Parks Committee approves Lake Pacawa Park development plans
By Taylor J. Hale
PLOVER – Massive changes are planned for Lake Pacawa Park next year. Plover village leaders approved plans for the park’s improvements and a sizeable land donation, contributed by Worzella & Sons, at the Parks Development Committee meeting on July 22.
The project is estimated at $3.5 million, and according to staff, it will be funded by community donations and a possible Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stewardship grant.
“We were in contact with Worzella & Sons who owns about 9.5 acres just south of Lake Pacawa,” said Plover Community Development Administrator Ryan Kernosky. “We’ve included that land as part of the second phase of development; it includes some walking trails, benches, and then some natural screening for erosion against the agricultural field.”
The village approached Worzella about donating the land. Worzella agreed, on the condition that the city pays for the 2019 taxes on the property, estimated at $1,100.
“All in all, considering lots are going for $30-40,000 for a quarter acre, I think $1,100 for 9.5 acres is a good deal,” Kernosky added.
Village Administrator Dan Mahoney noted Phase One of the project is considered to be the bandshell addition that came to Lake Pacawa. The bandshell just received its facade and final electrical components earlier this year.
Possible grant opportunities
Village leaders are currently working with DNR officials to acquire a stewardship grant to help fund the project. Mahoney added that last year’s top-funded state DNR stewardship project received $800,000 in funding.
“We really need to understand what their maximum dollar amount is because we need to fit in that,” Mahoney said. “We can’t think that if we have a $3.5 million project they’re going to give us half of that. We want to make sure we know what we are getting for money, so our fundraisers understand it. And if we have to modify what we accomplish with Phase Two, we will do that.”
Mahoney added that grants from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other groups could help fund some of the planned aspects of the development, such as parking lots and pathways.
A splash pad area, handicap accessible playground and fishing pier could also hit the park in the coming year. The splash pad is estimated to cost roughly $650,000-$700,000. Staff is working with the Rettler Corporation on the park developments. Yearly equipment and property maintenance fees are still being calculated, according to Mahoney.
The Stevens Point Curling Club also requested a location on the Lake Pacawa parcel to house their new facilities. The dedicated facility would be located on the northeast portion of the property, near Interstate 39. The club is currently fundraising for the new building.
“We agreed to kind of provide them a footprint,” Mahoney said about the curling club. “It’s a great fit for us, more activities out in the park.”
Phase Two is projected to start in the spring of 2021 and could be completed as early as the spring of 2022. Lake Pacawa could also see a potential Phase Three in the coming years, if the village supports the project. Leaders will review the plans at the next Plover Village Board meeting.
Follow the Portage County Gazette for updates on this story. Lake Pacawa Park is located at 1831 Maple Dr., Plover.