If we don't have a master plan, we don't move ahead," he said.

State and federal agencies usually ask those applying for grant funds if their projects are part of a master plan, LaVelle said.

Supervisor Robin Leary praised the planned park improvements for their potential allure to people contemplating a move to the area.

"We're looking at being an attractive community to workers who want to move here and live here with their families," she said.

Contact: 715-833-9204, andrew.dowd@ecpc.com, @ADowd_LT on Twitter

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