Demand has prompted the Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department to expand the campgrounds at Bunker Hills Regional Park this year, according to the Coon Rapids Herald, Coon Rapids, Minn.

The Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its Parks and Recreation Committee, has awarded a contract for campground expansion site work to Forest Lake Contracting Inc. in the amount of $211,508.50.

The engineer’s estimate was $300,000. “We are delighted by the bid,” said Karen Blaska, park planner.

The site work will create a road loop and 20 camping pads as well provide the electricity and water hook-ups to serve each campsite, she said.

When the 20 new campsites are completed, there will be 68 camping spots available in the park.

A second contract, for the campground expansion restroom and shower facilities building, will go to the county board’s Finance and Capital Improvements Committee for a recommendation to be made to the full county board. The low bid for that work is $213,397 and was recommended for approval by the Parks and Recreation Committee. The engineer’s estimate was $225,000.

All county building projects have to go through the Finance and Capital Improvements Committee before being brought before the county board for action, according to John VonDeLinde, county parks and recreation director.

The new restroom and shower facilities building will serve the new campsites, VonDeLinde said.

There are presently two restroom/shower facilities buildings in the park serving the existing campsites, he said.

The expansion will add 20 new sites to the campgrounds and will be located immediately north of the existing campsites on property in the park that previously had a maintenance shop, which has been replaced by construction of a new building elsewhere in the park, as well as undeveloped land and former roads which are now unused, VonDeLinde said.

While the new campsites will be set up for RV vehicle use with 50-amp electrical service hook-up, that won’t preclude other campers from using them, Blaska said.

“There has been a huge demand for campground spaces in the park for some time and we are excited to add these sites,” VonDeLinde said.

Weekends have been booked up very early in the camping season, he said.

The project is expected to be completed by Labor Day and if all goes according to plan, it is hoped to have the new campsites ready for use in September or early October, VonDeLinde said.

According to VonDeLinde, the current campground was redeveloped in 1999 and has continued to grow in popularity.

No county dollars are being spent on the project.

It is being paid for through the state’s new parks and trails legacy program, which is funded from the sales tax increase approved by voters in the constitutional amendment on the November 2008 election ballot.