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Reader Opinion: A gem in our community

Hats off to all involved for realizing the difference-maker the Mississippi riverfront can be for our community.

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The Brainerd Riverfront Trailhead Park project is finally coming to fruition. Congrats to everyone mentioned in this article for their hard work, perseverance, and dedication to seeing this game changer getting funded.

What’s not mentioned in the article is that in 2015, the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation Board made a three year, $99,000 grant to help the project move from the initial, broad planning phase, into a specific detailed project that could seek funding. Others who deserve credit and not mentioned in the article are the Blandin Leadership cohort, who identified the riverfront as a valuable asset to be nurtured; former City Planner Mark Ostgarden for his initiative to take that idea to the next step; the 31 volunteers who worked with the U of M Center for Rural Design to create the first master plan; the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Jennifer Bergman for organizing the next advisory committee mentioned in the article and Rod Osterloh’s leadership of that group.

There are many actors who deserve a lot of credit for this project, but without the grant from the BLACF Board, the project would have withered on the vine of the U of M’s conceptual drawings. The Noon Rotary Club is also developing an incredible natural park south of Kiwanis Park. My hats off to all of the above for realizing the difference-maker the Mississippi riverfront can be for our community.

There is much work left to be done, and money to be raised, so we encourage others who want to be associated with this gem in our community to step forward and lend their support.

Karl Samp

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BLACF Executive Director

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