View All Posts

Aug 05

Our Parks are Getting Even Better!

Posted on August 5, 2021 at 1:29 PM by Timothy O'Connor

The Parks Department has certainly had a busy year!  Last week’s article showcased We All Play’s project at Manthey Park and the Grand Opening of The Miracle Field and Inclusive Playground.  Now it’s time to showcase a couple other projects happening and one coming in 2022.

Hopefully you had the chance to enjoy GEM Days last week and the opportunity to stroll by the Central Park Fountain.  Thanks to a grant from the Owatonna Foundation, the fountain received a long-overdue facelift and a few repairs.  The spray ring is now fully functioning at capacity, the color is vibrant and the bird is once again happily spouting water!  There are still a few items to finish, but soon you will see the upper bowl filling and spilling and some new plaques on the border.   A new drinking fountain is being installed nearby and is ADA accessible and doggie-accessible!  Thank you to the Owatonna Foundation for partnering in this project to bring the fountain back to the beautiful landmark it is!

Exciting news at Lake Kohlmier!  Just last week we announced we are one of Lowe’s #100HOMETOWNS projects.  The playground at Lake Kohlmier, the oldest in our system, will be replaced this fall!  The Lowe’s 100 Hometowns is an initiative to celebrate the company’s centennial.  The company chose 100 projects nationwide of over 2200 applications.  Owatonna was chosen as a recipient and the only one awarded in Minnesota.

We are excited to work together with our local Lowe’s team to upgrade this park.  Along with Lowe’s we have received a grant from Steele County Recreation and a generous memorial donation to provide even more for our citizens and visitors.  In addition to the play area, we are installing three ADA accessible picnic tables, an ADA accessible grill and an ADA accessible drinking fountain (with a doggie drinker of course!).

Pictures included in this article are the actual play pieces and colors of the new playground.   The project is slated for completion by October 31st.  Watch for updates on our Facebook page and website.

Coming in 2022…the department was recently awarded a Minnesota DNR Local Trail Connections grant!   This grant is for Kaplan’s Connection a short trail between Kaplan’s Woods Parkway and the 18th Street Trail.  The route for the trail bypasses the parking lot and enters into Kaplan’s Woods providing users safe passage while experiencing more nature transitioning from trail to trail.  Trail lights are included in the project as well.

It is quite evident that Owatonnans love their parks and trails.  Between the master plan process and what was 2020, we have seen that parks and trails are more popular than ever.  Our Parks Department is no different, we love our parks and trails and do what we can to maintain them to provide amazing experiences in nature for everyone of all ages!

If you or your family would like to leave a lasting impression in our parks, consider a donation or a memorial. 

For more information, contact Mary Jo Knudson, 507-774-7364 or