Laporte dedicates new park, covered shelter, playground
While bicyclists pedaled by and kids swung from playground equipment, Laporte’s new crown jewel was dedicated Saturday. The community park was five years in the making; a shelter, parking lot and playground the result of a private/public partnership that flourished at times and seemed to stall at others, city leaders admitted. Saturday it was all in the past as Mayor Joe Sawyer started the dedication. “The citizens of Minnesota can’t thank you enough for what you do,” Rep. Steve Green told the crowd assembled. Green, the representative from District 2B, stood in for Dave Hancock, the 2A representative who couldn’t attend the dedication.
The $200,000 project began in the spring of 2010 when former mayor Craig Mackey wanted a parking lot outside the bike trail on the Paul Bunyan Trailhead. It mushroomed from there. Cash and in-kind contributions trickled in from Laporte residents and residents of surrounding communities. The “Pie Social Group” was also a contributor. Their pies were cut and served at $2 a slice during the festivities at Laporte’s “4th on the 11th” celebration. The city contributed $12,000; the county chipped in $60,000 from timber sales proceeds; the DNR paved the parking lot and individuals and civic groups besides the Pie Social Group made up the difference. Bicyclists praised the open shelter as a port out of the rain or snow.
“You made it happen,” Green congratulated the crowd. The dedication was followed by a flea market, soap box derby, fireworks and other activities, including a dunk tank positioned right outside the new shelter. Bicyclists continued to ride through town, admiring the new shelter. Names of all the donors are on the inside of the shelter.