The Common Council approved applying for a Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Grant that could require it to pay $550,000 in matching funds for the first phase of the proposed Whitewater Park.

Ald. Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3) explained the DNR recommended splitting the project into phases to increase the odds the state agency would split the costs for the park.

The first phase would include a system of trails, bank stabilization and access points for kayaks and canoes in the lower part of the river, as well as constructing a pedestrian bridge from the riverfront redevelopment site to Mandt Park, Hirsch said.

Parks and Recreation director Dan Glynn told the council the phasing would give his office more time to accomplish the engineering work the DNR requested. The council approved spending about $18,000 plus fees for some of that engineering work, a sediment sampling plan and a bathymetric survey to map the riverbed.

The city earmarked $88,000 for the engineering work in 2019, and Glynn explained $50,500 is for a hydraulic/hydrologic study. That leaves roughly $37,000 for this work — which might be closer to the final cost, as each sample will cost between $400 and $1,400, and the DNR has asked for up to 20 samples.

Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@wcinet.com.