MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After more than a decade of hard work and road blocks, the parents of a fallen soldier are about to see his dream come true.

Even before he became a soldier, Ryane Clark was pushing the Department of Natural Resources to build a parking lot near his home as part of his Eagle Scout project.

The lot would help keep bikers and drivers safe from County Road 31 near New London.

Ryane pushed for the project after a friend died while biking along that same road.

“Ryane didn’t forget about him. He never forgot about his classmate, friend, neighbor,” said Ryane’s mother, Tracy Clark.

To Ryane, it seemed like a simple solution. The parking lot would allow people to safely unload their bikes away from busy County Road 31.

He began his push 11 years ago, and was told it would get done in a year or two.

“And then one thing led to another and this got drug out,” said Ryane’s father, Rick Clark.

The DNR told Ryane that funding was the main issue. He graduated, joined the army, but never forgot about his project back home.

“Even when he was overseas he still talked with us about it and said, ‘Where are they with it?'” Rick said. “I think he was almost waiting to get home so he could call them.”

But in 2010, Ryane was killed in Afghanistan. It was up to his parents to see his project through.

Finally, with the help of a local lawmaker, the DNR gave the parking lot the go-ahead this spring.

Today, they are breaking ground next to the newly-named “Ryane Clark Memorial Drive.”

For the Clarks, this was already a day to remember.

“It was four years ago today we laid him to rest, so this is a special day and that’s why we wanted this today,” Tracy said.

Ryane was so passionate about the project that he used to mow a parking lot near the trail and the road — even though the DNR told him not to.

The Clarks are hoping to raise about $25,000 for the project. If you would like to help out, they have a fund set up at United Minnesota Bank in New London.

John Lauritsen

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