The grand opening May 30 of Pinecone Central Park was indeed a grand day, a historical day, for Sartell.
As time goes by, more and more people will begin to realize what a great facility it is – a crown jewel for Sartell and the entire region.
Some people, six years ago, thought it was foolish to spend more than $4 million to purchase golf-course land for a new park. Some reacted as if that purchase were akin, on a local level, to “Seward’s Folly,” a term detractors at the time used to describe the purchase of the Alaskan territory in 1867 under then Secretary of State William Seward.
However, just as in the case of Alaska, those with genuine long-range vision realized what a wise purchase that golf-course land was for the future of the city and the region.
Located in central Sartell, the beautiful park, with gorgeous tree lines throughout, is a perfect, sprawling green space now graced with four baseball diamonds, six multi-use playing fields, a concession stand, a soon-to-be dog park and possibly an in-line skating park. More amenities, in time, will be introduced, with the only limitations being imagination and funds.
As several speakers said at the grand opening, Pinecone Central Park is a park for many generations to come. It’s the quintessential example of a wise investment in the future of a proud city. It’s an enhancement for human potential, a park for everyone.
Estimates are as high as 30,000 people coming to Sartell as a result of this park, a welcome influx that will boost the city’s economy. Already, there are locked-in plans for usages other than athletic – such as movie nights and musical programs. Possibilities are endless. Imagine a regional arts-and-crafts fair at that venue. Or science fairs. Or even Shakespeare in the Park.
So many people deserve credit for this landmark development. They include the Sartell City Council then and now, Sartell City Staff and department heads and the founders of the Sartell Pinecone Park Association (especially “The Three Amigos,” aka Paul J. Hanson, Gordy Meyer and Greg Neeser). Their long-time dedication and hard work as a partnership with the city has been – and continues to be – nothing less than astonishing. Those three are true visionaries, and they deserve our undying gratitude.
And, not to forget, the cash and in-kind labor contributions, as well as volunteer sweat equity, are in the final analysis what made this park a workable marvel.
It’s so good to know so many Sartell girls and boys, men and women will have superb, well-maintained fields on which to play. No longer will they have to rely on facilities in other cities, with some exceptions, of course.
Sartell’s Pinecone Central Park is already a statewide envy. The proof is in the happy children and adults who quickly realized what fun it is to visit and to play on its many fields.
It is, in a word, a treasure.