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Volleyball court pilot project for parks program

Cora Schultz and Dalton Schultz help rake and fill in parts of a newly-installed sand volleyball court at Rice Park in Park Rapids. Youth, along with adults worked on the project for the Partnerships for Parks program. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Rice Park in Park Rapids is getting a sand volleyball court as the pilot project for the Partnership for Parks program.

Over the weekend, adult and youth volunteers worked to install the volleyball court at the park, which is near Fish Hook River south of Highway 34.

The city of Park Rapids partnered with Human Achievement and Performance Academy and area youth.

Tina Eischens, executive director of HAPA, helped find youth to help with the installation Saturday morning. Cora and Dalton Schultz were two of the kids who helped rake and shovel sand. Their dad, Paul, also helped out, along with Jeremy Hodgden, owner of Northland Retaining Walls and Landscaping.

Teenagers are the primary users of Rice Park, Eischens said. "We want the kids to take ownership and have a place to hang out."

In addition to a volleyball court, youth also would like a hackeysack court, she said. That could be a future project.

The concept of the Partnership for Parks program is to establish partnerships between adult and youth organizations, said Sue Cutler, Park Rapids Parks Board chair.

She explained that the idea for the program came from Councilman Dave W. Konshok, who had seen a similar program in a different community. The Parks Board modeled this program off that program.

City parks require money and manpower for upkeep and care of the grounds. City of Park Rapids employees will continue to provide upkeep for the parks but the Partnership for Parks program will be a way for the community to improve and enhance existing parks.

"The original vision was to have a three-year commitment from organizations," Cutler said. "Each year, they would do some sort of improvement projects and host at least one community event."

Projects can range from clean-up to painting to landscaping.

"It's like adopting a park for three years," she said.

Partnerships for Parks will fulfill three purposes:

-Establish formal partnerships between the city and private organizations and businesses to benefit city parks.

-Improve upkeep of current facilities as well as provide new amenities to city parks for the benefit of the entire community.

-Develop teamwork and volunteer efforts for area youth organizations by pairing them with a local service organization or business to provide community service opportunities.

The Rice Park volleyball court project is nearly complete. A volleyball net will be purchased and kept someplace where people can check it out and bring it back, Cutler said. A sign will be placed at the park to let people know where the net can be checked out.

City parks available for the program include Deane Point Park, Red Bridge Park, Lindquist Park, Depot Park and Rice Park.

Future projects that Cutler would like to see include landscaping at Depot Park or painting the Red Bridge. Volunteer organizations could also consider donating toward the cost of some of the projects.

The city of Park Rapids will provide oversight of the program, including liability, and retains ownership responsibility for the parks and all facilities, including maintenance and capital improvements.

For more information about the Partnership for Parks program or to become a member of the Parks Board, contact Sue Cutler at 218-652-4833.