WILLMARRobbins Island Regional Park in Willmar has already had a lot of work done over the past several years including the Destination Playground in 2017 thanks to a vast community fundraising and installation effort, the construction of a four-season shelter funded by a state grant and city funds in 2020 and the completion this year of a new roadway and parking lots, part of the overall sales tax project taking place there.

On Tuesday, ground was ceremonially broken on the second phase of the Robbins Island Invest in Willmar Local Option Sales Tax project. This second phase of the $3 million project will include four new shelters across the park, replacing the old structures that were there prior, along with landscaping and lighting.

"Robbins Island has become a popular destination since the completion of the Destination Playground and we are excited to see what the future holds," said Rachel Skretvedt, chair of the subcommittee that has worked on the Robbins Island project funded by the local option sales tax.

Attending the groundbreaking were members of the Invest in Willmar sales tax steering committee, members of the Willmar City Council, Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin, city staff, members of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, representatives from Bolton & Menk, who designed both phases of the park project, and TerWisscha Construction, the contractor for phase two.

Construction has already begun, with the old shelter near the Foot Lake boat launch having been torn down last week. The hope is to have construction on all aspects of the project completed by fall.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

"We look forward to getting back to normal and can't wait for friends and family to gather at area parks for summer fun," Skretvedt said.

The total project happening this year at Robbins Island is being funded through the voter-approved 0.5 percent increase in the city's sales tax, passed in 2018.

"We especially want to thank the citizens of Willmar for their support of this project," Skretvedt said.

The other five sales tax projects and their budgets are Swansson Field at $2 million, the Willmar Community Center at $2 million, a recreation and event center at $10 million, two new athletic fields at $6 million and stormwater projects at $7 million.