Relax, learn, and play in LP parks
Many enhancements have been made and more are on the horizon for Lester Prairie’s parks.
“We continue to improve the trail system,” park board liaison Bob Messer said.
In addition, the flying disc golf course at Lester Prairie City Park was completed in 2012.
“A lot of people have been using it,” Messer said. “It’s been very successful.”
In the future, some residents are hoping to organize a disc golf league.
Another new proposal is to install an archery range at Sunrise Nature Park, which could happen in summer 2013.
Sunrise Nature Park
Sunrise Nature Park on the east side of Lester Prairie provides a peaceful setting for those who enjoy observing nature while walking nearly two miles of trails.
In 2011, trails were made more accessible during seasons of high moisture. Soil was added for height and stabilization, and trees and brush were cleared to widen the trails.
Sunrise Nature Park is a unique place to find a variety of prairie grasses, such as Indian grass, switch grass, bluestem, Canada wild rye, and wheatgrass.
Visitors are also able to see goldenrod, prairie coreopsis, coneflowers, iris, sunflowers, prairie rose, butterfly weed, and black- and brown-eyed susans.
The 50-acre park has been completely open to visitors since 2007, and its amenities continue to improve each year.
In 2010, a message board was installed at the main parking lot entrance off of McLeod County Road 9. A wooden overlook was also put in, east of the parking lot.
Sunrise Nature Park features both woods and grassland on property purchased with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Some of the plants don’t typically grow in Minnesota, so the grant requires that these plants be preserved.
Additional grant money allowed for more than 10 acres of wildflower and prairie grass seeding on the south side of the park.
Deer, wild turkey, and a variety of songbirds make their home at Sunrise Nature Park, which has been named an official wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
The park is open to the public, but no motorized vehicles are allowed.
For more information, or to help with improvements, contact Bob Messer by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (320) 395-2975.
Lester Prairie City Park
Located on the south side of Second Avenue South near Pine Street South, Lester Prairie City Park is perfect for reunions and parties, with playground equipment, grills, picnic shelters, and restrooms. The large shelter is available for rent by calling city hall, (320) 395-2646.
There is also a heated outdoor pool staffed by certified lifeguards. It has two slides, a diving board, and other equipment. Due to a new federal mandate, a handicap lift will be installed in the spring.
For more outdoor excitement, visitors can try out the park’s tennis court, basketball court, sand volleyball court, and nine-hole flying disc golf course.
A batting tunnel is also available. The park has one baseball field, one lighted softball/football field (Bulldog Field), two Little League fields, and a T-ball field. In 2012, the mercury vapor lights at Bulldog Field were replaced with energy-efficient metal halide lamps. The project included replacing the lamps and ballasts, sandblasting and repainting the poles, and rewiring the poles.
An improvement that was made in 2010 was the installation of new dugouts. The dugouts were painted in 2011. Half of the $4,900 project was paid for through a grant from the Twins Community Fund, a non-profit organization that provides baseball/softball resources for youth.
The city of Lester Prairie, along with a donation from RAM Buildings and Jackels & Ross Concrete, funded the rest.
The dugouts replaced ones that had been put in about 60 years ago.
Central Square Park
Development of Lester Prairie’s downtown park, located at the intersection of Central Avenue and Juniper Street, was substantially complete in 2009.
The project began in 2006, when a committee put together a plan that included installation of a new gazebo, walkways, benches, lighting, and landscaping.
In addition to many hours of labor and donated materials, five benches, a picnic table, and a trash receptacle were also donated.
An official dedication ceremony of the park took place during Prairie Days 2010.
In 2011, an area in the northwest corner of the park became the site of a new veterans memorial. The names of many people who served in the military and have a connection to Lester Prairie, including those who served in the National Guard or Reserve during peacetime, are featured on the polished black granite stones.
A message board advertising community events is planned to be installed by early summer.
Prairie Ridge Park
Prairie Ridge Park, which is located in the Prairie Ridge development on the east side of the city, offers entertaining playground equipment. This summer, the mulch base will be renovated to enhance the park’s usability.