Esko's Northridge Park could see major renovations

The Thomson Town Board hopes to use some of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to make upgrades at the park.

File: Northridge Park_Esko.jpg
Northridge Park in Esko. (Jamie Lund/ File / Pine Journal)

A master plan may be in the works for Esko's Northridge Park following a proposal from Thomson Township staff to make park renovations more coordinated.

“Nothing is cohesive, nothing works," Leah Pykkonen, deputy clerk/treasurer, told the town board during a work session held Wednesday, July 21.

Pykkonen said the township has received a lot of feedback from residents who want to see improvements at the park. She suggested that instead of completing individual projects as they arise, officials come up with one major plan for the area. Her ideas included an accessible walking path and new building.

Thomson Town clerk/treasurer Rhonda Peleski seconded Pykkonen's wish for a new building, citing rotten tables and broken doors at the current venue. She thought a master plan could help and also suggested officials allocate some of the American Rescue Plan Act funds set to be received by the township towards the renovations.

RELATED: Esko's Northridge Park stage will get an upgrade The stage will most likely need to be relocated onto a concrete slab, which will be poured within the park.


RELATED: Thomson Township considers dog park If approved by officials, the park would consist of a small and secure area for people to let their dogs run free.

“There’s so many things that could be done over there," Peleski said. “It is such a nice area.”

The town board and staff seemed to agree to the master plan idea, with possible projects ranging from a new playground to a waterpark.

“Planning is the best way to go about it," town engineer Joe Jurewicz said.

An informal board is formed

Road utility and maintenance supervisor Logan Saline suggested that a small committee made up of himself, Jurewicz, Pykkonen, and board member Bill Gerard begin speaking with an architect and look into possibilities for the master plan.

Prior to Wednesday's meeting, officials had also been in the midst of forming a park board after several years of operating without one. Saline suggested they wait to form the board until its function could be clearly defined. The town board members agreed.

Another project that Saline suggested the township hit the brakes on was the repair of the community stage located within Northridge Park.

Stage's future hangs in the air

The issue of the community stage repairs was first brought before the town board last month when Esko resident Dawson Broman pointed out the stage's structural issues. Broman, who originally spearheaded the building of the stage, said the stairs and one of the back support posts seemed to be sinking.


The community stage sits in Northridge Park in Esko on Thursday, June 17, 2021. The stage has been designated for repairs due to the dilapidating state of the support posts and stairs. (Izabel Johnson /

At the time, the board members seemed to have found a solution. They agreed to fund the installation of a concrete slab where the stage could be moved.

Saline, however, was not at the June 17 meeting and said there were some cracks in the board's plan for the stage. He anticipated that pouring a concrete slab would be expensive, and he was concerned about a lack of resources considering the parking lot project has yet to be completed.

In light of the master plan, Saline suggested the board hold off on taking any action other than roping off the stage to prevent public use until repairs can be made. He pointed out that if they move the stage onto a slab now, a master plan could require it to be moved again in the future.

“I think first we invest in a plan," he said.

Board member Tony Compo disagreed, and said they could always move the slab if the master plan requires the stage to be moved.

Esko Fire Chief Kyle Gustafson suggested moving the stage temporarily onto a timber base until a plan can be implemented.


Saline did not seem in favor of either option, adding that as it stands, the stage is a violation of the township's deck policy. He said he would like to see it included in the plan, but does not want the board to make any rash decisions.

While no clear resolution was reached regarding the stage, Compo and Gerard plan to examine the issue further in the near future.

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads