It’s really exciting to see, step by step, Pinecone Central Park coming together.
When spring arrives, there will be a citywide – indeed regional – cause for celebration when teams gather to play ball on the new turf. The grand opening of the park will coincide with Sartell SummerFest 2013, which will guarantee a good time will be had by all.
It’s not many cities lucky enough as Sartell to be able to purchase a vast track of centrally located land for use as a park. New York City was one with its famously wonderful Central Park. Sartell’s Pinecone Central Park will be just as locally famous as more and more people become aware of what a fine facility it is. Besides the many playing fields (baseball, softball, soccer and more), there will be hiking-biking trails, a beautiful picnic area and room for all kinds of activities ranging from Art in the Park to farmers’ markets, from nature field trips to family reunions.
The development of the park was not easy, but thanks to the efforts of the Pinecone Central Park Association, more than $1 million has been raised and volunteer labor and free or reduced-price labor and materials have been a big boost. The park is yet another perfect example of the benefits of a public-private partnership. The city paid for grading the site, for a road, a parking lot and late last year pitched in $700,000 (mainly half-cent sales-tax revenue) for further improvements. The city had agreed several years ago that if the Pinecone Central Park Association raised enough private funds, the city would kick in its share for park projects.
Some people criticized the city council four years ago when it decided to purchase the land for $3.4 million, but it’s becoming more and more obvious what a wise investment it’s been. There is no rush to develop the park to perfection. In time, all of those amenities will come to be. The park is, in fact, a work in progress – a very exciting work in progress. In time, it will become the crown jewel of the area, something all Sartell residents can be proud of. And, not to forget, it’s bound to attract visitors (and revenue) to the city.
Those who deserve our praise and gratitude for Pinecone Central Park include the always supportive Sartell City Council, the hard-working city staff, the forward-looking Sartell residents and last but not least the four men who kick-started the private fund drive and who formed the Pinecone Central Park Association. Those men are Paul Hanson, Gordy Meyer, Greg Neeser and Mitch Rengel. They put an enormous amount of time and effort into fundraising and planning, as well as seamless work in coopertion with the city.
Our hats off to all those who are working so hard for this great park. We look forward to thanking them in person on that wonderful day this spring when Pinecone Central Park hosts its grand opening.