Seeing is believing.
Pinecone Central Park in Sartell was mostly just an abstract dream – that is, until last weekend when many people had a chance to see and to experience what a wonderful park it is.
From June 7-9, the park’s baseball-field complex was the site of the “Pinecone Park Inaugural Baseball Invitational” tournament, with 14 teams of young people competing in pool-and-bracket play.
The teams included young players and their parents, siblings and friends from a wide area: Anoka, North Branch, Moorhead, Alexandria, Becker, Mahtomedi, Monticello, Big Lake, Zimmerman, Andover, St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and, of course, Sartell.
Many of the participants “tailgated” with sandwiches, beverages and other treats served from vehicles in the complex’s spacious parking lot. It was obvious everyone was having a great, family-fun time. Fans sat in the bleachers, some with blankets against the slight chill in the air. They cheered on their teams.
“Way to go, Alex! Way to go!!”
“C’mon, Joe! Hit that ball. Hit it good!”
That quintessential sound of spring – the whack-clank sound of bats connecting with baseballs – filled the air as did the k-thunk sound of mitts catching baseballs.
Even though the baseball complex is not finished, it’s still something to behold. The four fields are spaced around a large concrete court, which includes in its center a large picnic-table shelter that provides plenty of shade and a place for concession sales. A concession stand and bathrooms are in the planning stages.
Each of the four fields has its own scoreboard, which is another big plus. Chain-link fences surround the fields, although last weekend there were several calls of “Heads up!” as a few baseballs, batted high into the air, came down to bounce on the court.
So many visitors to the park that day said how impressed they are with the new facility. Sartell, they said, is fortunate to have such a complex in such a beautiful park. People will be even more impressed when they get a chance this summer to enjoy the park – not only its baseball fields but its other amenities: walking-biking trails, soccer fields, all-purpose fields, a dog park, picnic areas and the adjacent golf course.
Pinecone Central Park is the fruition of a public-private partnership, including incalculable volunteer labor. For example, many young people helped to lay sod in rather miserable weather to get the park ready for last weekend’s debut tournament. All those who raised money, contributed money and did physical labor to make Pinecone Central Park such a gem deserve our gratitude. Members of the Pinecone Central Park Association, Sartell city staff and the Sartell City Council can be very proud of making such a wise investment for all to enjoy.