Dayton calls for $130M to repair infrastructure at state parks, recreation areas

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Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

Gov. Mark Dayton is asking the Legislature for $130 million to rebuild and repair infrastructure at state parks and recreation areas throughout Minnesota.

The funding is part of Dayton’s proposed 2018 Public Works Bill. The governor says the money would go towards maintaining and restoring recreational buildings, access roads, campgrounds, boat launches, fishing piers and other infrastructure across the state.

Dayton cited the broken water line at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minnesota as an example of the needed repairs. The park’s main water line failed this winter, forcing the park to shut down the water supply and close all of its bathrooms with flush toilets, according to a news release.

Jay Cooke is not the only state park with water problems. Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne has been without potable water for several years because of well contamination. Campground guests are provided with gallons of water to drink and prepare food with, according to the park website. 

“Some basic services for people—access to clean drinking water and functional bathrooms—are now not being met at DNR facilities,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a statement. “That is just simply unacceptable for a state whose $13 billion tourism economy is based on high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities.”

According to the DNR, more than $35 million of building components are in need of immediate repair or replacement. Hundreds of millions of dollars are needed over the next decade for preventative maintenance.