“Keep it thriving and moving forward”: Karlstad Park Board continues Moose Park renovation efforts
Dalia Englund always grew up outside and has two children, age one and age four, who love going outside. Asked why the Moose Park Renovation project is important to her, Englund, a Karlstad Park Board member, said she wants to provide her children with more opportunities to get outdoor physical activity. For her, this project is about even more that.
“If we’re not going to do it, who’s going to do it is the thing. There’s not many of us in the town (of Karlstad),” Englund said. “So, to keep it thriving and moving forward, we’ve got to get some equipment and get some new renovations going, so we can get some people in this town. I think it’ll draw some people in and hopefully keep us going.”
The Karlstad Park Board is working on Phase I of the Moose Park Renovation project, starting with the playground equipment. Englund and another Karlstad Park Board member Corey Wikstrom talked about the current conditions at Moose Park, the first phase of this renovation project, the community outreach and fundraising efforts, ways to still assist with the effort, and the importance of this project to them.
One of the newest Karlstad Park Board members, Englund has worked on the this board for about a year, writing grants for the Moose Park project. Currently, she is writing grants for new park equipment, but has written a few grants for general funds to go towards outdoor/community development.
Corey Wikstrom has worked on the board for awhile, adding how his wife Lori has been on the board for 20 plus years. He said they have just tried to help organize things and get people to assist.
“Any new members we’re happy with,” Corey said.
He added how as part of the park board, they did the pavilion project and in recent years have gotten some park equipment put up there. His wife used to help bring music to the pavilion during the summer, but someone new does this now.
As for Moose Park, the playground equipment, Wikstrom said, is outdated— built back in the 1980’s— and has been through some wet years.
“It’s a lot of shifting in the ground out there,” Wikstrom said, “(There’s) a lot of repair work that needs to be done.”
Wikstrom added how at Moose Park the skating rinks are in “pretty good” condition, and the tennis and basketball courts are in “good” condition, as they have been kept up. The park also includes some volleyball courts and horseshoe pits, the latter put in a couple years ago.
The campground, he said, is in “pretty good” shape, needing some work.
“I guess some things shift during the winter, so it needs to be fixed every year,” Wikstrom said. “We’d just like to have had the campground because I think we’d get a few more people in there, if we could expand it a little more.”
He mentioned how eventually they would like to add some shower buildings out there, but added how these are expensive.
“Small communities can only do so much with the funds we have,” Wikstrom said.
Playground equipment is the priority for the group right now, Englund said. Phase I of the Moose Park Renovation project includes the following work:
• New Playground Equipment (including accessible and inclusive pieces for all)
• Sidewalk Bordering and Installation
• Fill/Dirt Work
• Picnic Tables and Benches
They are currently waiting to hear back on some local and state grants. As Englund explained, the grants work on cycles or rotations and have multiple rounds of approval.
“It’d be nice to see, you know, what total money we’re working with and what we can even do out there,” Englund said. “So if we could do the dirt work, and maybe a sidewalk or dirt work and the sledding hill at the same time, it’d be nice to kind of evaluate where our funds are before tackling it.”
Starting in November 2021, the Karlstad Park Board sent out letters asking community people and businesses to help the group reach its $150,000 Phase I goal.
“We’d love to raise as much as we can, so that we can do more out there,” Englund said, “and kind of develop that Moose Park to be, to live up to its potential because it’s such a nice chunk of land out there and there’s lots to be done.”
Currently, the park board’s account is sitting at about $85,000. Wikstrom mentioned how Karlstad Mayor Dale Nelson communicated to him about a potential matching grant of about $45,000 to $50,000 from the city. This would put the group’s fund at about $130,000.
The board did write a $150,000 matching outdoor recreation grant to the Minnesota DNR, in an effort to reach $300,000. Englund wrote this DNR grant for playground equipment and the renovation of facilities that are currently out there. The group hasn’t heard back yet about this grant, but will in June, Englund estimated.
For those interested in donating to the effort, they have a couple options.
• They can mail in a check. They should make it payable to the City of Karlstad and note on the memo line that it’s for the Karlstad Park Board or Moose Park Project. These donations can be mailed to: City of Karlstad Attn. Corey Wikstrom, PO Box 299, Karlstad, MN 56732.
• They can also donate online on the Karlstad Park Board’s GoFundMe page, which is posted on the “Karlstad Park Board” Facebook page.
For questions on donations, feel free to contact park board members, including Corey and Lori Wikstrom, Jordan Wikstrom, Joyceln Englund, Jaron Englund, Daltyn and Dalia Englund, Kim Nyflot, and Brett Spilde.
To see the complete story, read the March 31 issue of the North Star News in print or online.