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Pioneer Park leaders review this year, plan for next

The East Otter Tail Historical Society says it's been a good year for Pioneer Village Park, and thinks next year could be even better.

The historical society's lease on the park will be up for renewal at the end of the year; Perham City Council will likely take action on the renewal at its December board meeting.

Park leader Bonnie Lee told councilors last week that there are already plans underway for next summer's Black Powder Days, which will be held in August, and for an expanded Haunted Village to return to the grounds next October.

The local Dreams For Kids organization also plans to return to the grounds next July for the group's annual motorcycle ride - a fundraising event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. According to Lee, some people have also already expressed an interest in renting the park out for weddings and other private events next year.

In addition, there's a group that would like to hold a public Cajun Fest on the grounds in June, during Turtle Fest.

Park leaders have been working hard to spruce up the ballroom, Lee said, particularly the kitchen area. Old and unusable appliances have been thrown out or replaced, and the whole kitchen has been heavily cleaned.

The historical society is also working with the city to try and get its own liquor license, rather than allowing outside groups to bring in their own.

"We want to have more control over that," Lee said.

And while she admitted that the Country Markets held on Wednesdays were unsuccessful - "We had trouble getting people out there" - she said other events, such as the Haunted Village, brought in more income than they had in past years.