If you have driven by Halvorson Park in the past few weeks, you may have noticed some work going on. Mitchell County Conservation Board is making strides to improve the park and its river resource.

Back in 2015, the Board surveyed campers in an effort to gain public input for our long range planning process. In short, we wanted a list of what improvements the public wanted to see in our parks and how high of a priority they put on different improvements. The survey was distributed in all our parks and included improvements like new electrical hookups, designated camping pads, playground equipment, and of course restroom facilities.

The overwhelming response indicated Halvorson Park needed a new and improved bathhouse facility. As the Board was preparing plans, Norman Halvorson expressed the desire to make a considerable donation towards a new bathhouse for the park. With a generous check in hand, the Board began planning and allocating funds to build a new bathhouse and to dispose of the old pit toilets that served as overflow for the current facility.

Construction on the new building began this fall and will be completed before the Park opens in 2018. It will be a fully enclosed building with six, hot showers and six, flush toilet facilities, along with changing areas and a common information area. The new plumbing includes a water treatment system to remove the rust and foul smell of the well water on site and the new drainage system will make cleaning quick and easy. This bathhouse will be an improved facility all campers and visitors can enjoy.

MCCB is also continuing to protect and preserve the Park and the Cedar River by stabilizing the remaining riverbank. The west end of the park was stabilized in 2016, in an effort to reduce the bank erosion taking place and to improve fishing. A similar project is taking place this fall, the bank is being re- sloped, armored with rip-rap, and finally it will be seeded down with native vegetation to hold it all in place. In addition two more J-hook weir s will be placed along the bank for multiple benefits. These structures will push the river current away from the river bank and back to the center of the river; they also provide structure and scour holes that attract fish. Though the exposed soil, down trees, and new prairie plantings may look a bit rough at first, the end result will be a stable river bank that improves fishing and water quality for the future.

The Board has a long range plan for the park that will include new roads with designated camping pads and individual electrical hookups, a new beach, and some additional playground equipment.

We always encourage public input or comments concerning the future of our parks, to comment or set up a time to view the plans for the park please give us a call. 641-732-5204.