In an effort to transform their local Gazebo Park from a simple space into a vibrant community hub, the City of Beach has undertaken a $200,000 makeover. This endeavor is spearheaded by a generous donation from a former local resident and bolstered by a grant from North Dakota Parks and Recreation, along with additional support from the community.
The ambitious project commenced in April 2022, following a phone call from Robert “Bob” Zinsli, who offered a $100,000 donation with certain stipulations. These conditions specified that it must be a new construction, not a renovation, and it had to be situated in the town’s downtown area.
The community collectively decided to construct a pavilion within Gazebo Park.
Zinsli, a former resident of the area, wanted to contribute to the Beach community after previously donating to his current community of Richland City Parks .
Growing up near Sentinel Butte, he was one of 15 children raised by their mother and father, who was a county sheriff in Beach.
His motto, “Leave it better than you found it,” was instilled in him from a young age. He recalled how his dad would take him and his brothers fishing and would always clean up the area before leaving.
Zinsli carried this mantra throughout his life, stating that it didn’t matter whether it was a campsite or a community he lived in for 70 years.
Gaugler and the rest of the community were elated to receive the news. This followed a series of community consultations, which included input from nearly a hundred locals through online surveys and public meetings to discuss the renovation plans.
Gaugler emphasized that the improvements aim to transform the park into “more of a community gathering place rather than just an empty space.”
The pavilion will be a 30’x60′ structure, complete with a public restroom and a kitchen area equipped with basic but useful amenities, including a sink and a flat iron grill.
Approaching $200,000, the project encountered a hurdle as the city realized that the initial donation was insufficient.
“The cost of materials was surprising; we thought the donation would cover a majority of it, but building is expensive right now,” explained Gaugler.
However, Beach’s luck didn’t run out entirely, as the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department awarded them a $53,000 grant as part of their Park System Program . Beach used these funds to support the pavilion construction.
Additionally, Bud Ordhal of Ordahl Construction, the general contractor involved in the project from the beginning, also made contributions by offering labor and equipment discounts and mobilizing other contractors to participate.
“The park is heavily used,” noted Ordhal, a 50-year resident of Beach. For him, supporting the project was an easy decision. “It’s for the community, to provide people with a place to enjoy.”
Indeed, the park sees significant use. Since mid-July, Beach has been hosting a weekly farmers market sponsored by an organization, drawing hundreds of attendees.
Beach plans to maintain this momentum with events already scheduled for the next three years. An updated strategic plan outlines various events that will be hosted at Gazebo Park, including art fairs, movie nights, the Spirit of the West annual festival, and more.
For additional information on Gazebo Park and upcoming events in the city of Beach, please visit beachnd.com.