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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

AWAYSIS progress taking shape

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

'Not a day to spare' 'til '07

The landscape of Storm Lake is changing, a sure sign that Project AWAYSIS is well under way.

Project AWAYSIS Project Manager Mike Wilson told Storm Lake Hy-Noon Kiwanians about progress on the $30-million lakefront development Monday. Himself a Kiwanian, Wilson was subject to some good-natured ribbing when he was introduced as Time Man of the Year, and there was even a magazine cover to prove it.

Wilson, the point person on AWAYSIS, gave Kiwanians a rundown on where the project has been and where it is going.

Some of the most obvious changes are the razing of the Harbor House and pool and relocation of the historic cabin and school from Sunrise Park to near the Buena Vista County Historical Society building. Also relocated were the golf cart buildings and the Pioneer Rock that once rested on the west side of the Harbor House. Sunrise Road has been removed and bids will be opened Feb. 15 on Sunrise Park Road reconstruction.

Leisure Hotels and Resorts has been retained to market and manage the lodge. Wilson said plans and specifications for the aquatic center are nearly complete. Also nearly complete is the $2-million private fundraising campaign.

The Omaha firm of BCDM is doing final plans for the upgrade of the Storm Lake access marina.

Wilson said the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will open bids for marina dredging March 1 with dredging scheduled for between April 20 and Memorial Day. Lodge and waterpark construction is scheduled to begin early April.

Wilson said the search is still on for a site for the senior citizens center. There must also be a rezoning process for the condo development this spring. Also slated is the marina upgrade for late this year. In another improvement along the lake, concrete slabs will be replaced with boulders from the jetty to the golf course sheds.

The schedule sounds ambitious, and it is.

"We really don't have a day to spare between now and the opening in April of 2007," Wilson said.

In a question-and-answer session that followed, Wilson said a sidewalk will be built on the jetty on the north side of the lake. He noted that the most distant contractor hired to date on the project was from 60 miles away.

Good news came earlier when it was learned that the low bid on the water park came in $250,000 under the initial estimate. That amount does not include the building housing the waterpark, Wilson said.

Wilson noted that Storm Lake residents will be beneficiaries of the improved waterpark. "Is it going to be higher than it was before the outdoor pool? Yeah, probably. But you're getting a whole lot more," Wilson said.

"This community is making a huge investment in this project," Wilson said. "We all have a responsibility to make this community as friendly, as open as we possibly can."

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