ST. CLOUD -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we take a walk in a park that's been closed for over 40 years.

Just off of University Drive, in St. Cloud, holds a little known property that was once a popular park.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says the park was once a local hot spot.

"It was an active swimming destination, there were diving meets that were held here in the 1920s and 1930s, and was very active from a community perspective," says Kleis.

George Friedrich Park was once home to the Gottfried Hilder's granite-quarry business before it was bought in 1934 by St. Cloud State University.

Many of the same structures still grace the trails.

"You go by some of the stone and granite and you see a staircase that leads into the quarries, some of the old walls, the trails even still exist," says Kleis.

The park was named after Friedrich, who was a biology professor, who is credited with the university purchase of the property.

While the park has been closed to the public since the mid-1970s, Park and Recreation Director Scott Zlotnik says it still sees a friendly face every now and again.

"Even with the signs it's obviously a lot of swimming still goes on, mountain biking, there is probably even some Nordic skiing and fishing takes place," says Zlotnik.

Kleis says the city and St. Cloud State University have been in talks about trying to open the park once again.

"We're in the process to reopen this facility and have a wonderful place similar to Quarry Park and have this on the East side," says Kleis.

He says he hopes to bring back to life the parks history sooner, rather than later.

 

A calm sits over George Friedrich Park. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)