DULUTH-The families who use Chester Bowl visit "At Sara's Table" and "The Chester Creek Cafe" on Saturday afternoon to support the park by making donations and spending money at a special barbeque benefit.
Last month's flooding not only destroyed the dam on Chester Creek but it also left literally tons of debris along the length of the park.
"It's been emotionally devastating for a lot of people in the community who have lost a lot of private property in their homes," Curt Leitz, President of the Chester Park Improvement Club said.
"And then the park is such a cherished part of the public space that they've enjoyed – for them to see the dam blown out, the loss of the creek, the loss of hundreds of trees along the creek, mudslides there, the loss of one of the ski jumps – it's been really difficult," Leitz said.
Adding to those problems, lighting destroyed the electrical system at the top of the ski hill just days before the historic downpour.
Community members, however, are fighting to keep the area from failing. Hundreds of neighbors and just people who grew up with the park visited this benefit.
Organizers named it "By the Chester, of the Chester, and for the Chester." Volunteer efforts have already cleared a lot of debris but improvement coordinators say much more must be done.
"Throughout the whole city, of course, things were damaged but this is just very concentrated in the neighborhoods. The park is very well used by the neighbors. I mean, people have come together by the hundreds to help volunteer to get things cleaned up so this is just another effort to keep that going forward," Theresa Bobula, volunteer emcee, said.
"Right now we're trying to make sure we can operate on a temporary, emergency basis through the next ski season," Leitz said.
"We have more than 700 people that were skiing there last year. We want to have as many or more there this year but with the loss of the pond we're trying to figure out what temporary bridges we'll need, how we can stabilize the stream bed, and how we can operate a ski hill with a running stream right there," Leitz said.
Food and the event was prepared and provided by people connected to the Chester Creek Cafe.
Ice Cream was donated by Bridgemann's - a business that recently threw a benefit for Duluth's Fond–Du–Lac neighborhood.