By Nan Royce
DASSEL, MN Opinions and solutions for the potential re-naming of Dassel’s Breed’s Park were rapidly offered by residents at a public hearing Tuesday evening.
The public hearing was the result of the Dassel American Legion, represented by members Dale Hultgren and Carl Wilkin, requesting a name change for the park at a city council meeting last fall.
Dassel American Legion, Paul F. Dille Post #364 officially requested that Breed’s Park be re-named the Veterans Memorial Park.
The Breed family - deserving perpetuity?
Julie Coleman Lindquist was the first to approach the podium to address the council. She told the council members her family has lived in the Dassel area since 1866.
She was adamantly in favor of keeping the Breed’s Park name.
Lindquist indicated Horrace and Ella Breed moved to the area in the 1860s, when the land which would become Dassel was a “howling wilderness.”
Their first son, Guy, was born in May 1869. A street in the city of Dassel still bears his name. The Breed’s second son, William, also has a street named in his honor.
Lindquist remarked that Breed had run a business on main street, and served on the city council. He was, she said, “an exemplary citizen.” Lindquist offered her “fervent request” that the Breed’s Park name be maintained, and that the veterans memorial could be a part of the park.
Former city council member Sharrie Bjork spoke next, telling the council her family has lived in the Dassel area since her grandparents immigrated from Scotland.
“Breed’s Park has been part of city history for over 100 years,” she said. Bjork indicated keeping the Breed’s Park name would make it easier to give directions to the veterans memorial’s exact location. “We can tell them it’s on Highway 12 in Breed’s Park,” she concluded.
Dassel’s Museum Director Carolyn Holje read a letter from Mary E. Jensen, a Dassel resident for more than 70 years.
In her letter, Jensen spoke of all the activities that have taken place in the park over the past decades, and praised Horrace Breed’s foresight in giving the city the land for the park.
Recognition of veterans
Carl Wilkins, a nine-year resident of Dassel, and a member of the American Legion, told the council it was not the Legion members’ intent to “offend residents of Dassel and the family.” He suggested simply adding the words Veterans Memorial to the current Breed’s Park name. His suggestion was to change the park’s name to Breed’s Veterans Memorial Park.
Former Dassel mayor Jerry Bollman told the council it is important to “maintain the history” of the town.
Laurie Francois, who joked she was rather new in town since she’d only lived in Dassel for 25 years, told the council she liked the combined name for the park.
The council members, minus Mayor Ron Hungerford, who was absent, debated several options.
Eventually, council members Tom Weseloh and Andrew Carlson indicated they were in favor of leaving the park name alone.
Councilors Justin Bemenderfer and James Hallquist were in favor of changing the name to include the Veterans Memorial designation.
Because of the split vote, the park-naming issue was tabled until the council’s regular meeting Monday, March 19.