The St. Cloud Water Treatment Facility is currently undergoing construction until 2023. Photo credit: Mason Cierina
Written by: Mason Cierina
The St. Cloud Water Treatment Facility continues construction on its three-year project of updating and improving its facility located in Hester Park.
Construction of the project started in early 2020 and is currently ongoing, with planned completion in June 2023.
The improvement project aims to upgrade outdated technology and equipment to meet federal and state standards. These extensive upgrades will ensure that the public continues to have access to clean and safe drinking water in the area.
Lisa Vollbrecht, Public Utilities Director, says that some of the facility improvements include ventilation systems, new boilers and chiller for plant heating and cooling systems, and plumbing systems to support the new laboratory and renovated administration area.
Waterproofing the facility’s roof, replacing process equipment inside the building, and other improvements to the park are also in the works.
“The upgrades will have a positive impact on Hester Park by improving the drainage of the water plant so that the park grass won’t be as soggy,” Vollbrecht said. “This will require the construction crew to pull back some of the dirt in the park, but we will retain the manicured structure of the park when putting it back.”
Vollbrecht says that the construction team is currently renovating the building’s front exterior while also putting in new walls for the chiller room, which will keep up with all cooled areas in the summertime.
During a City of St. Cloud planning and commission meeting earlier this month, the Public Services Director, Tracy Hodel, said that amenities surrounding Hester Park would also receive upgrades and improvements, such as the riverwalk and a one-way road near the park.
“Since the improvements to the riverwalk will likely bring in more visitors to the park, we decided to turn the two-way road leading to the park into a one-way road to make it safer and more accessible to the public,” Hodel said. “However, this does mean that the current riverwalk and Fifth Ave. are currently closed for construction until May 2023.”
The city has also reserved a small portion of the area surrounding the facility for community art exhibits to bring local artists and community members together.
“We were able to set aside funds to dedicate areas outside of the facility for community art,” Hodel said. “We think this is an excellent opportunity for local community members to come together and express their concerns or issues through artistic practices.“