Ever since ground was broken at Lonsdale's Trcka Park in 2017, a vision for endless outdoor possibilities began taking formation.
The Department of Natural Resources recently approved a $250,000 Outdoor Recreation Grant for phase two of the Trcka Park project, which pays for the installation of an ice rink, new restrooms and a multi-use pavilion.
“Overall we’re really excited,” said City Planner Ben Baker, who applied for the grant in March. “It’s just a terrific opportunity for Lonsdale, especially since soccer is growing and the hockey association never had full-size rink before.”
Baker said phase one of the Trcka Park project, the implementation of a full-size varsity level soccer field, is making progress. The field was seeded last fall, along with smaller fields for youth soccer programs. Depending on the growth of the grass, the fields could see use next year, if not this fall.
The majority of the work on the DNR-funded projects occurs next year, but Baker said work could potentially start later this summer or early fall, depending on how soon the federal government officially approves the grant.
Once completed, the ice rink will serve summertime recreation purposes in addition to winter hockey. Since the surface will be double paved, the rink can convert for use as a basketball and pickleball court during warmer months. Baker said some communities even put official turf on multi-use rinks like this one, so there’s a possibility the Lonsdale community could enjoy the space for soccer as well.
The pavilion, soon in the works, will also serve multiple purposes year-round.
During the summer months, the pavilion would provide shelter during picnics, family reunions, graduation parties and other gatherings. If funding is available, Baker said the Park and Rec Board also wants to install garage doors to keep out rain and wind. That way, renters don’t need to reschedule their plans in the event of inclement weather.
In winter, the pavilion will become a warming shelter for hockey players and other skaters. Plexiglass would enclose the space so it can be heated and provide easy access to the adjacent ice rink.
With the ice rink, Baker said an ice resurfacer may be a future purchase. The fire hall would store the machine in the summertime. Other projects that go hand-in-hand with the rink and pavilion include a gravel parking lot that serves the two amenities and restrooms with indoor plumbing that will be especially nice if Trcka Park hosts tournaments.
The third phase of the Trcka Park project, for which funding has yet to be determined, includes a playground for the north side of the park. Baker said the Park Board is keeping a lookout for grants to fund this next project.
Whether it’s Tri-City United Schools, New Prague Schools or Community Education, Baker wants as many people using the completed amenities for sports like lacrosse and youth football, which don’t have fields in Lonsdale.
Layne Wilbright, TCU Community Education director, wrote in his letter of support to the DNR that the pavilion will allow children enrolled in the Summer Recreation Program and KidZone childcare to spend more time outdoors.
"From a program provider standpoint, these facility improvements would only enhance our opportunities to provide additional options for the populations we serve," said Wilbright. "The city of Lonsdale has been experiencing a tremendous amount of growth over the years, and with facility improvements such as these, provides the community another option for hosting events."
The Park and Rec Board meets with the City Council 6 p.m. Monday, July 15 to discuss possibilities for the DNR-funded grant more in depth.