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'Cheer for Park Rapids' initiative gaining momentum

There's a buzz around Park Rapids with people "cheering" on a daily basis for the city.

Park Rapids is already in seventh place for most votes in America for the "We Hear You America" contest sponsored by Reader's Digest.

The hope is to win financial and promotional support. By Tuesday morning, Park Rapids had 184,875 votes, pushing ahead of Newberry, Mich., with 180,636 votes. The next step is to reach a Minnesota rival, Ely, which has 342,584 votes for sixth place.

The Hubbard County Regional Economic Development has been sending out e-mails via its extensive lists and reminding people on a regular basis to cheer for Park Rapids.

Individuals get 10 votes per day, per e-mail address.

Here's how to vote:

n Go to http://weheary

n Type in Park Rapids, MN

n Enter registration information.

n Cheer 10 times. (The first time a person cheers, a window will pop up suggesting rallying Facebook friends. Close out of the window and continue cheering the remaining nine times that are allowed).

More than one e-mail address can be registered.

Contact Shai Lee at the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission to have someone else cheer with a pre-registered e-mail address. Those who are willing to do extra cheering with pre-registered e-mail addresses are also asked to contact Lee. Her e-mail address is shailee@hubbard

On the Reader's Digest site, people are encouraged to share a story about Park Rapids or indicate what they think the community needs and what projects would be worthy of the funds. People can also register to win an RV.

Several people have said that the town needs a community center.

One entry says, "Our town needs a community center - dearly! Let's model it on the one in Detroit Lakes, and create a place for young kids, teenagers, families and seniors to have fun and stay healthy, especially during the long winter months."

Another person says, "How about a literacy program? A bookmobile? Literacy is the first step in gaining knowledge, and committing to the community's literary health will instill in the children the importance of reading. With the love of reading comes success for future endeavors. Truly an investment in the area's children!"

Yet another person recalled the city beach.

"In the 40s and 50s the beach was the place to go. Besides having a shallow area for little ones, raft, tower and diving board for older kids, there was a room with ping pong tables. Now we need a year round swim facility with walking track and also a room for receptions of all kinds."

If Park Rapids remains in the top 10 it had a chance to receive money through the contest to help with endeavors like these.

The contest ends May 31.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561