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New trees, trail added at Oakwood Park

This year's construction season includes many improvements around Cottage Grove, including new commercial buildings, seal coat projects and lots of park improvements.

This year's construction season includes many improvements around Cottage Grove, including new commercial buildings, seal coat projects and lots of park improvements.

One of the park improvements is creating a new trail through Oakwood Park.

Construction of the trail was expected to begin last week. It is behind schedule, however, because of recent rain. In addition to the trail, many new trees have been planted as well.

The trail will be black-topped and will travel from the park pavilion south towards Hardwood Court. It will also travel east towards the apartment complexes and townhomes behind City Hall.

"We hope to get the trail done in a couple weeks," said Recreation Manager Zac Dockter. "It will be a very user friendly environment compared to what it is now."

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Public works employees have been planting oak trees and spruce to complement the existing trees. They have also been removing Box Elder trees that have been "choking out" existing vegetation.

There will also be a lot of seeding throughout the park to plant prairie-type vegetation to provide a different ambiance.

"The ultimate goal is to showcase the oak trees and the nature that is already in existence," Dockter said. "We also wanted to make it safer to walk through the trails."

Along the trail there will be a pedestrian light at the intersection of all the trails. Also at that intersection, the recreation department plans on putting an interpretive sign to explain the surrounding nature.

"Two to three years ago people didn't feel safe walking through that park by themselves," Dockter said.

With all these improvements to the park, the final goal for the Recreation Department is to connect the Cottage Grove Trailway Corridor, which runs east to west through the city, with Oakwood Park, the Camel's Hump and the Clear Channel property on the west side of Highway 61.

"We are in the very preliminary stages of doing that connection," Dockter said. "That is a huge project and we will have more details about that later."

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