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Theisen offers land to expand city swimming beach at Deane Point

Deane Point swimming beach could be expanded 150 feet if the city of Park Rapids reaches an agreement to purchase property west of the point between Fish Hook Lake and Fish Hook River. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

A proposal given to the Park Rapids City Council would expand the park at Deane Point between Fish Hook River and Fish Hook Lake.

Shelley Theisen addressed the council Tuesday night and said her family would like to work with the city about selling the property immediately west of the point and Deane Park. The property is 150 feet wide and has a three-bedroom cabin and single-car detached garage on it.

"This property has been in my family for many years," Theisen said. "As an honor to my mother, her request was that when the three daughters were going to depart with the property, we would approach the city about the expansion of the city beach."

Over the last decade or so, Theisen said she had been approached by different city leaders who thought it would be good to expand the beach at Deane Point.

The sisters would like to find a way to make this happen and Theisen said they would be very flexible on terms. An appraisal of the property lists $345,000. Theisen said her family would be willing to take off $45,000 as a donation.

Over the years, the swimming beach at Deane Point has been used less and people have been going to Heartland Park. But Theisen said she has seen people coming back to Deane Point and would like to see that park used more again.

If the city acquired the property, the swimming beach at Deane Point could be expanded by 150 feet.

"I think people want to be at that beach," Theisen said. "I think the city residents want that area."

Sue Cutler, Park Rapids Parks Board chair, said the acquisition of the property is in the current Park and Trails plan.

There is about $40,000 in the Parkland Dedication Fund that could be used, she said.

City Council members thought expanding the park and swimming beach was a good idea but were worried about the cost.

Councilman Dave W. Konshok said he thinks there is a need for a quality swimming beach in Park Rapids. The Heartland Park swimming beach is restrictive, he said.

Mayor Nancy Carroll was also supportive of the proposal but agreed that it would take time and hoped the family would be patient.

"I think we're nuts for even thinking about it right now," said Councilman Pat Mikesh.

Administrator Bill Smith was also concerned about the cost.

He said the ongoing costs were what really worried him. There would be ongoing maintenance costs and it could be a burden for city staff, Smith said.

The City Council directed staff to look into the proposal and come back to the council with funding options.