Good news for the proposed regional park near Frazee
âIt’s a big deal,â said Guy Fischer, Becker County’s economic development coordinator.
If it comes to fruition, Wannigan Park will serve as a camping area, trailhead, and regional park for three main trail systems that run through Frazee – the Northern National Scenic Trail (hiking), the River Trail Otter Tail and the Heartland (an extension of the paved, multi-use trail), said former Frazee mayor Hank Ludtke, who sits on the Wannigan Park steering committee. Former Frazee city administrator Denise Anderson also sits on the steering committee and leads the project, he said.
âWe submitted a concept plan to see if it would get a high ranking before moving forward with the master plan,â Ludtke said.
âYour application for designation has been rated ‘High’ after review by our independent assessment team and the Commission,â the Parks and Trails Commission said in a letter to Anderson and Fischer. âThis ranking means this facility is now eligible to submit a master plan for a full review, the next step in the process towards regional designation. “
The park is said to be approximately 170 acres in size, with potential for growth, located roughly between Frazee High School and the Frazee Country Club golf course. The Otter Tail River flows through the park, which is the site of a historic logging and sawmill activity.
Conceptually, there would be seasonal and short-term camping in the park, as well as on-site trails, a multi-use interpretive center, picnic shelters, an amphitheater, and trails for all three. main rivers and lands. trails based.
âThere are a lot of opportunities with this park,â said Fischer.
The conceptual plan also includes launching points for canoes and kayaks, shoreline fishing, scenic and bird-watching sites, interpretive language and an information kiosk.
Wannigan Park will eventually serve as a connection point for trails leading to Itasca, Maplewood and Buffalo River State Parks, as well as the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and other destinations, said Ludtke, who has worked on the concept of Frazee as trails. hub for a dozen years.
Getting high marks from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission should help bring state grants to Wannigan Park, Ludtke said, and the Frazee Community Development Commission is being reorganized to handle finances.
As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, the Community Development Commission will change its mission and possibly change its membership to manage the Wannigan Park project.
âWe’re hoping for a regional park (designation) but at this point it’s kind of a municipal park,â Ludtke said, âand that’s a lot for a town to bite into. That’s why we need a 501 (c) 3, to manage grant possibilities. “
The landowner owns the land for now, and park supporters will have to “increase the difference between the property’s estimated value by MNR and the actual cost of the property,” Ludtke said.
The next step is to improve the existing master plan for the park, a process that should take around a year, Ludtke said.
If all goes according to plan, the park will eventually attract people from all over the area.
âWe are helping to be a good economic developer for the region,â Ludtke said.