They were planning a party on top of Coronado Heights this spring to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the park.
Now the community of Lindsborg and surrounding Smoky Valley region is trying to come up with a plan to reopen the park after historic rainfall in May caused a land slide and gap in the road that winds to the top.
“There’s a 3-foot drop in the road near the monument and other deep cracks in the road that will have to be fixed,” Tim Stewart, said as he addressed a group of concerned citizens Sunday night during the Smoky Valley Historical Association meeting.
Photos are courtesy of SVHA Facebook Page
Stewart, President of the SVHA Board of Directors led the hour-long discussion that included feedback and questions from the crowd as they viewed recent drone photos of the damage.
Tim Stewart (with microphone) addresses a question from the audience
Stewart said the plan for now is two pronged: Fix the road so visitors can drive to the top of Coronado Heights. Phase two; continue to improve the drainage, increase ground cover plantings and upgrade the road surface in the near future.
Many questions still remain like how long it will take some areas of soaked ground to dry, and how long will water continue to seep out of the hill near the bottom?
Much of the discussion centered on what temporary work could be done – and at what cost to bring the road back to a stable grade so visitors could drive up the hill and enjoy the view and castle that was completed in 1936 through a Works Progress Administration project.
Stewart and the SVHA Board promised to update the public as they continue to reach out to area contractors and geological technical engineers to put together an action plan that could include a timeline and price tag for the project.
Lindsborg Mayor Becky Anderson says the park is an important part of the area and believes the community is up for the challenges ahead. “I feel really good that the SVHA Board is open and talking to educated people, geologists and engineers about what we should do,” she said. “When there’s a problem, or a crisis all of a sudden your eyes are open to new things. And I think maybe this could be a new and improved Coronado Heights.”
Ideas discussed by the audience ran the gamut, from laying rock on the uneven road, starting a GoFundMe page – to building a ski lift to whisk visitors up to the top of the castle.
Coronado Heights is located about 3 1/4 miles northwest of Lindsborg and is the highest of seven sandstone bluffs in the Dakota formation of hills and rises approximately 300-feet above the valley floor.