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Crosslaker Progress Report: Spring will see grand opening of dog park

The area highlighted in red is the acre of property to be turned into a dog park near the Crosslake Community Center. Submitted image.1 / 2
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The Crosslakers group of volunteers began the new year celebrating completion of one project it has been supporting since its inception while taking on support of another cause that is new to the Crosslake area.

This spring will see the grand opening of a dog park in Crosslake aptly known as the Crosslaker Dog Park. It will be located near the Crosslake Community Center and will be a welcome addition to the community.

The Dog Park Working Group of the Crosslakers had a goal of raising $30,000 for the project, including land costs. Contributions have come from foundations, businesses and individuals. More than $12,500 was raised in cash donations, ranging from less than a dollar from kids to generous checks from adults.

Of that, $8,500 came from personal contributions and $3,000 from area businesses. Foundations donated $1,000 in cash and the Babinski Foundation donated fencing and installation worth $15,000. Add to that the value of the land donated by the city of Crosslake and the total value of the park is more than $36,500.

The park will feature a security camera, signage, a tree and shrub buffer, a water source, benches and more. Watch for details on the grand opening to be held this spring.

Members of the Dog Park Working Group include co-chairs Pam and Peter Graves, Mike O'Connell, Haley Dunlap, Sadie Hoag, Jo Smith, Gary Nordstrom, Marty Hayford, Pamela Vaughn, Suzanne Bernards and Jane Monson. The group was assisted by former Crosslake Parks and Recreation Director Jon Henke and current Director T.J. Graumann.

Crosslake Cares is the newest initiative supported by the Crosslakers. It is a connection point for seniors in the area provided by Crosslake Area Senior Services, Inc., a new corporation that has filed for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.

The corporation's board includes pastors from the Crosslake Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, Crosslake Lutheran Church and Crosslake Evangelical Free Church (the Log Church) along with former Crosslake Mayor Patty Norgaard and Chairman John Bruder, who is a former Crosslake area volunteer certified by Minnesota Council on Aging as a health insurance counselor.

Bruder said approximately 40 percent of Crosslake residents are 65 or older, 62 percent are 55 or older and there is a need to connect them to area senior service providers. There is also an opportunity to develop a pool of Crosslake area volunteers to support seniors with simple daily tasks like transportation, household chores and maintenance - seniors helping seniors, he said.

He believes working with the Crosslakers will be beneficial to the organization and the group has also joined the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce. Crosslake Cares recently conducted its first periodic senior survey to determine what topics seniors in the area want to learn more about. Then it will recruit speakers to address the topics at community-wide educational events it plans to sponsor.

Also on tap is a magazine to be published three times a year, a Crosslake Cares senior calendar of events and organized trips for seniors.

The first event the group is planning is "The Power of Aging" to be held Saturday, April 27, at the Crosslake Log Church. It will feature health and wellness exhibitors, food and speakers including a special guest speaker to be announced soon.