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Donations needed for Upstream Preserve

Last year, the city of Detroit Lakes received a DNR grant to cover the costs of purchasing Upstream Sucker Creek and to install a marsh walk, bathrooms and picnic area at the site east of town.

Once the bids came in on the project though, the city was about $84,000 short on funding. Not wanting to burden the taxpayers, resident — and driving force behind Sucker Creek Preserve and now Upstream — Sally Hausken agreed to raise the money through donations.

The initial Upstream bid was quite a bit higher, but the city whittled down some of the amenities planned for the preserve — like vault toilets instead of bathrooms, and an open-air picnic area instead of an enclosed shelter — to bridge the gap in funding.

The DNR grant is for $495,000. The bid is for $579,000.

Besides being a great place to hike, learn and relax, Sucker Creek, she said, is a natural resource of its own because it has fresh water springs. There are multiple springs on the 117-acre property.

“What would Sucker Creek be if we didn’t have access to water,” she asked. “People don’t realize how water has influenced everything since the beginning of mankind.”

As with most cities, Detroit Lakes was built around water, and what would Detroit Lakes be without the lakes and the streams?

She said that people tend to forget about the preciousness of water in this area because of the touted 412 lakes in the area, but those lakes would be non-existent without the water everyone depends on but doesn’t think twice about.

“Water is crucial and we need to put that in people’s faces,” she said.

To preserve that water, Hausken is working to raise the $84,000 gap in funding for Upstream Preserve, and she said every penny donated will go to the project.

“There is not 10 cents that goes out (of the project). I even paid the postage,” she said of letters she sent out requesting funding.

When the initial Sucker Creek Preserve was purchased several years ago, Hausken raised the $410,000 needed to purchase the land and install a parking lot and signs. This time, she said, it’s a much smaller task, with a cap at $84,000.     

Hausken said she’d like to see more partnerships formed regarding the preserve with schools, service clubs, and others.

“I think we’re not focused on expanding partnerships in town. We have a wonderful town, but we need to expand our partnerships,” she said.

She said the city could also really benefit from hiring a natural resource technician because of the continuously growing parks in the city.

Sucker Creek is a total of 117 acres, there is a large rain garden in town, there is an area filled with natural grasses across from the high school football field, and soon there will be Detroit Mountain, she listed.

Those who have contributed to Sucker Creek in the past prove that it’s everybody’s land, not just the city’s.

“The city holds the deed, but there are many, many co-owners. You just have to look at the board,” she said of the sign listing donors located in Sucker Creek.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Upstream Sucker Creek Preserve can send it to Upstream Sucker Creek, City of Detroit Lakes, 1025 Roosevelt Avenue, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. Checks should be made out to Upstream Sucker Creek.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.