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Lowe Steve 1

Laborer Steve Lowe clears the curb of an entrance during the construction of the new parking lot for the dog park/walking trail at Nelson Park in Decatur.

DECATUR — If you build it, they will come — and they will need somewhere to park.

Since the Decatur Park District constructed new attractions in Nelson Park last year, a large parking lot seemed the next natural addition. A 170-space lot is under construction on the west side of the park, near the new dog park, walking trails and disc golf course.

Later this summer, construction is set to begin nearby on new restrooms and a pavilion with a capacity between 100 and 150 people.

Only about half of the parking spaces will be accommodated by a traditional concrete surface, said Jim Kiefer, the park district’s director of operations.

The other half of the spaces will be overflow parking for large events, such as the Fourth of July celebration, Kiefer said. That part of the lot will appear to be grass, but will be reinforced by heavy plastic rings underneath.

The parking lot construction, which also included infrastructure work to accommodate lighting and restrooms, cost about $500,000. Otto Baum Co. won the bid for the parking lot.

The bidding process for the restrooms and pavilion has not yet begun, Kiefer said.

These additions are part of an overall plan by the park district and city officials to revamp the Nelson Park lakefront area.

Later this summer, construction is set to begin on the docks behind the Beach House restaurant.

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