Updated: Aug 28
What started off as a simple project to improve the ice skating offerings at the Hilltop Recreation Area in Pine City has morphed into potentially being the city's next multi-weather, multi-use recreation area.
The park is located off Main Street and Golf Ave., outside the Civic Center, and is home to Pine City's outdoor skating rinks. The project to improve the area is being spearheaded by Pine City Youth Hockey President Marco Schisano in collaboration with groups from around the city.
"It'll really be a fantastic multi-use space," Parks and Recreation Director Stacy O'Rourke told WCMP. "Currently, in the community, we don't have a space that is paved and that large."
Of the course of four phases, the group will build a new building that will replace the old warming house, pour cement in and install a canopy over the main hockey rink, line the concrete for pickleball courts, regrade the northwest corner of the park to improve drainage and create a dry area for soccer & flag-football, install basketball hoops, and add bleachers.
All of the improvements to the area come with a hefty price tag of $1.4 million, which is being funded primarily through donations. According to Schisano and O'Rourke, all labor will be done by volunteers, who have put in over 500 hours as of last week. Schisano said that all donations will go toward hard costs.
Around $956,000 is still needed to complete the project, and The Pine City Department of Parks and Recreation recently set up a place where people can donate online. Checks can also be sent to Pine City Youth Hockey, PO Box 25, Pine City, MN 55063.
Donors will be honored inside the new multi-use building based on their contribution.
Naming rights to rinks, fields, multi-use building: $200,000
Diamond: $20,000 or more
Platinum: $9,000 - $19,999
Gold: $5,000 - $8,999
Silver: $1,000 - $4,999
Bronze: $500 - $999
Green: $25 - $499
For those who don't want to send cash, the Pine City Hilltop Recreation Area Improvement Project Facebook page has a place for people to organize meal trains to feed volunteers.
The improvements will hopefully be completed with a grand opening in 2022, but O'Rourke wants to celebrate the completion of each phase. She hopes to have a welcome event when the new warming house is completed later this fall.
WCMP got a chance to sit down with both O'Rourke and Schisano to discuss the project. You can listen to that conversation on the WCMP On-Demand Podcast or by clicking the link below.