Next summer, Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park is going to open its new campground. As part of that process, the Wright County Parks & Recreation Department is going to need equipment for rental and program offerings.
Parks & Rec Director Marc Mattice came before the Wright County Board of Commissioners Tuesday looking for authorization to apply for a grant in the amount of $67,000 through the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission to stock the park with equipment that campers at the site will want to use throughout the year.
“This would be equipment purchases for when we get Bertram online,” Mattice said. “There are no matching funds for this. We would be buying cross country skis, snowshoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, camping gear – things like that. It will help with the rental program starting next summer.”
The campground at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park wasn’t expected to be completed until next fall, but earlier this year, the winning bidder for the construction project informed Mattice that the construction of the campground and installation of camper cabins could be completed this year, allowing for camping in the park next summer.
Commissioner Mike Potter said that the key to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission grant is that there are no matching funds required. Often times, a grant requires anywhere from a 25 percent to 100 percent cost match, which makes coming up with those funds difficult, especially if they weren’t budgeted for during the previous budget cycle.
“I’m glad this is a grant application that doesn’t have a match because that can be kind of a hidden thing,” Potter said. “We apply for these grants that have a match and, if you get it, you’re obligated to it. Those are stressors on the budget. It’s kind of nice to have one once in a while that we don’t have a matching grant attached to it.”
The timing of the grant application was ideal for Parks & Recreation because, while the park planned for the construction of a campground, equipment wasn’t part of the project. The grant will allow for the county to stock the park with rental equipment for all seasons.
“This is a great program,” Mattice said. “The goal is to get people out to parks and to enjoy them as much as possible. If we get the full amount of the grant, we’ll be able to purchase a lot of the equipment we need to make the most of the experience for everyone.”