Work continues for splash pad, skate park in Little Falls

Musser grant adds $1,000 toward promotion efforts

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
[email protected]

Community members wearing the bright T-shirts that said, “Splash Pad – Skate Park, city of Little Falls,” celebrated a $1,000 grant from the Musser Foundation, Monday. The grant was specifically given for such items as T-shirts and brochures for the Splash Pad – Skate Park project undertaken by the Little Falls Mayor’s Youth Task Force and the Healthy Communities Collaborative (HCC) of Morrison County.

About 500 brochures were printed for the group to give out to promote the project during fundraising and other events in the city.

Little Falls Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem said the group has been planning activities and fundraising events to raise awareness.

“We’re hoping to get at the different kids’ activities in town, including an event in conjunction with Family Fun Day in Little Falls, set for June 3.”

The Task Force will also be visible during the city’s Dam Festival celebration in June, where volunteers will offer brochures to raise awareness.

“We will let people know we are working on the project and we’re going to make this project happen,” said VanRisseghem.

Most of the funding for the project will come through fundraising, grants and in-kind donations, she said.

“The biggest thing we need is the land — even before we get grants, we need the land,” said the mayor.

Jerry Lochner, co-city administrator and Little Falls Public Works director, told the group Monday, that the city is currently working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) on a possible site.

He has been in discussion with Mn/DOT on the possibility of acquiring land behind the Assembly of God Church on old Highway 371.

Mn/DOT wants to build a maintenance shop in the area, and has been working with the city to have utilities run to the area. Mn/DOT would like to begin construction in the spring.

If the utilities are installed in the area, land nearby will also have utilities available for a possible splash pad skate park location.

VanRisseghem said originally, 10 – 15 people were appointed to the Mayor’s Youth Task Force.

She said the group has grown to about 30 – 50, with volunteers sitting on the sidelines, waiting. “About 200 volunteers are waiting for us to get the project rolling; waiting for us to acquire land so they can get going on fundraising and grant development,” she said.

Businesses have already come on board with the project by committing volunteer work and funding.

“All these people are out there waiting — the land is the big issue,” said VanRisseghem. “We’re going to continue to move forward.”

So far, the group has raised about $3,000. VanRisseghem indicated the Parks Board Committee has also committed some funding with a $5,000 matching grant.

“It’s important that we as a community work hard to make these things happen,” said VanRisseghem.

“I believe the people that are on the Youth Task Force are people who are determined to make this thing happen, whether they have children that can use it or not. So many youths, including youths that have graduated, are still on the force,” she said. “They are committed to making this thing happen.”

For more information or to become involved, call VanRisseghem at (320) 632-6847, or Mary Kenna, HCC program coordinator, at (320) 631-5677.

Monday, the Little Falls Mayor’s Youth Task Force, Healthy Communities Collaborative of Morrison County and community supporters gathered to celebrate a grant and discuss further fundraising ideas for a splash pad and skate park in the city. The group was recently awarded a $1,000 Musser Foundation grant, to be used for promotional items, such as T-shirts and brochures. Pictured, wearing splash pad and skate park T-shirts are front row (from left): Breanna Brachus, Landon Krebs, Dillon Krebs, Alexis Krebs, Elijah VanRisseghem, Claire VanRisseghem, Maryn Meyer, Ellis Meyer, Olivia VanRisseghem and Sierra Kicker. Second row: LeeAnn Doucette, Laura Czech, Eiley Czech, Brittany Barchus, Shelby Krebs, Madelyn VanRisseghem, Sequoia Kicker and D.J. Kicker. Third row: Little Falls Police Officer Rick Heurung, Mary Kenna, Janelle Hansen, Marsha Krebs, Denver Borwege, Darci Borwege, Gabrielle Meyer, Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem, Cole Fjeld, Lilly Fjeld, Lauren Hanfler, Benjamin Kicker, Kara Kicker and Shawn Edin. Back row: Aiden Gosiak, Frank Gosiak (and hidden is Caleb Gosiak), Adam Fjeld, Sabrina Hanfler, Kaylee Hanfler, Brent Hanfler, Andy Hott and Dustin McCoy.