By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Washington County Conservation Director Steve Anderson reported today that the last of the funding for the project that renovated Willow Pond was received as a $1,500 grant from the Washington County Betterment Foundation put the fund over the top.
Anderson said this phase of the project is complete and the next thing the Conservation Department is going to move ahead with is a project to install a trail from the Kewash Trail to the pond. He said this phase of the project, which included improvemebnts to the shoreline,
?No property taxes were used in the project,? Anderson said.
The $8 million project of enhancing the landscaping of Willow Pond was completed as of August 2017.
The project to rebuild the pond had begin in 2010 when the pond was gravity drained. Washington County Conservation had gotten a fish habitat grant, Anderson said, which paid for about 90 percent of the $20,000 project. The remainder of the project funding came from the rental of nearby farmland owned by the county, Anderson said. He said that after the pond had drained, he found the snowmobile in the middle of the pond.
When the second phase is completed, the main public entry will be from the Kewash Nature Trail. The 1.5-acre pond is located about one-quarter mile from the intersection of Highway 1 and 92. It is accessible from the Kewash Trail.
?If all goes well the trail project is scheduled for bid letting in the spring of 2018 with the construction window to conclude at the end of 2018,? Anderson said. ?This is the paperwork side and delays could happen, but at this point that is the schedule.?
He said there isn?t a set cost estimate for the trail project yet. He said the department has a grant into the Washington County Riverboat Foundation to assist in the funding of the project.
Anderson said the pond was built in the mid-1950s. Early in 2000, Anderson said, the structure holding the pond had begun to fail.
In about 2007, the dam had failed so much that the level was dropped 6 feet. The conservation department had begun planning how to restore the pond. The pond, when it was built, had been about 12-feet deep, but Anderson said, it had silted in to where it was about 9 feet deep when it was drained. The new pond is 23 feet deep.