At age 94, Millie Gjertson doesn't travel as much as she used to. But she appeared to enjoy a trip Friday, Sept. 15, through Nisswa Lake Park via a golf cart.
Gjertson recently donated $35,000 to kickstart development at the park that's on city-owned land on the west side of the Highway 371 tunnel on Nisswa Lake. Her donation will go toward trail development and other physical amenities, such as picnic tables, benches and barbecue pits.
"Now that I can't be roaming around, I figured I'd use my traveling money, and this sounded like a good place," Gjertson said of the donation to the park, noting her financial adviser planted the idea.
She's lived in Minnesota her whole life, so this is home, said Gjertson, who now lives in Brainerd.
Matthew Hill, Nisswa parks and recreation director, played chauffeur for Gjertson, driving the golf cart from downtown Nisswa, through the tunnel under Highway 371 and through a part of the developing park. The tour included a stop where the Department of Natural Resources is building a boat ramp and dock on property it owns adjacent to the city's land.
In thanking Gjertson for the donation, Hill said: "Whenever you get opportunities like this, we are grateful. It has spurred so much more activity."
Hill said he had spoken to another local family the previous night who planned to offer a donation to the park. He also hoped that local contractors would help with in-kind donations of services to prepare and pave the trails.
Members of the Friends of Nisswa Lake Park, a fundraising group for the park, also participated in the park tour with Gjertson and Hill.