There will be a new place to launch boats on the lower St. Croix River by 2020. That’s when a landing is expected to open up in the shadow of the new bridge, in Oak Park Heights, MN.
The landing will be operated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which received $1.2 million from mitigation efforts for the project. The Pioneer Press reports:
“This is going to be awesome,” [Oak Park Heights City Council member Mark] Swenson said after the presentation. “We are a city on the river that has no access within our city limits. This is good land, and this is a good purpose for it.”
Swenson said three factors make the location ideal for a boat launch: deep water, minimal current and easy access to Minnesota 36 and Minnesota 95.
According to the Stillwater Gazette, the plans “include a double ramp angled downstream — away from the bridge pier — a decontamination station for removing weeds and invasive species, and 35 boat trailer parking spaces.”
The landing will be squeezed in between the bridge and wetlands, so it will have a narrow parking lot:
The point of the design is to minimize the impact on wetlands along the riverbank by using areas already filled in by MnDOT during bridge construction. Some of those areas were meant to be filled permanently, but others were only intended to be filled temporarily, to allow sufficient access to the site during bridge construction. The proposed boat launch design would leave some of the temporary fill in place permanently and build the access on top.
The landing will be constructed in 2019 and will open for public use in either the fall of 2019 or spring 2020.