RIB MOUNTAIN - Rib Mountain State Park will get more than $740,000 in upgrades in 2014.
It is part of a project approved by the Wisconsin Building Commission Tuesday.
This project will improve the existing day-use area, including the amphitheater area, and will continue to convert existing campground areas into day-use facilities, according to the Building commission press release.
Steve Krallis, DNR budget analyst, says the park used to focus heavily on camping, but the park is using the upgrades to target more day activities like picnics and hiking.
"The campsites are being converted to day use facilities," Krallis said. "So improved toilet facilities, ultimately there will be some improvements to a shelter area and flush toilets will hopefully be added in the next phase."
This portion of the project will also continue improvements to Park Road at the state park.
The project will also remove the existing Rib Mountain State Park entrance sign and install a new one.
The existing shower building and two outdated and non-accessible vault toilet buildings will be demolished. These structures will be replaced with a new centralized vault toilet facility, according to the press release.
Organizers have not started planning the third phase of the project.
"The parks (department) is going to start working on that in the upcoming biennium (budget)," Krallis said. "I know that they're going to continue to move the park to try to make it a more premiere day use facility."
Project leaders say the second phase of the project will be done by the end of the year.
Park modernization started in 2009 with phase one costing $6,116,900.
CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.
People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.
Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.
"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."
Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.
It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.
"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."
Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.
That leaves some people frustrated
"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."
In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.
"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.
Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.
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