Parks and recreation: Adult softball leagues to begin soon in Brainerd; Community to be tapped for feedback on parks

Virtual parks activities are available to those of all ages.

Memorial Park ball field shown here Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

As summer gets into full swing and more of the state opens up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the lakes area is beginning to look more and more like the tourist destination it always boasts to be in the summer.

A modified adult softball program is about to start in Brainerd, and the parks and recreation department hopes to gather community feedback to enhance parks and programs even further.

The summer and fall adult softball leagues will be combined into one hybrid league running from early July through September in Memorial Park at a reduced cost. Many of the teams that originally signed up for the summer leagues are still on board to participate, Parks and Recreation Coordinator Katie Kaufman told board members during a meeting Tuesday, June 23. Some teams dropped out, she said, because leagues will only play one game at a time instead of a doubleheader. Parks Director Tony Sailer said after the meeting the reasoning behind getting rid of the doubleheaders is to prohibit people from mingling too much between games in an effort to follow social distancing guidelines. Each player will have to sign a waiver stating they will follow specific health guidelines.

Virtual parks activities

Those who are itching for more activities to keep them busy this summer, in light of many events statewide being canceled, can check out the parks department’s virtual recreation offerings at .

Activities include a coloring contest, fitness challenge, photography contest, “catch of the day” contest, nature club, scavenger hunt, virtual park tours and playground workout challenges. The website also offered nature-themed book recommendations and meditation suggestions.


Community survey

While life inches back toward normal, the parks board is working to create a survey for community feedback on the city’s park facilities and programs. Kaufman ran through a draft list of questions Tuesday she compiled from board member suggestions. She took further suggestions during the meeting as well.
Survey topics mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting include:

  • What the parks department is doing well and what can be improved upon.

  • Additional park activities community members would like to see offered.

  • Communication methods (website, social media, ect.).

  • Satisfaction with the value of youth programming.

  • Importance of the department’s scholarship program.

  • Willingness to financially contribute to upgraded facilities or programs.

  • Importance of programs versus facilities — which ranks higher?

Kaufman said she will turn these topics into a survey for future board member review before going out to the community.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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