A few dozen volunteers put on their work gloves and broke out the shovels Tuesday afternoon, participating in the Minot Rotary Planting Hope project at Centennial Park.
While currently the site for Jack Hoeven Baseball Complex, the city dog park, and some walking trails, Centennial is still in the process of development. Lining the presently unpaved roadway bisecting the park, the new trees will eventually make for a shaded, boughed-over avenue.
"It will be a great addition to our community," said Ken Kitzman, Minot Area Community Foundation president and a participant in the mass planting. "It takes years, but you've got to start someplace."
He explained that the quality-of-life improving project was a collaboration between nonprofit, public and private sector groups.
With a grant from MACF and the assistance of the Park District's forestry department, Rotarians from the local Sunrise and Noon chapters, and Minot State University Rotaract Club planted more than half of 100 trees planned for the project. They would have planted more, had not the forestry department's auger blown a hose midway through the drilling, limiting the scope of the day's labor. The remaining trees will have their roots interred by city foresters later in the week.
The day-tripping arborists plunked down a variety of deciduous species purchased at-cost from Lowe's Garden Center, with some extra specimens chipped in by the shop for good measure. "They've been great partners, which we really, sincerely appreciate," Kitzman said. "It's great when we partner with other groups. That's how the community wins."
Centennial Park was named to mark the 100th anniversary of Minot Park District, which was to be celebrated in 2011 before being disrupted by that year's devastating flood. The initial plans for the park have altered since then, with a bronze statue originally purchased for installation there relocated elsewhere and the district looking at various options for walking trails and new facilities, including a possible fast-pitch softball complex.
"We're actually working on a plan for them right now," explained Elly Deslauriers, Parks' new marketing and development director. With district-wide flood recovery efforts close to wrapping up, she said "it's exciting for us to be able to look forward toward the future."
"Centennial is sort of wrapped up for the year," she said, with Planting Hope marking the end of its work season. Minot Park District will still be active though, with a Veterans Day flag raising to be held in association with American Legion Post 26. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., at Roosevelt Park's Medal of Honor Memorial.