Park becomes hub of Bock activity

Jeff Hage / Mille Lacs County Times Bock Mayor Margaret Girard, left, is pictured with Craig Johnson of Wildhaven Antiques at Friendship Park in Bock. Johnson created the sign and donated it to the city. Girard and her husband Roger planted the flower bed.
Jeff Hage / Mille Lacs County Times
Bock Mayor Margaret Girard, left, is pictured with Craig Johnson of Wildhaven Antiques at Friendship Park in Bock. Johnson created the sign and donated it to the city. Girard and her husband Roger planted the flower bed.

There’s a new hub of activity on the south side of Bock.
Known as Friendship Park, it’s the newest place for simple recreational activities, as well as a center for block parties and even community movie nights.
The city of Bock worked for a number of years to acquire and purchase the park land, said Bock Mayor Margaret Girard.
The property, once owned by a long-ago Mille Lacs County judge, had fallen into disrepair and had most recently become a foreclosure home.
Wells Fargo Bank offered the property to Bock for $1, Girard said. The bank foot ed the bill to tear down the house and garage in 2012 because it was unsafe because it was full of asbestos, she said.
In 2013 the city hosted a block party. Attendees were encouraged to bring with them an idea for the naming of the park.
That’s where the name “Friendship Park” was born.
In 2014, the park continued to grow,
It was that year that Girard and Council Member Melinda Ripley applied for a grant that funded the placing of $2,000 in playground equipment on park grounds. It gave the city a great place for children to play, Girard said. The grant also funded the addition of a shed.
In 2015, movie nights continued, as did the block party.
Bock is just a few months into the 2016 park season, but there has already been a lot of civic involvement around the park.
For one, it’s never looked as nice as it does this year, Girard said. That’s because the city invested in a new lawn mower and Council Member Mike Petrick has been consistently keeping up the greenery. A sign was also added to the entrance to the park. Craig Johnson, owner of Wildhaven Antiques, built the sign out of wrought iron. Girard and her husband, Roger, added a flower bed to the sign structure after it was installed by Johnson.
Grills and picnic tables have also been added to the park to strengthen its position as a gather place for families.
Council Member Adam Booth helped secure two picnic tables from a work rehabilitation center in St. Cloud. The Girards donated a picnic table and a bench, she said. There is also a grill on site.
Future plans call for building a new city hall on the park land, Girard said.