DLCCC breaks new ground
A little less than three weeks ago, the fundraising campaign for the Backyard addition at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center reached a big milestone, having achieved a total of $1.5 million in pledged donations.
On Monday, another milestone was reached, as the official groundbreaking for The Backyard took place at the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and Holmes Street.
Dignitaries ranging from Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk to U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson were on hand to lift the first shovels of dirt on the site, where construction is tentatively slated for completion by next spring.
The three chairs of the fund-raising drive -- Steve Daggett, Susan Busker and former DL mayor Larry Buboltz, were also among those lifting the golden shovels.
But unlike many groundbreaking ceremonies, there was also an unusually large contingent of pint-sized community residents present -- many of whom brought their own shovels to help the adults get things started.
The reason for this, of course, is that the focal point of the addition known as The Backyard is going to be a three-story indoor Kids' Playland that's designed just for them -- though adults will be welcome to join in the fun too.
"The DLCCC is just a great addition for our community," said Buboltz, who currently serves as chairman of the community center's board of directors.
Opportunities for both physical and cultural activities abound, he added, but with all its advantages, the younger members of the DLCCC haven't had a place that's just for them.
"But with The Backyard, that will change," he said.
Besides the Playland, the new addition will also include a youth gymnasium, party room and KidZone, expanded cardiovascular and free weight areas for adults, a new specialty fitness studio, interactive fitness area and more.
The Playland will also be Wi-Fi ready, and the restrooms are designed to be child and family-friendly.
"This is a big day for us," said Daggett.
With all of the wonderful things Detroit Lakes has, he continued -- two thriving industrial parks, necessitating the addition of a third; WE Fest; quality schools and a strong farming community -- "the one thing that trumps it all is the quality of the people," Daggett said.
He thanked the donors over the past 15 months of fundraising for their "unbelievable" support of the DLCCC.
"You didn't just support us with words, you supported us with dollars," he said, adding, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything."
Congressman Peterson, a longtime supporter of the DLCCC, talked about how his work with agriculture and the Farm Bill is about more than farming.
"A big part of what we do with the Farm Bill is rural development," he said.
In fact, Peterson said, The Backyard project was the recipient of a $33,000 USDA Rural Development Grant that will be used for the installation of playground equipment.
"This grant will help build out the facility so kids will have the equipment they need," he said.
Mayor Brenk said The Backyard is just one of the many exciting development projects that are happening in Detroit Lakes right now.
"It's going to be a super project -- I can't wait to see it built," he said.
Stu Omberg, CEO of the DLCCC, said that Monday's groundbreaking begins "a new chapter in the community center's story -- The Backyard."
He thanked the over 300 individuals, businesses and organizations that made it possible for the DLCCC to raise the necessary $1.5 million to begin construction on The Backyard this fall -- and said he hopes to see everybody back in about nine months, for the ribbon cutting.