by Dennis Dalman
When Gordy Meyer told the Sartell City Council many times that volunteerism would be a huge part of developing Pinecone Central Park, he wasn’t kidding.
In just a few days of work (30 hours all told), 120 volunteers sodded the four new youth baseball fields in the park. Altogether, they rolled out 12,000 rolls of sod, enough to fill 12 semitrucks.
The work began Friday and lasted into Monday. The volunteers ranged in age from 8 to people in their 60s. Most of the people heard about the project through emails or from personal relationships of the many people belonging to the Pinecone Central Park Association, whose president, Gordy Meyer, was one of the volunteers.
Some worked a few hours, others worked full-time through the 30-hour project.
“The support was tremendous and exceeded our expectations,” Meyer said. “We want to give a big thank you to the community.”
The quality mineral sod (as opposed to peat sod) came from a sod company in Forest Lake. By next early summer, the sod will be tough enough for baseball games to begin. The other six fields at Pinecone Central Park were seeded this summer and will be ready for play in 2014. Those fields are multi-purpose fields that can be used for soccer, lacrosse, football and other games.
The sodding project is just the latest example of how Pinecone Central Park, which used to be the Sartell Golf Course, is being developed through a public-private partnership. The city bought the park land four years ago. So far, the Pinecone Park Association has raised $1.3 million for Phase I park development projects. In the last three years, Sartell has spent $200,000 on the park development, mainly for an east-west road through it and a parking lot. Recently, the city authorized more funds, $795,000, for more park developments. The city’s contributions are dependent upon the association’s promises to raise enough private money. Those contributions continue to come in. For instance, the Minnesota Twins gave $5,000 to install dugouts at the baseball diamonds. Meyer said the association is hoping to raise another $150,000 for the rest of Phase I completions by April 2013. Association members have been raising money, grants in in-kind donations for the past three years.