Image of Lake Laura courtesy Redwood County

The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) has chosen to recommend Plum Creek Park near Walnut Grove receive over $800 thousand in funding for improvements. The Plum Creek Park recommendation is one of 14 recommended for $11.4 million in funding for 2024.

In January, Redwood County hired engineering firm TKDA to develop an expansion plan for Plum Creek Park on ten acres of property  the County purchased in 2016. The plan includes the addition of 30 to 35 RV sites, shelters, recreational activities and restroom  facilities. Phase one of the plan includes the redesign and reconstruction of the Lake Laura beach area, installation of sidewalks,  shower, changing rooms, restrooms, natural playground, new parking lot, and vegetation. These enhancements will provide ADA  accessibility to the waterfront, reduce long-term maintenance costs, connect the beach waterfront with the boat launch via a trail,  and integrate child play spaces near the beach. Construction of phase one is anticipated to begin the end of summer 2023, with the  goal of completion spring of 2024.  

The recommendation doesn’t guarantee funding will be approved by the state legislature, but in the past the legislature has approved annual CMRPTC recommendations for funding through the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, one of four funds  created by the 2008 Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Legacy Funds are already dedicated, and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or  statewide significance, which includes Plum Creek Park in Walnut Grove.  

The total cost of phase one is $909,488, with $818,539 received from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission  grant award, and a $90,948 local match from Redwood County, using the Federal American Rescue Plan funds. This project allows  the County to leverage both federal and state dollars to have no levy impact. 

“We are elated to have been selected for this grant by the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. This award will  enhance the experience at the Park, by improving the access to Lake Laura and creating a more inviting and stable swimming  beach,” said Lon Walling, Plum Creek Park Committee Chair.

“Area residents and visitors already enjoy the relaxation and beauty  they find at Plum Creek, and this needed funding will make their visits even better,” Plum Creek Park Ranger, Adam Kletscher said.  “This is a much-needed improvement that will be realized for generations to come and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.”  

Those interested in learning more about Plum Creek Park are encouraged to visit or contact the Redwood County Environmental Office at (507) 637-4023.