In 2013, the City of Pine City acquired land from the developer of the Cross Lake Preserve neighborhood and the land was dedicated to remain a park for the residents to enjoy. In October 2017, city council members Gina Pettie and Mary Kay Sloan, along with City staff and the members of the Park & Recreation Committee held a neighborhood meeting with the residents of Cross Lake Preserve, to informally gauge the need and interest for a neighborhood park, to discuss the desired amenities and to understand the financial constraints of the project.
By January 2018, the committee distributed an electronic survey to the residents of the neighborhood to formally gather input, and those results were used to develop a conceptual design, which was presented to the public and accepted by the city council on Feb. 7, 2018.
The city applied to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Outdoor Recreation Grant Program and to the Greater Pine Area Endowment to supplement the funds the city was contributing to the project. Additionally, the city reached out to the Area Learning Center and the local Boy Scout Troop to have their students and scouts construct some of the park’s amenities (picnic shelter, benches, tables) to help reduce costs but also ensure that this project was supported in part, by the entire community. While the DNR funding was not awarded, the Greater Pine Area Endowment is supporting the project financially, and the ALC and an Eagle Scout have agreed to provide in-kind labor to the project. Overall, the scope of the project was reduced when the DNR grant was not awarded, however with the GPAE grant and the in-kind support of the ALC and Eagle Scout, the Cross Lake Preserve Park will offer the following amenities: playground, swings, picnic shelter with tables, benches and basketball court.
The Cross Lake Preserve Park project also sparked a conversation about how many parks the city has, what the names of those parks are and the need for park signage. While Cross Lake Preserve Park will be the city’s 11th park, not many people know where or how to access these parks. So the city has recently contracted with MSA Professional Services to develop a park plan which will assist the Parks and Recreation Committee achieve its mission of: improving the quality of life for residents and guests of Pine City by providing and maintaining a variety of recreation programs, facilities, parks and open spaces that respond to the needs of the community and promote social, economic and environmental prosperity.
The park plan will assist the city in its communication with the public on where parks are, what amenities are available and how to get involved in recreation activities, and it will also help the city strategically respond to park and recreation requests (we hear your requests for a dog park, soccer fields, pickle ball courts, improved skating rinks, lighted ball fields, indoor pool/recreation center, and inclusive space, access to the river and lake, a veteran’s park and sidewalk improvements), so that these endeavors can be successfully achieved through collaboration.
Three well-known parks will also be getting signage this summer: Westside Park and Beach, Robinson Park and Voyageur Park. Two of these structures are being funded in part by two local organizations – New Horizons Thrift Store will be helping with the West Side Park and Beach sign, as it will include two bulletin boards to allow information about the community to be posted; and the Knights of Columbus will be helping with the Voyageur Park sign, as it will include a map of the disc golf course on the back. The Robinson Park sign will include a map of the downtown area on the back to encourage park visitors to walk-about and visit the downtown businesses and amenities.
Citizens who are interested in being part of the Park & Recreation Committee should reach out to the Committee Chair, Council member Gina Pettie at: email@example.com or contact City Hall at 320-629-2575 and ask for Carissa.