by Dennis Dalman – email@example.com
Come spring, when the shout of “Play ball!” rings in the air at Pinecone Central Park, they won’t be kidding. A total of 18 teams will play in a tournament on brand-new turf when the park hosts a grand opening during Sartell SummerFest weekend, June 8-9.
In the meantime, the Sartell Pinecone Central Park Association, is trying to raise $150,000 by April 1 to complete Phase I in time for the grand opening.
The funding would pay for finishing the baseball fourplex site (concrete and other surface materials, $85,000); baseball scoreboards, $25,000; bleachers, $10,000; picnic tables, $5,000; portable pitching mounds, $5,000; and maintenance equipment such as lawnmowers and field-grooming equipment, $20,000).
Since the Pinecone Central Park Association is a 501(c3) organization, all donations to it are tax-deductible.
Donations can be made in two ways:
1. Electronically, via the Pinecone Central Park website at www.pineconeparksartell.com.
2. Through the mail to: Pinecone Central Park Association; 2705 Winnebago Road; Sartell, MN 56377.
All donors will be recognized on the website unless they prefer to remain anonymous. Those who contributed more than $1,000 will be recognized on a “Donor Wall” at the park. In addition, there are options for securing naming rights at the fields. All naming rights are good for at least 20 years.
So far, the park basics have been completed as of the end of 2012. They include all multipurpose fields, which will be ready for use in fall 2013, a utility garage, a picnic shelter, irrigation and electrical infrastructure and four youth baseball fields (except for the items to be added if the association can raise the $150,000 amount by April 1).
The association’s development team is comprised of Sartell residents Paul Hanson, Gordy Meyer, Greg Neeser and Mitch Rengel. They have worked for several years to raise funds and to help plan, with the assistance of city staff, the lay-out and needs of the new park. The City of Sartell purchased the former Sartell Golf Course property almost five years ago for a cost of $3.2 million with the express purpose of creating a large recreational city park there. The association has agreed to manage the park and to maintain it. Association members hope revenue from tournaments and other fees will bring in enough revenue to manage and maintain the park into the future.
So far, the association has raised $1.2 million.
Meyer, one of the founding members of the association, said the park is now “in its last mile,” with most of its framework completed. Most of the rest of the additions, after Phase I is completed, can be done over a period of time as funds become available.
“It’s really just choices now,” Meyer said. “The fields are done. The fields have been sodded. The dugouts are in. The picnic-shelter area is done. Now it’s just a matter of the surrounding stuff people might want to add. By choices, I mean will people want class-2 crushed rock or concrete here or there in the park?”
In April, those who visit the park will notice a big sign just off the main parking lot. The sign will include progress reports on the park, how to get to its amenities, some advertisements, schedules, events and even live baseball on the bottom part of the 3-feet-by-8-feet digital sign.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.