When Dakota County and the City of Lakeville began planning for the reconstruction of the 202nd Street portion of County Road 50, it became immediately clear that this was more than a simple road project. The corridor’s location adjacent to Aronson Park and abutting the upper reach of South Creek checked all the boxes for areas to improve: roadway capacity, park amenities, water quality improvements, and trails. The comprehensive nature of the project gave the opportunity to overlap project goals.

Having past success with stormwater reuse partnerships at King Park, the City of Lakeville reached out to the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO) to look at the potential for stormwater reuse in the redeveloped parts of the park.  Soils in the City of Lakeville are highly variable in and around areas like South Creek, and much like the King Park area, soil in Aronson Park is a clayey and silty mix that does not allow for mass infiltration (letting the water soak into the ground after a rainfall).  Storing the stormwater in a wet pond and using it slowly for irrigation aligned with both the park redevelopment needs and the site conditions.

VRWJPO and City of Lakeville staff redesigned an existing wet basin and estimated that a beneficial amount of stormwater could be reused in the park, keeping the flows down in South Creek. Making use of the stormwater also takes dissolved pollutants like phosphorus from the stormwater out of the surface water system.  Dakota County and the City of Lakeville oversaw completion of the project during the road reconstruction in 2019 and 2020. The project consisted of remaking a wet pond to store additional stormwater, construction of a pumphouse adjacent to the pond and an irrigation water feed line under County Road 50, and installation of flow control and filtration systems.  At the same time, the project contractors installed efficient irrigation under the four redeveloped soccer/multi-use fields and five of the existing softball fields.

The project is being funded by the VRWJPO, the City of Lakeville, and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Watershed-Based Initiative Funding grant program. Grant dollars totaling $70,550 was awarded to the project. The VRWJPO will provide $29,450 in matching funds and the City will cover remaining project costs as well as the irrigation system for a total estimated project cost of $375,000.