Parks Board sounds out Kaywood residents

Owners of approximately 90 properties in the subdivision are encouraged to weigh in on the master plan for developing Kaywood Park amenities.

Kaywood Park is a mostly wooded parcel at the center of the block ringed by Konshok Loop and Eastern Avenue. It was dedicated as parkland when the neighborhood was developed. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

The Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board held a special meeting Wednesday evening at Kaywood Park to ask residents of the surrounding subdivision how they feel the park should develop.

Kaywood Park is a 0.95-acre parcel in the center of a residential block surrounded on three sides by Konshok Loop and on the west by Eastern Avenue North.

A clear strip across its north end currently contains a park bench, a handicap-accessible picnic table and several young trees. The remaining three-quarters of the park is forested. Fences run along property lines to the west and north, and a paved alley along the east side of the park provides access.

The parkland was dedicated to the city when the Kaywood Addition was developed. According to City Planner Andrew Mack, the area encompasses approximately 90 properties.

Parks board chairperson Sue Cutler encouraged neighborhood residents to speak up, write or email their ideas about amenities to plan for the park. She later asked Mack to send residents a survey about which ideas they would support.


Cutler said nothing would be done without the neighborhood’s support, and stressed that any improvements would have to be approved by the city council on the parks board’s recommendation.

Mack noted that a set of secondhand playground equipment that resident Elmer Schoon had offered to donate did not meet city parks standards and could not be accepted.

Schoon recalled hearing a mother and her young children complain that they went to Kaywood Park and found nothing to do there. He said providing a play area would benefit not only families with children but also grandchildren of the older residents, adding that the mostly older makeup of the neighborhood could change.

Two residents whose properties adjoin the park said having a playground next door would be their “worst nightmare,” drawing unwanted traffic to what they value as a quiet neighborhood.

One resident also said in his experience, small children use playground equipment for a few minutes and then lose interest. Others objected to building a trail through the park or cutting down trees.

Residents noted the county’s Heartland Park is nearby and has many recreational facilities. Also, the Heartland Trail runs close to the neighborhood.

Schoon argued the park’s forested area is unsafe, with fallen branches presenting trip hazards and dead limbs sticking out from the trees. He advised cleaning up the dead wood.

Other suggestions included hanging birdhouses to make the park a birding destination, looping a trail through the woods and planting a pollinator garden.


Cutler said park staff would probably not have time to plant and maintain a garden.

Some residents voiced concern about making the ground stable for persons with disabilities or parents pushing strollers, who may have difficulty crossing the grass to the handicap-friendly picnic table. Parks staff were asked to consider moving the table closer to the entrance.

Residents said there used to be two picnic tables in the park, but the city took them away and when neighbors asked to bring them back, only one was returned. Maintenance employee Jim Simpson said he had no knowledge of this but that he would check on it.

Another resident asked about placing “foot traffic only” signs at each end of the alley.

A resident estimated that foot traffic through the neighborhood has tripled in the last two or three years, including people walking dogs, in-line skaters and cyclists.

“People want to live up where we live,” explained Hubbard County Attorney Jonathan Frieden, who lives in the area. “They’re getting out of the cities and coming up here. As a result, everything goes up” – including crime.

City council member Liz Stone encouraged attendees to email their thoughts to her or to Mack.


Sue Cutler (standing) chairs a special meeting of the Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board Wednesday evening at Kaywood Park. The purpose of the meeting was to hear neighborhood residents' opinion about how the park should be improved. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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