Austin City Council votes to replace siphons, construct water park

Big Plans for the future of Austin

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(ABC 6 News) – This week Austin City Council voted to replace 100 year old water siphons in Cedar River with the hopes of improving the city’s infrastructure; the council also plans to turn downtown Austin into the state’s first water park.

“We’ve gotten really good public support from the overall community saying ‘Hey, this is something we want to explore further,'” said Austin Councilmember Jason Baskin. “As we get this preliminary design back; Funding is one of the big conversations we’re going to have, along with how we do this in a way that still protects our downtown from a flood mitigation standpoint.”

“It’s going to be reconstructing the dam, that really does need to be reconstructed and rehabilitated anyway,” said Austin Mayor Steve King. “If this comes to fruition, it will be the first one, the only one in Minnesota, where we have this designed rip-rap water feature that allows people to boogie-board or kayak.”

In another resolution this week, Austin City Council will finally replace siphons in Cedar River. The project comes after previously rejecting the bid in years past, these pipes have been in operation for over a century.

“Through COVID or some material shortages as well, we rebid [the project] and we have had several more bids, and the lowest bid was $980,000; so by waiting, we saved the taxpayers about $800,000 to do this project,” said King.

“These are assets that have given us tremendous value over the past century, but we know that people want to make sure their toilets are going to flush, and they’re going to have clean water; So we need to be proactive and solving the issues before they become catastrophic failures,” said Baskin.

These projects are quite a ways away; the Cedar River siphons will not be replaced for at least another year.

The timeline for a Minnesota water park? Expect that in around 10 years, but local leadership is optimistic for the future.