Lilleskogen Park in Scandia opened a brand-new “Story Time” walking path Oct. 9 with stands placed throughout the park that will hold stories and pictures made by Scandia Elementary Students. Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky, City Councilmember Patti Ray, and Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Terry Gorham all attended the ribbon cutting ceremony with students from Scandia Elementary.
“I was elected to office starting January 1, and one of my assignments was to be liaison with parks and rec committee,” said Ray. “So, in January, before my first parks meeting, I went and walked all the parks in Scandia. I thought Lilleskogen was such a beautiful park, and I was trying to think of a way to get people to use it more.”
Because of Lilleskogen’s proximity to Scandia Elementary, Ray, along with the parks and recreation committee, decided to incorporate the art and writing skills from Scandia Elementary students by displaying their stories in an interactive story walk.
“We would eventually like to get to where we can cycle stories from the students every two weeks,” Ray said. “The next project will be the fifth graders, and they’re going to be writing stories about explorers.” The first set of stories at the opening day was about butterflies. Students got to release their own butterflies at the end of their walk.
Ray reported that the cost of this project was relatively low. Each stand to hold the stories is estimated to be $140 with help from Scandia Public Works, and Sentenced to Serve, a program that puts non violent offenders to work on public projects like the Story Walk.
“Public works did a great job laying the foundation for each of the stands,” said Ray. “And we had Sentenced to Serve put down all the woodchips. They’ve been very helpful in Scandia. We couldn’t do a lot of what we do without them.”
The goal behind this project is community involvement. Lilleskogen Park is central to the Scandia community and any opportunity to encourage others to visit is one that Ray and the city of Scandia want to take.
“It’s just been one of the most fun things I’ve done on city council,” said Ray. “I’m excited. I’m hoping that parents will walk with their children and grandparents will walk with their grandchildren through that beautiful park and enjoy their time together. The best reward will be seeing people using the park.”