Making a plan for the parksCloquet wants community input to develop first-ever Master Parks Plan. Future plans for all of Cloquet’s parks and trails, including Pinehurst Park, will be discussed at a city-wide meeting starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the commons area at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
As the sun dropped behind the hills west of Cloquet’s Pinehurst Park Monday, temperatures dropped and so did the pucks as a group of hockey players played a pickup game on the ice. Anyone driving past the park on the busy Highway 33 could easily enjoy a perfect Minnesota moment, the hockey players framed by the swimming pond and softball field behind the boards of the hockey rink.
Those drivers might now realize they’re looking at “the jewel of the park system,” in the words of assistant City Engineer Caleb Peterson. Yet a critical winter element of that park, the outdoor hockey rink, could disappear if the city goes ahead with possible plans to pave the parking lot.
Don’t like that idea? Favor summer parking over winter ice? Peterson wants to hear from you, and your friends.
Future plans for all of Cloquet’s parks and trails, including Pinehurst Park, will be discussed at a city-wide meeting starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the commons area at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, 2101 14th St., Cloquet. Everyone is encouraged to come; food will be provided.
The meeting is the first step in formulating a master parks plan, something the city has never done before. Although Cloquet boasts a number of park features, from sporting fields to cross country trails and more, the system has been built piece by piece over the years.
On Wednesday, consultants from LHB Design Firm, which was hired by the city to help draft a parks plan, will help facilitate the meeting, but they’ve promised that it won’t be a lecture, more of a brain-storming session. Older children who are able to participate in small group discussions about the park system’s strengths and weaknesses are welcome, as are folks of all ages.
LHB’s Lydia Major said the first meeting is really about gathering information, opinions and ideas about the parks system as a whole from the people who use it. What are the strengths and weaknesses? What will make the parks better? What events are needed? How can things be better connected? Have people seen wonderful park systems elsewhere they which could be replicated in Cloquet?
Peterson said he is hopeful that a healthy number of interested residents will turn out for the meeting, despite a history of citizens not participating in activities designed to plan for the future of Cloquet.
“I don’t know why people don’t come, they’re busy I guess,” he said. “I think if it’s not something that will directly impact them tomorrow, they stay home. And part of it might be the format of most meetings. Maybe they think their input won’t be valued or heard.”
He noted, however, that part of the reason the city chose to hire LHB was because the firm has had great success with getting citizens involved and uses some unconventional methods to increase community engagement in the process.
Major said people should plan to be at Wednesday’s meeting for at least two hours. The bulk of that time – after a 20-minute presentation – will be spent in small group activities, she said.
“We’ve had what sounded like crazy ideas come out of these small groups but people have banded together and made it happen,” she said, referring to a kayak trail that came out of a Roseville, Minn., meeting. “There is also a lot of overlap between groups, but that’s good too, because that also tells you what ideas may have a lot of support.”
For more information about the meeting, call the city of
Cloquet at 218-879-6758 or visit the city’s website at www.ci.cloquet.mn.us.