Archived Story

Hartland heroes create small park

Published 1:53pm Friday, March 11, 2011

HARTLAND — A small park at the main intersection of Hartland and across from Farmers State Bank evolved in 2009 in what had been an empty lot. And what resulted is a new gazebo, flower gardens and a wall with murals of past scenes in Hartland.

The gazebo in Hartland is one of the newest gazebos in Freeborn County. It is near a mural. The two were part of a townwide beautification effort. -- Ed Shannon/Albert Lea Tribune

Years ago this lot was the site of Sibilrud’s Grocery. In time, the grocery store ceased operations and the lot eventually became city property.

The heroes who created this compact park are the City Council, the volunteers who donated their time to this project, and the people who provided the financial donations and grants that made this park possible.

Over the past few years, the city has undergone a beautification process. Corners have been spruced, landscaping has been planted and a gazebo will be built.

A large part of the project is a park, mural and gazebo on the corner of Johnson Street and Broadway Avenue — an intersection in the middle of town at a four-way stop.

Artist Steve DeLaitsch painted the mural on the Olson Excavating building, 615 Broadway Ave. Adjacent to the building is a green space that was forfeited by back taxes. Soon it will be a park with walkways, landscaping and a gazebo.

“It’s kind of a city project,” said city councilwoman Linda Pederson.

The project, she said, was made possible through many local businesses and people. Work will be done by 4-H students, the gazebo was donated by Larry Nelson of L&D Ag Services, Matt Staloch donated the labor for the gazebo construction, Nancy Skophammer of Farmers State Bank donated trees and residents came together for a spaghetti dinner to help raise funds for the muralist.

The city residents wanted to make the area a park “so people could sit and enjoy it, so that’s what we’re doing with it,” Pederson said.

The project started in 2006 when Freeborn County approached Hartland about acquiring the land at Johnson and Broadway.