Leistikow Park campground expansion moving forward
15 new campsites and three cabins to be ready for season
GRAFTON – Grafton Parks and Recreation (GPR) Director Bill Dahl is excited about the Leistikow Park Campground expansion project.
The project will bring 15 new camper sites to the campground. In addition, three camper cabins will be constructed this year and two more will be constructed for the 2015 season.
Dahl said the first expansion at the campground occurred in 2008 with help from companies working on the Keystone Pipeline. He said the idea for the latest expansion project started about two years ago. He said at that time, he began getting requests, especially from Canadian users of the campground to make more seasonal sites available. It was then that GPR had to put prospective seasonal campers on a waiting list.
In 2012, GPR submitted grant applications to the Otto Bremer Foundation and to the North Dakota Department of Tourism. Both of those grant applications were turned down.
Dahl said they resubmitted a grant to the North Dakota Tourism Department in 2013 and this time they were successful.
Dahl said the 2013 grant application was a little more focused. He also said they brought more matching funds to the table.
The total cost of the project is just over $109,000. A total of $40,500 will come out of the park district’s budget, $10,000 was donated to the project from Grafton’s Economic Development Committee and an additional $4,000 was given to the project from the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce.
GPR business manager Kristy Jelinek said the goal of the grant was to promote tourism.
“The main purpose of the grant was to pull people in for at least one overnight stay,” she said. “So that was our starting point.”
Jelinek and Dahl said several draws to Grafton include things like the golf course, bowling alley, movie theatre, outdoor swimming pool and shopping.
“One of the big draws is that the campground is within the city limits,” Jelinek said. “That’s not always the case. All the amenities the city offers are right here.”
When writing the grant GPR also identified what the park itself offers including the trail system, the dog park and canoe rental.
“We’ve also gotten several comments on how well maintained the park and campground are,” Dahl said.
The fifteen new sites will have gravel pads and will offer 50/30/20 amp electrical service at each site as well as water and sewer.
Dahl said the size of the sites will be similar to the ones constructed in 2008 and will be designed for larger RV’s.
The fifteen sites will be added on to the north and west sides of the present campground.
Dahl expects that at least 10 of the new sites will be rented on a seasonal basis leaving an additional five sites for “drop ins.”
In addition to the new campsites, GPR will be building three camper cabins this year and two more next year.
The cabins will be of wood construction and built by students at the North Valley Career and Technology Center.
He said the dimensions of the cabins was partly determined by the size of the space they have to build them in as they will be constructed indoors.
The indoor dimensions of the cabins are 10×16 feet. The cabins will have a 4×10 porch with a loft overhang. The loft will be capable of sleeping two persons and bunks will allow for approximately two to four more people.
Dahl said the cabins will also be equipped with air conditioning units and baseboard heat.
He said the cabins will not have plumbing, but in the future might contain a small refrigerator and microwave oven. The cabins will be on skids so they can be removed after the season ends.
The expansion project also calls for a full-service bath house and welcome center that will be located in the former state school paint shop on the property.
The three cabins and fifteen new campsites are expected to be completed in time for the 2014 season. Dahl said the additional two cabins will be done by 2015. As part of the grant stipulations, all work needs to be completed by the summer of 2015.
Bids for electrical and sewer work in the campground will be opened Feb. 20.