City dedicates downtown Pioneer Park
By Anna Erickson
The vision for Pioneer Park in downtown Park Rapids is nearing completion.
City officials, Park Board members, Rotary Club members, Chamber Ambassadors and members of the community gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning at the park.
Park Board chairwoman Sue Cutler thanked the city for stepping up to purchase the green lot in downtown in 2002, based on a recommendation from the newly formed Park Board. The lot has seen many improvements since then, including most recently landscaping, a border fence and benches.
“I am so pleased to be here today, finally,” she said. “Parks don’t just happen. It’s taken a lot of people a lot of effort to get here.”
Some of the first Park Board members had an idea to recognize the pioneers of this area and named the park.
“The vision of what the park should look like has changed many times over the years, however they have all wanted a park here,” she said.
Cutler thanked the current and former Park Board and City Council members, along with park maintenance staff and the Chamber of Commerce for support.
She also thanked the contractors who worked on the park.
Bruce Beckley, of Timber Shelters, designed and installed the fence along the alley.
Shannon Hendrickson, of Touch of Eden Landscaping, designed and worked on the landscaping.The Park Rapids Rotary Club was instrumental in the improvements made in the park.
Rotary president Ed Ranson said the Rotary connection in the memorial is for Dawn Sanquist and Karl Dyre, who were Rotary members.
“Both Dawn and Karl were wonderful ambassadors and lived up to the ideals of Rotary,” Ranson said.
“Soon after Dawn’s passing, Karl approached Rotary about raising money to dedicate a park in her memory,” he added. “Unfortunately, he died about five weeks after Dawn.”
The Rotary club continued to raise funds for the park.
Mayor Pat Mikesh said he has traveled to a number of other cities this summer and “without a doubt, Park Rapids has some of the best parks around.”
Cora Boyer’s family dedicated a memorial bench for the park. They were recognized and thanked for their donation at the ceremony.
If anyone else is interested in purchasing a memorial bench for the park, contact City Hall at 732-3163.