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Pioneer Park restrooms near completion

Inspecting the progress of improvements at Pioneer Park after Monday’s Park Rapids Parks Board meeting are, from left, board members Ruth Ann Campton and Barb Thomason, public facilities superintendent Chris Fieldsend, board members Liz Smith, Sue Cutler and Kim Donahue and public works employee Stephanie Pazdernik. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

The Park Rapids Parks Board on Monday discussed putting finishing touches on the improvements in Pioneer Park.

Public facilities superintendent Chris Fieldsend reported construction of the park's restrooms is substantially complete and a temporary occupancy certificate has been issued. Features yet to be installed include signage, automatic doors, a fence, and landscaping in the adjacent area of the park. Soap dispensers and similar equipment are currently on order.

Fieldsend said the restrooms have been in use, but currently have to be manually locked and unlocked.

Plans for landscaping the park include putting down black dirt and hydroseeding grass where the green area has been dug up, reconsidering the number and arrangement of benches, possibly adding artwork and a flagpole.

A path with laser-engraved memorial bricks is also planned running the length of the park. Fieldsend said he envisioned it as a meandering, curving path from Main Street to the restrooms, possibly with branches leading to the benches. Bricks for which the city has received donations have already been engraved, he said, and as further donations come in, blank bricks can be pulled up and engraved.

Fieldsend said the Parks Board's fundraising efforts, together with a grant, have already funded construction of the restroom. Ongoing sales of memorial bricks will go toward the cost of the brick path until that is paid off, and will then go into an account to fund park projects.

In other business, the Parks Board reviewed part of the city's comprehensive park and trail plan, noting the possibility of adding a splash pad at Depot Park.

The board discussed replacing the pavilion at Deane Park, with the consensus of the board favoring an L-shaped design with a higher, gazebo-like roof at the corner, covered with green metal. Fieldsend said he has priced the materials for this design at $40,000 to $50,000 but has not yet priced the labor.

The board also discussed repairing the city's tennis courts. Fieldsend said after last year's attempt to repair the court surface with flexible filler, it still has cracked.

He said he has sent pictures of the court to the U.S. Tennis Association, requesting their engineer's advice about how to repair the cracks.

Complete resurfacing of the tennis courts would need to be on the city's comprehensive improvement plan, he said, while ongoing maintenance of the courts should be a priority in the comprehensive park and trail plan.

The board's next meeting is scheduled at noon Monday, June 11 at Park Rapids City Hall.