Duluth parks make progress under city’s grant programThe Piedmont Heights Panthers have a new hockey rink to play on this season thanks to last year’s parks referendum, a $5,000 city Parks Fund grant and thousands of hours of volunteer work.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
The Piedmont Heights Panthers have a new hockey rink to play on this season thanks to last year’s parks referendum, a $5,000 city Parks Fund grant and thousands of hours of volunteer work.
The new rink started with the modest city grant, attracted thousands of dollars’ worth of materials and expertise from local companies, more than 3,000 hours of volunteer service from most of the 56 families in the Piedmont Heights Youth Hockey Association and donations from local citizens.
The old rink continually was under assault from rain and snowmelt running down the hill, and the boards had become nearly impossible to repair and unsafe for players, Piedmont parents said. The new rink includes all new boards and fencing and an engineered drainage system to move water under the park without damaging structures. The improvements also include handicap access to the warming house.
“We’ve probably got $30,000 into it, thanks to the city grant that got us started, but it’s probably worth $100,000,” Todd Kuusisto, a board member of the hockey association, said. “This is a great example of how the collaboration can work between the city, volunteers and a community that wants to help.”
Duluth Mayor Don Ness on Wednesday used the Piedmont Heights rink as the backdrop to announce the last round of 2012 city Parks Fund grants funded by the dedicated property tax overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2011. The latest round of grants announced Wednesday includes:
The grants need City Council approval.
Ness said another $100,000 will be available in 2013 for parks and recreation upgrades across the city and encouraged neighborhood groups to form a plan for improvements and apply.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to see the progress from our initial grants ... when the city and neighborhoods work together,” Ness said Wednesday at the new Piedmont rink. The new parks grant program is “breathing new life into our parks.”