$50K grant for Castle Park made possible by the Super Bowl being played in Minnesota is having a major impact

    While everyone around these parts is bummed that the Minnesota Vikings won’t be playing in Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4, the Super Bowl being played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this year will have a positive impact on Crookston’s Castle Park long after the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots has become a distant memory.

    That’s because, last summer, after a grant application was submitted by Sarah Reese, in partnership with Kirsten Fagerlund, Castle Park proponents, and Crookston Parks & Recreation, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund awarded a $50,000 grant that’s resulting in several enhancements to the park located on the fringes of Sampson’s Addition.

    In all, 52 grants have been awarded in the one year (52 weeks) leading up to the Super Bowl. Crookston received its Castle Park grant in week 22. Grants have, in total, eclipsed the $1 million mark.

    The grant was specifically awarded to Polk County Public Health, where Reese is the director and Fagerlund is lead coordinator. Reese said this week that it was PCPH’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) initiative that made the grant possible.

    “So many people did a wonderful job in making this happen,” Reese said this week. “They very specifically chose us because of Castle Park and its Natural Play Space, and now we have a mud kitchen, a log cabin, and more.”

    Some of the other new amenities include a sensory walkway, spider swing, rope bridge, canoe bridge, and the planting of several unique trees.

    “We put a lot of really positive energy together and got a great product, and that was long before we received this $50,000 to do so much more,” Reese said.

    It’s possible, she added, that Crookston’s Castle Park grant could be highlighted in some way during Super Bowl LII festivities.

    All that’s happened and continues to happen in Castle Park is helping to forge inter-generational relationships, Reese said, as people of all ages explore the woods, river and trails.

    Using a football analogy, she said the threads and stitching on a football signify all the people and groups in Crookston who continue to make Castle Park such a tremendous place, like Bike Crookston, the University of Minnesota Crookston, One Vegetable One Community, Crookston’s Community Garden, the Veterans Memorial Walkway Trail, Polk County Wellness Coalition, and more.

    “It’s very synergistic…all these people with passion who care,” Reese said. “That was noticed by the Super Bowl committee. We didn’t just talk about how they’re all good things to do, we talked about the economic piece…living here, working here. It’s not just a good thing to have all these threads on a football, it’s part of a bigger people, encouraging people to come here and stay here.”