ST. JOSEPH -- A planned new park in St. Joseph has just been awarded some grant money from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Community Development Director Nate Keller says the city is getting a $250,000 matching grant for East Park. The city will also have to kick in $250,000.

He says this is the first grant they've gotten for the project which means they can now move forward with phase 1 improvements which include installing hard surface trails and natural mowed grass trails.

We'll also have a canoe and kayak access.  One canoe/kayak access will be completely ADA accessible. So, if folks are in a wheelchair, they can go right down to the dock area and load from their wheelchair right into their canoe or kayak.

The Phase 1 improvements for East Park are expected to begin in the fall of 2023.

Keller says he's applying for more grant money for future phases so they can add more trails to the park.

We would like to add more trails including potentially a boardwalk area, some areas where folks can engage with the water.

East Park is 98 acres of land just south of the Kennedy Community School along the Sauk River. The city has owned the property since the mid-2000s.

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Once it's open to the public, it will be the largest park in the city of St. Joseph.

Keller says East Park is just a working title right now and it's likely that it will eventually be renamed.

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