Those looking to host family reunions, graduations parties, and other summertime soirees held at Almon Park on Buck Lake will have a new and improved shelter to look forward to in 2014.
The Oneida County Forestry, Land, and Recreation Committee began finalizing plans for a new structure Wednesday.
"We have an existing shelter at Almon Park that's a day-use, picnic-type shelter. It's basically a covered slab with multiple picnic tables and grills. Typically, people reserve the shelter for graduation parties, family reunions, Fourth of July parties, things of that nature," Forestry Director John Bilogan said.
"The existing shelter is approximately 30 years old and it's getting to the point that it needs to be replaced in the near future. Also, because it is rather popular for reservations, it gets a lot of use and we also hear about a couple of other issues. One, people would like electricity at the shelter so they can plug things in, and another is that it is limited in its size. There's about eight picnic tables there now, but if you have a larger gathering, it's just too small."
Bilogan and the committee will now start to finalize the specific plans for the upgrade.
"The next step moving forward is to come up with a tentative plan for this coming summer construction season - demolishing the existing structure, developing plans for a similar structure but one that will probably be in the neighborhood of twice as large, developing a plan to get electricity out there, and providing a paved access road that leads right up to the structure for loading and unloading and also for disabled parking," Bilogan said.
On thing known for sure is that construction won't start until later in the summer so that the public will still be able to use the existing shelter for most of the season.
"We're going to be moving forward with the plans this summer, but we're going to hold off on starting construction until approximately Aug. 15 so that the existing facility can be utilized through much of the busy summer period," Bilogan said.
"Around Aug, 15, our park usage starts to wane as people get ready to go back to school and the temperatures start to drop. So, we're planning on getting our construction done in late summer and early fall without impacting the public by having the existing structure not be available."
Bilogan also said while the department will send out bids for the construction of the actual shelter, it will team up with the Oneida County Highway Department to complete much of the rest of the project.
"(The Highway Department) will be involved with putting in the asphalt access road leading to the shelter. It'll be a little stub road from out existing parking lot that will go up to the shelter and then probably horseshoe back to the parking lot so people can unload their large coolers and whatnot and it'll provide some space for disabled parking. The Highway Department will also probably be involved with the demolition of the existing structure," Bilogan said.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at email@example.com.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce