Parks board discusses beach bathrooms and increases recreation fees

By Melanie Williamson

The Parks and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, October 16, for a regular meeting. Among the other topics discussed was a proposal to put a bathroom on Main Street Beach and increases in recreation fees.

Main Street Beach bathroom proposal

At the September parks board meeting, parks director Dana Corogin presented a conceptual drawing of a bathroom facility for Main Street Beach. The proposed bathroom would be located east of the boardwalk where the pump house and Shore Thing shed are currently located. The proposed bathroom would incorporate both of those facilities streamlining the look while providing bathroom facilities at the beach.

At the October meeting, Corogin asked the board if they wanted to move forward with the idea. She stated that she felt the proposal was very innovative in incorporating everything needed while hiding the pump house. The idea was presented to the Harbor View Project Committee and they did not believe it would conflict with anything they may be planning to do with the Harbor View property.

The initial cost to get official drawings and project plans would be $17,000. Corogin reported that Tony Valerius met with the sewer department to explore what would need to be done to connect the new bathroom to the existing sewer. They would also need to work with the city engineer on a bid package. Corogin added that the concept presented did not include air conditioning or winterizing with the assumption that the bathroom would be closed during the winter.

Board president Terry Parker asked if she wanted a separate committee for this project stating they didn’t want the Harbor View Committee to be spread too thin. Corogin stated she was just presenting the idea and was open to what the board wanted to do.

In discussion the initial costs, it was determined that it could be paid for with the capital levy. Board member Betsy Wakefield stated that in order to apply for grants to possibly pay for the actual project, they would need to invest in the initial planning and drawings because that information would be needed for the grant applications. Mayor Jim Forthofer stated that where the project will touch the city utilities, the board should present the proposed project to the city council utilities committee, so they know what is happening.

The board member questioned if the project could be done for next summer. Although everyone agreed it could be pushed and done for next year if they started working right away, they also agreed they didn’t want to rush into anything. Parker suggested they think about the proposal and discuss it at the next parks board meeting. In the meantime, they also agreed they would see if the Harbor View Project Committee would be willing to include this project within what they are already working on.

Recreation Department Fees

As part of the finance subcommittee report, board president Terry Parker reported that after analyzing the revenue and expenses for the recreation department and talking to city finance director Amy Hendricks about what they can expect from the general fund, the decision was made that they would need to increase fees in the recreation department in order to get the department in the black.

They looked at the various sports they offer and the number of participants in each sport to determine how much to increase the fees without putting too much burden on families. Parker reported that the sponsorship fees would be increased from $200 to $225. For basketball, the participation fee would increase from $65 to $80 per player. For baseball, the participation fee for the younger players would increase from $85 to $90, and the fee for the older players would increase from $95 to $110. For football, the fee would increase from $75 to $100, and for cheerleading, the fee would increase from $45 to $50 per participant. These increases would create an estimated $5790 in revenue, which would be enough to put the department in the black.

They also discussed trying to end their lease for the baseball fields at the old elementary school. While the current lease is practically free, they are required to pay for the mowing and maintenance of the area, which costs the department $2880 per year. Parker asked recreation department director Chad Kuhn if he felt they should stay with the lease until it is set to end in 2021 or try to terminate it early. Kuhn responded that he would rather see it end early to help keep the fees down. The board agreed to look into ending the lease and voted to approve the increase in fees.

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