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County selects engineering firm to rethink Lake Shady

ORONOCO — A $206,000 contract with an engineering company to begin drawing plans to resculpt Oronoco's Lake Shady as a river system with wetlands, trails and fishing piers won unanimous approval on Tuesday from the Olmsted County Board.

The contract, with Stantec Consulting Services, formerly Bonestroo, calls for the firm to conduct a preliminary engineering design review and recommendations report to remove the compromised lake dam and to complete an environmental assessment worksheet for the overall lake restoration project.

The work will be reimbursed from a $1 million state grant, issued in the wake of a 2010 flood that washed over the dam and washed away the north approach to the County Road 18 bridge, which connects the north and south sides of Oronoco.

The county and state Department of Natural Resources ruled out restoring the dam after the flood. Before the flood, Lake Shady's future already was in question because silt deposits had filled in much of the lake.

Officials opted for plans that would restore the former river system to how it existed before the dam was built and create a recreational area that would include trails, piers, canoe launches and rapids. The trails would extend from the former lake area under U.S. 52 to new residential areas on the west side of the highway.


Stantec was selected for the project based on its familiarity and involvement with the assessment of the dam in 2011 and its involvement with Oronoco as the city's engineering company. The contract was recommended during a recent meeting involving Oronoco and Olmsted County officials, said county commissioner Judy Ohly, who represents the area.

"We are working on (getting) additional funding" for the overall restoration project, Ohly said.

Stantec's work will take about a year to complete, said Marianne Sobek, the county's contracts manager.

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