Thumbs up to the North Mankato City Council for focusing on park improvements.

The council is reviewing capital improvement projects heading into 2020.

The relatively new Benson Park in upper North Mankato is deservedly getting high attention from the city this year. While the city has done incremental upgrades in the park, area residents have been frustrated that development of the park was delayed. But a new shelter and restrooms could be complete by the end of the year.

Next year the city hopes to build a trail from the park past Dakota Meadows Middle School to Caswell Park.

Bluff Park, which in recent years has seen native grasses and flowers planted, is also in line for more improvements, including a new ADA-accessible overlook structure.

Park development is expensive and in competition with other improvements. But North Mankato’s robust park system is something residents can be proud of and should continue to be the focus of attention.

Idealism in action

Thumbs up to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden who is putting her stances into action.

Thunberg became a celebrity last year when she refused to attend school before Sweden’s general election to highlight the impact of climate change and to put pressure on politicians. Many other young people worldwide have been spurred to do the same.

Although most parents and educators probably don’t think skipping school makes kids more informed, you have to admire Thunberg’s persistence in finding ways to get her message across and to do something with that attention. She’s been busy meeting world leaders, speaking at conferences and going to protests.

Thunberg is now planning to attend U.N. climate summits and meet with people most affected by climate change. She decided not to fly to New York because of the emissions caused by air travel. Instead she will be traveling via sailboat, thanks to the offer of yachtsmen.

This teen’s standards and energy are making a mark on the world and it’s exciting to see the passion of a young activist.

Boosting ag education

Thumbs up to Crystal Valley farmers co-op, which will put up more than $130,00 for an agricultural program at South Central College.

The donation is to go to a planned expansion of the North Mankato tech school’s Agribusiness Experimental Learning Lab and marks the third major collaboration between SCC and local industry this year.

Five businesses and a labor union combined to give $200,000 to expand the welding lab, and the Mankato Clinic Foundation committed $350,000 for the nursing program.

These are significant investments in the workforce of the future, and a sign of foresight on the part of local business.

Editorial board

Rueda’s classy sportswriting

As a former tennis coach at St. Peter High School, I had the extreme pleasure of Jim Rueda interviewing my players and myself.

His question were always thoughtful and intelligent. He would then write great articles for The Free Press and my players would be able to cut them out and keep them as high school memories.

I personally will miss his class. He brought it every time.

Bruce “Arnie” Arlt

North Mankato

Great fair

All around the fair

Cows, pigs, meat, music, race mud

Minnesota nice.

Old bones dance with ghosts

Kids cartwheel with two corn dogs

Weather perfect day.

Thanks, Nicollet County Fair organizers; our area is a family.

Mary Hokanson

St. Peter

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