The Glendalough Citizens Advisory Board was recently informed that Governor Mark Dayton signed the 2018 bonding bill which includes $750,000 for pre-design, design and construction for a new trail and visitor facility in Glendalough State Park. The bonding will augment more than $200,000 of private philanthropy that was quietly raised by the board ahead of making the state bonding request.
The trail center is intended to offer a combination of enclosed and open-air spaces, similar in feel to the Mary Gibbs Center at the Mississippi headwaters in Itasca State Park. Functionally, it will provide trailhead and visitor services, park interpretation, naturalist office space, winterized restrooms and showers, multi-season gathering area, rental concessionaire, and centralized parking.
During the spring of 2017, a local planning team, including representatives from the DNR, reviewed all former and existing park management plans for Glendalough, wrote a detailed plan for a new trail center, prepared preliminary architectural renderings and cost estimates, and raised seed money from the Cowles and Ballantine families, and a few local philanthropists.
The Minnesota Parks and Trails Council included the project bonding request in their 2018 legislative agenda. Subsequently, the local board worked with Representative Bud Nornes and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen to draft House and Senate bonding bills for the trail center. After a tumultuous negotiating period over the final weeks of the legislative session, Governor Dayton signed the bill.
Going forward, officials from the Minnesota DNR will manage the process for design and construction for the center, which will begin once state budget office authorization is received.
The local Citizens Advisory Board will formalize and expand fund-raising to include its faithful Park Partners, local and seasonal residents, and businesses that desire to be part of this valuable resource. The preliminary project cost was estimated at $1.2 million and will be refined through the DNR design process. Additional donations will provide a bridge funding from the nearly $1 million already secured to the final project cost.