GUEST COLUMN...Community Parks Planning Effort ContinuesAs we move into summer, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the city parks. Activity is high as neighborhood kids enjoy playgrounds; baseball, soccer, and softball games take place all over the city; and volunteers are busy tending flower beds and planting trees.
By: Caleb Peterson, Cloquet Public Works , Pine Journal
As we move into summer, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the city parks. Activity is high as neighborhood kids enjoy playgrounds; baseball, soccer, and softball games take place all over the city; and volunteers are busy tending flower beds and planting trees.
While most of us are busy mowing the lawn, planting the garden and enjoying spring, a group of dedicated citizens has been working hard to ensure the city parks remain an important asset to this community for years to come.
The volunteer group, known as the Parks Task Force, was appointed by the Cloquet City Council earlier this year to lead in the development of a master plan for Cloquet’s park system. When completed, this plan will be the guiding tool to be used by the city for the development and maintenance of its parks system for the next 20-25 years. With four meetings under their belt, the task force members are currently working to develop a vision for the park system based on input from the community.
The development of a shared vision for the future of our parks is critical as the community discusses funding of maintenance and the possible expansion or enhancements of the park system in the future. With a plan to ask the community to vote for a local option sales tax – which would help fund improvements identified and prioritized by the Task Force – in this fall’s general election, your involvement, input and support are critical. While the Task Force represents a broad range of park users, the more input we receive from the general public, the more likely this plan will result in a shared vision of the community as a whole. As input continues to trickle in regarding the future of our parks, we would like to take a moment to remind everyone how they can take part in this exciting project.
First, be sure to visit the City’s website at www.ci.cloquet.mn.us. There you can find up-to-date information on the project as well as a link to our online survey where citizens can weigh in with their individual ideas for the parks.
Second, be sure to keep an eye on the website and paper for upcoming meeting dates. Monthly Task Force meetings are open to public every fourth Thursday at Fond du Lac Community College beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be series of community meetings held at strategic points in the project to present progress and receive feedback as the planning progresses.
Finally, in an attempt to engage small groups across the community, the city’s project consultant, LHB, has assembled a “meeting in a box.” Members of the Task Force are available to attend your neighborhood event, backyard barbeque, bonfire, Fourth of July celebration or even your graduation party to provide a very informal brief presentation of this planning effort. As part of each meeting, participants are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas which will be brought back to the Task Force for consideration. These presentations should last no more than 10-15 minutes and are a great way for the community to learn more about its parks in a very informal way. If interested in scheduling a “meeting in a box,” please contact City Hall or any member of your task force.
We look forward to meeting you around the fire pit and hope everyone is enjoying our great spring weather!
Caleb Peterson, Cloquet Public Works
Brian Fritsinger, City Administrator