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River land deeded to Brainerd for city park

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Brainerd, a city that grew up around the Mississippi River, has few park options to give residents a chance to enjoy that connection.

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Until now.

Tuesday the Brainerd Rotary Club presented the city with about 38 acres of land and 1,400 feet of river frontage.

The Rotary unveiled a plan to donate the riverfront land for a city park in March. Just shy of a year later, Rotarians were before the city to present them with a deed for the land below Pump House Hill, just south of Kiwanis Park in south Brainerd.

Rotarians John Forrest; Rick zumBrunnen, club president; and Theresa Goble, past club president; reported the project to secure the land with Brainerd Rotary Club donations and grant writing was successful and the hope is to provide the city with a riverside park for generations far into the future.

“We’re deeding this land to the city hopefully for public use for ever and ever and ever,” Forrest said.

The Rotary Club had a purchase agreement with Roberts Sand and Gravel to buy the land. A natural scenic area grant was received from the state and a grant came from the Brainerd Lakes General Fund with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Forrest said Mark Ostgarden, city planner, was instrumental in achieving the grant from the state.

“Without his grant writing skill, I’m not so sure we’d be here tonight,” Forrest said.

Brainerd Mayor James Wallin said in his tenure this was one of the most momentous additions and wonderful assets in the city.

“The Mississippi river divides the city and it also combines the city — I can’t say enough for the work of the Rotary club and the others involved in this. I’m so proud to be the mayor to accept it.”

Council President Mary Koep said: “It’s a very happy way to start off the new year. We hope we are off on the right foot and stay there.”

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.

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