The Department of Natural Resources is requesting $10 million in bonding for Itasca State Park, Minnesota’s oldest and first state park. The money is needed to renovate degraded buildings and other infrastructure, restore natural resources, and to offset energy use in the park, which is celebrating its 125th birthday in 2016.
The DNR’s priorities at the park include reforesting an 800-acre part of the park, as well as significant restorations of Nicollet Court, which is listed on the National Historic Register. The Court has been closed to the public for almost 15 years due to age and safety concerns.
The roof is close to collapsing, which will render the building more difficult and expensive to salvage. The proposal is to completely renovate this historic building and create additional lodging at Itasca, which is in high demand.
Itasca State Park is the DNR’s most heavily visited park and is the largest revenue-generating park in the state.
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