(Arnolds Park)– Officials with Imagine Iowa Great Lakes updated the public last (Thurs.) evening on projects that have been completed so far, and those that are coming up next. Terry Lutz, CEO of McClure Engineering, says there will be a lot more work going on this fall…

“There are four or five other projects that will be coming out of the ground this fall and next spring which include redevelop of the entire lake front and then the intersection where the nature center is on Highway 71; the intersection at the Kum ‘n Go in that pocket park; and then the last one is bridge park we call it, just south of the bridge. That park will be done as well. And then phase 2 will start at the end of next season. There will be about 5 to 6 other landscaping projects, and Lake Street here at the park will be done in that piece. And then we’ll also be starting the study on Highway 71.”

Lutz says the cost of the first phase totals about $10 million. He estimates the cost for the next phase at about $12 million. He says they don’t yet have an estimate on the third phase, consisting of Highway 71. And when it comes to the highway, Lutz says they’ll be using input from a number of sources during a six to ten month study of the corridor between Highway 86 at Milford and Highway 9 at Spirit Lake..

“We’d like to get a subcommittee of local residents, city officials, the D.O.T and impacted property owners to work with us as we work through the plannings of what we could possibly do with Highway 71 because we want to deliver a project that the locals want, and so we need to know what the locals want that to look like and then we’ll try to bridge the gap and work with the D.O.T to see if we can come up with a solution that everybody can live with.”

Lutz adds Imagine Iowa Great Lakes will make a presentation to Iowa D.O.T commissioners at their meeting September 9th in Arnolds Park…

“Actually the D.O.T called us and asked us to give them a presentation so we have a 15 minute slot. We’re actually producing a pretty cool video that will be shown at the commission meeting that really shows some of the ideas that we’re thinking about. We’re having great communication with the D.O.T staff and the commission members to this point. So I think that we’re generating the interest that we need to have them help participate in the program.”

Lutz says roundabouts will likely be included in the discussions, but whether or not they make the final plans will depend on the feedback they get…

“We’ve already modeled it with roundabouts so we kind of understand the traffic impact on that. But if the locals don’t want to see roundabouts, we’re not here to push roundabouts on Highway 71. We have some feelings on how it could help the movement of traffic and make it safer, so those are options that we’ll consider through the study.”

Lutz says the goal would be to have the Highway 71 project completed sometime in 2023, but he says it’s also going to be dependent on the D.O.T’s programming.