LAKE VERMILLION -- Several current and former state officials were on hand to break ground on Minnesota's newest state park Friday.

Construction began Friday on the new Lake Vermillion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park and among those in attendance for the ceremony were Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, Sen. Tom Bakk, and former governor Tim Pawlenty.

The new state park is set to open in the fall of 2016 and is expected to bring in about 250,000 visitors and over $18 million to the region annually.

Funding was approved for the park back in 2008, with $20 million in bonding being set aside for purchasing and developing the land.