Here's a first glance at Lake Mitchell boat dock, jetty designs

The Parks and Recreation Board received an update on the newly configured design for the jetty and boat dock that's proposed to be constructed on the west side of Lake Mitchell.

Shown here is the design of the jetty and boat dock along the west side of Lake Mitchell that was recently completed. (Photo courtesy of city of Mitchell)

Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell unveiled the design of the proposed boat dock and jetty project on Thursday that’s planned to be built along Lake Mitchell.

The jetty -- a long, narrow strip of earthwork surrounded by riprap or stone that extends from the nearby shore -- would be used to help block the wind and reduce the wake for the boat dock, along with providing an additional fishing spot. The idea of the jetty was part of North Dakota State University’s community lake use plan, which ultimately resulted in the recommendation for the city of Mitchell to build a marina along Lake Mitchell.

The L-shaped jetty would stretch roughly 530 feet from the shoreline into the lake, according to the design plans. The proposed location of the jetty would extend from the shoreline next to the West End boat launch, while the boat docks would be built in between the shoreline and jetty. Riprap would be built up along the sides of the center strip of the jetty, which is planned to be a granular hard surface.

“During the public comment portion, it was decided by the public that this was the best location for the jetty and boat dock design,” Powell said. “It would be a gravel path for a couple of years until it settles, and then would eventually be paved. Our goal is to get the boat dock up and running and use rental fees to fund the project.”

According to Powell, the boat dock would have 62 parking spots. Rental fees for a spot in the boat dock are expected to hover around $100 to $200 per month, Powell said.


Pending the Mitchell City Council’s approval to enter the building stage, Powell said constructing the jetty and boat dock project is estimated to cost $1 million on the high end. However, Powell noted the city is working on the jetty project with the South Dakota National Guard, which could significantly reduce the costs down to about $350,000 to $500,000.

“We’re still working on the cost estimates of the project, but we think if the National Guard is able to help with the construction of it, it could be around $350,000 to $500,000. They are talking with their superiors, so we should have an answer from the National Guard in a couple months,” Powell said.

In August, the Parks and Recreation Department contracted an architectural engineering firm for the completion of the jetty and boat dock design. Shrive-Hattery, an Iowa-based engineering firm, was tabbed by the city to complete the design process at a cost of $35,000.

The funds for the design were also provided by the City Council, as the governing body requested the Parks and Recreation Department to identify an ideal area along the lake for a boat dock to be constructed. With the council’s 7-1 approval during the Aug. 3 meeting which gave the Parks and Recreation Department the green light to begin the design phase, the jetty and boat dock concept has been met with strong support from the city’s top elected officials.

For council member Marty Barington, who was on board with the project from the day it was presented, the jetty would provide the community with another outdoor recreation opportunity along the lake.

“If this part of the project was all that got done and it just stopped from there, I really believe this would be a huge benefit to the community, because it’s able to be used for what could be a future beach area, boat dock area and let alone another area to fish,” Barington said of the project during the Aug. 3 council meeting. “People commonly complain about wanting more areas to fish around the lake, and this is another area we are giving them that would be publicly accessible.”

On a grander scale, Powell said the handful of lake cabins along the shore that was a part of the overall lake marina concept would provide the city with a boost in revenue.

In response to Parks and Recreation Board member Chris Ritterath’s question asking who would be responsible for managing the boat dock and jetty area, Powell said it’s likely the city would take on the role at the early stages. However, Powell said he is seeking for another individual or entity other than the city to manage the boat dock.


“The ultimate goal is to have someone managing the cabins and marina area at some point. At first, it would be us (the city) managing the boat dock, but we are hoping to find someone who will manage it for us,” Powell said. “Without the cabins that would bring significant revenue, I think it will be hard to get someone to manage this for us until then.”

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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