A $126,050 grant from the Federal Recreational Trail Program, earmarked for construction of new restrooms for the Akeley Trailhead Park Project, has been recommended by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for approval by the Federal Highway Administration.

Senior project manager Amy Denz of Moore Engineering shared the news at the Akeley City Council special meeting Monday night.

If approved, this grant will be used to help the Akeley Trailhead Park Project move forward, which has a total estimated cost of $467,200. Construction work on phases of the project that have been funded is tentatively planned to begin next summer.

“The trail and parking lot portion of the project is likely not going to occur until later, maybe 2023 in conjunction with the Hwy. 34 paving project,” Denz said.

Moore Engineering will be working with the city on a schedule for construction for the currently funded portions of the project. The project was broken down into separate components for the purpose of grant applications.

“That strategy seems to be paying off,” Denz said.

The council approved task order 2 funding up to $32,000 to pay administrative costs for moving forward with the project.

Project committee chair Chuck Andress said community grants will make up the difference between what is in the Akeley Trailhead Park Project account now and the $32,000 approved.

“We’ll get $5,000 from the Chamber in August,” Andress said. “We’ll start working on donations from the fire department, businesses in town and applying for other grants from places like AARP, Itasca Mantrap, Enbridge and Sanford.”

Denz said she will bill for the project in stages and is willing to work with the city on a payment plan as grants come in. Some grants also require a community match.

“It’s kind of complicated,” Andress said. “Passing this task order means Amy can work on it, starting with getting the county on the same page as the engineer. Then we need to make sure we have one or two people who will oversee the project once it gets started.”

According to a spreadsheet dated May 11, the project includes restrooms at the site near the Heartland Trail for a cost of $169,400, two trail connectors at a cost of $108,000, parking lot work for $101,000, a playground and pavilion for $80,800 and an electric car charging station for $8,000.

Denz said she is available to attend council meetings to provide updates as the project progresses.