Reporting Bill Hudson
ZIMMERMAN, Minn. (WCCO) – A group of Sherburne County snowmobile clubs have reason to celebrate Saturday – 18 months after they were devastated by fire.
St. Patrick’s Day 2011 was anything but lucky for the Sherburne County Snowmobile Trails Association (SCSTA). The club’s maintenance shop and classroom were leveled by a still undetermined fire.
Losses reached in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the expensive equipment to groom a large network of public trails.
According to SCSTA Trail Coordinator Larry Gallus, the future looked bleak.
“There was a lot of tears. I was one of them,” Gallus said.
But those tears have turned to smiles for club members.
On Saturday, members roasted a pig and raised their glasses as the doors opened to their new building.
While insurance covered their losses, SCSTA Club president Mike Lanegran says volunteers rebuilt the dream.
“It was a lot of work, lot of late nights here painting,” Lanegran said.
He once again has a classroom where young riders will be taught snowmobile safety.
“Everybody came together and went for donations and did whatever time they could to help, from sheetrock to lights, sweeping floors to hanging tin,” he said.
The hard work has paid off with a fancy new clubhouse and the gear to groom – giving safety to the trails and a boost to local economies.
“We need snow for all the local business people, snowmobiles, gas stations and restaurants to stop and eat. That’s all part of it being in the group to support the community,” Gallus said.
As happy as the club members are with the new building and new equipment, it’s no time to rest. They’ll be busy between now and the end of the year, clearing trails and putting up signs – eager for that first snowfall.
About $80,000 worth of tools and furnishings was not covered by insurance. But club members say they’ll continue to do fundraising to help replace everything that was lost.