Expansion is underway at Hartley Nature Center

Expansion is underway at Hartley Nature Center

Hartley is expanding its nature center to offer more resources to the community.

There is a new look coming to one of Duluth’s parks as the summer approaches. Hartley is expanding its nature center to offer more resources to the community. The center is undergoing the construction of a fifty-two hundred square foot addition to its nature building. The new addition will add 24 new preschool spots to the Northland as childcare programs are at capacity. With this center, families and the community can expect many things.

“It will have additional bathrooms, classrooms, storage, and gathering spaces for the community at large and our many environmental education programs, says O’Rourke. We have always wanted to be a welcoming hub for families, especially schools and kids, to get outside and make those lasting connections with nature.” Tom O’Rourke is the Executive Director at the Hartley Nature Center.

One of the exciting parts of the project is where some of the funding came from. The multi-year, two-point nine million dollar project will complete many of the priorities outlined in the 2014 Hartley park master plan.

Jessica Peterson, Parks and Recreation Manager at the City of Duluth, shares how Hartley is a special park. “Our foundational funding source which is a grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. So Hartley Park is a legacy designated accent, which means it has special funding source available to improve the park as a whole as well as the building.”

Other upgrades will be included within the project. “Like trail improvements, new park signage, improved pedestrian access from Woodland Avenue, parking and circulation of vehicles, as well as this really exciting building expansion,” says Peterson.

This expansion will look to continue serving the Northland for hopefully years to come. “This building opened in 2003, and it has served us so well over the years, said O’Rourke. We continued to refine our programs to add programs, and we have just seen an increase in demand for this type of active hands-on environmental education. So it was trying to meet the community demand for this type of programming.”

The construction of the expansion is slated to be completed by the end of June 2022.