The Great Northern Veterans Peace Park has quickly taken shape this year alongside reconstruction of West Second Street thanks to a deal struck between the Zinke family and LHC Construction.
About 27,000 tons of uncontaminated material removed during the road project has been dropped at the planned outdoor concert arena off Ramsey Avenue.
Park developer Ryan Zinke allowed LHC to dump the material and use the site as their construction yard at no cost. In return, LHC will use the material to shape the concert bowl and flatten a parking area.
LHC saves on hauling costs, Zinke explained, while the park saves on expensive excavation work that he estimates could have cost up to $500,000.
“It’s a win-win,” Zinke said. “The park is going to turn out phenomenal.”
The land at the Peace Park, which is an old gravel pit, will be graded to accommodate picnic-style seating in a bowl that looks toward Whitefish Lake and Big Mountain. A covered stage will be built at the bottom of the hill.
“The slope is designed so you can lay out a blanket and you won’t spill a glass of wine,” Zinke said.
The rough grading is complete and grass will be planted next spring.
A pond is planned at the bottom of one of the wintertime sledding hills. A windmill on site will generate power to circulate the pond water, while also powering the stage’s sound and light system.
Zinke says Idaho Timber has granted an easement across their property to allow access to the park from Karrow Avenue.
The Zinke family will be responsible for maintenance of the park.
“This has been done without one dime of public costs,” Zinke said. “When people work together we can get a lot more accomplished.”
The first event at the park could be as soon as the Fourth of July.