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Park being considered for Highlands development

Members of the Highlands development near Heart River School presented an idea Friday to the Dickinson Parks and Recreation board for a park in their community...

Members of the Dickinson Parks and Recreation board listen to discussions about a potential park in the Highlands development area of Dickinson. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)
Members of the Dickinson Parks and Recreation board listen to discussions about a potential park in the Highlands development area of Dickinson. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

Members of the Highlands development near Heart River School presented an idea Friday to the Dickinson Parks and Recreation board for a park in their community

Kyla L'Esperance, one of the community members and a teacher for Dickinson Public Schools, said the community was told a couple of years ago that it would get a park in their area. That has not yet happened.

She said she circulated a petition in the neighborhood, which overwhelming supports a park in the development on the south side of Dickinson.

"Since there is no immediate park access for our neighborhood like there are in many other neighborhoods, we feel that we need one as well," L'Esperance said. "Many of the activities in our neighborhood are together and do include walking or trying to get to a park. ... We try to do things together to keep our community safe."

While they would like it to be an inclusive park, L'Esperance said that may not be possible because of the topography of the land. They want a safe place, within walking distance, where their children would be able to play and have fun.

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The group also wants vegetation in the park, such as low-maintenance fruit trees or even a gardening area where children could learn how to grow flowers, strawberries or other foods. The community said it would also be able to help maintain the park with the help of Dickinson State University, which has student groups that participate in community service projects.

L'Esperance said she has received a lot of support from the Dickinson community, including offers of donations of two basketball systems, landscaping and trees and fencing from multiple city businesses.

Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said while everyone supports the idea, they want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

"It just feels like we're maybe ahead of ourselves in the process," he said. "We need to kind of step back and meet with the group a few different times so we understand what they want and they can learn a little bit of the history and the lay of the land and get our feet underneath us."

The group will begin to work with the board and Parks and Recreation employees to move discussions about a potential park forward, Kramer said.

Veterans memorial

The park board on Friday also approved a base bid of about $718,000 for Stark County Veterans Memorial that will be built in Memorial Park. The board has multiple plans it can consider with the building, including ones with and without an attached bathroom.

The base bid does not include architect fees or the price of furniture and other items that will go into the building. Even with those items added in, the project would be considered under budget with the current bid.

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Kramer said veterans have already raised more than $800,000 for the project, with a goal of raising an additional $50,000 over time.

The board plans to discuss the memorial at its next meeting.

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