Superior’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is working to make the most of reduced funding for capital improvements in 2020 through partnerships and other funding sources.

Overall, the city would contribute a proposed $300,000 toward projects. They include expanding the disc golf course in the Superior Municipal Forest to 18 holes, relocating the tennis and basketball courts in Central Park, adding restroom facilities at Hammond Park, electrical and trash recycling upgrades at Barker’s Island Festival Park, and surfacing and board repairs for one of the city’s skating rinks.

Of that money, the department set aside $57,000 in case the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is awarded a federal grant. The organization applied for funding through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to cover upgrades to the Pokegama Landing, located on the city's west side. The city would match up to $57,000 if the NERR receives the grant. If the NERR doesn't receive the grant, the project would not happen in 2020.

Deanna Erickson, education coordinator for the NERR, said the grant would cover 70% percent of the project's costs. The city would have to contribute the remaining 30%.

Improvements at the Pokegama Landing would create the first good launch on the Superior side of the St. Louis River, Erickson said..

The organization uses the landing for education and research.

“It’s our primary education site aside from Wisconsin Point,” Erickson said. "Wisconsin Point has been fixed up now and is like a dream for taking kids out. But the (Pokegama) Landing — there’s a lot of dumping there. We find needles there. There’s a lot of trash. It’s really muddy and it’s hard to take a couple hundred kids there.”

Design work for the project was completed last year with the help of a grant from Wisconsin Coastal Management, said Linda Cadotte, parks, recreation and forestry director.

Councilor Keith Kern said the project, combined with the disc golf course, will be great additions to the under-utilized Superior Municipal Forest. Furthermore, he said the partnership is one more way for the city to get more bang for its buck.

The department will also tap into about $500,000 from Community Development Block Grants for upgrades to Bear Creek and Kelly parks and extending Bear Creek Trail toward Wisconsin Point.

Boat launch fees would help repair the fishing platform at Barker’s Island and possibly launch repairs at the Arrowhead Fishing Pier if sufficient funds are available. However, the proposed capital improvements budget did not include an estimated amount for boat launch fees.

Cadotte said if the NERR is successful in getting the NOAA grant this year, her department would oversee about $1 million in projects during 2020.