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Proposed ice skating rink in Depot Park would have northwoods feel

Paul Larson is proposing a community ice skating rink at Depot Park between the tennis courts and J&B Foods. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

A community ice skating rink is being proposed for Depot Park in Park Rapids.

Paul Larson, newly appointed to the Park Rapids Park Board, presented a proposal to the Park Rapids City Council last week.

"I'm looking at a possible leisure rink for kids instead of the hockey rink," he said. "They have a tough time with ice time. The outside ice is used by other players and teams."

The location Larson is looking at for the community ice skating rink is between the tennis courts and J&B Foods in Depot Park.

"It would be safe for the kids, safe for people, and it would be a good showcase for the city for people to see an up north ice rink," Larson said.

He took the idea for an ice rink further and thought, "What about hockey boards, what about Rollerblades?" If pavement was put under the hockey boards before they were placed, there could be inline skating in the summer, he added. Also, Community Education could use the area for activities.

Larson would also like to see a warming house with bathrooms.

"Basically, I want to designate that area as a future ice rink for the community," he said.

The Park Rapids Area School District owns the property. Larson said the insurance is under the same blanket as the tennis courts, which are also owned by the school.

Larson's proposal includes moving the red swing set. The basketball court can be left as is, he said.

In the big scheme, lighting could be added to the area and possibly be shared with the Park Rapids Tennis Association, Larson said.

The only snag in Larson's proposal is cost. He estimates a minimum start up of $25,000.

He's not asking the city for money to get the rink set up at this point. He is, however, asking for support to take the reigns and look at funding options.

Detroit Lakes has an outdoor rink that is very successful, Larson said. He likes some of the ideas that city used, such as flooding the rink around the trees to give it a "woodsy" feel.

There is a possibility of getting volunteers from the hockey association or others to remove snow and maintain the rink.

Larson said he realizes there isn't a lot of extra money right now but said, "If you don't bring it up, it won't go anywhere."

The council gave a general nod in favor of the proposal for a community ice skating rink.

In other business, the council:

n Approved letting the Hubbard County Master Gardeners move forward with a proposal to make improvements to the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries area in Park Rapids.

The gardeners will work on getting grant funding for the project. If there is no grant money the project will go away.

n Proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

n Directed staff to start a committee to look at the city's assessment policy to see if changes should be made. The direction comes in response to a letter from Mike Strodtman and Shawn Anderson regarding assessments.

"Our opinion is that assessing one area of town for an improvement and not another is unfair, inequitable and not just," the letter reads. They asked for the city to be fair in its assessment policy.

n Approved refunding a sewer bill for Donovan Hoffman.

Hoffman said that sometime after he left for Texas for the winter the meter horn on the city water meter began leaking. By the time it was discovered, about 945,000 gallons of water was pumped into the basement and out, but not into the sewer.

The water/sewer bill came to $743.35. Staff recommended reimbursing Donovan for the sewer portion of the bill. The council also paid for a $70 plumbing inspection fee.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561