Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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Green Park Rapids has an opportunity for homeowners to save money on energy improvements. The organization has been working to help Park Rapids residents save money by making "green" choices. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Park Rapids is taking applications for the energy audits and major appliance upgrades. The grant funding is directed toward those who typically would make too much money to qualify. Those who wish to apply for the Major Appliance Upgrade Grant Program must first complete the energy audit.
How does domestic violence affect our community? If someone comes to you and tells you, "I am a victim of domestic violence," how would you respond? How can you make a difference? The Park Rapids area community is invited to a community forum on domestic violence to hear answers to these questions. The forum begins at 5 p.m.
The SAFE Parks program is in need of more funding to continue serving kids throughout the summer. The SAFE Parks - Safe and Fun Environment - program offers a variety of activities for children of all ages. The Headwaters Intervention Center hosts the program each summer. Volunteers are on hand every day to provide a safe, chaperoned environment outdoors. The proposed SAFE Parks schedule is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Heartland Park in Park Rapids, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Akeley's Beach Park and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Construction is moving along on schedule in downtown Park Rapids. Work began on underground utilities and boardwalks are in place along side streets. Granite inlays are being installed on corners along Main Avenue.
Although Park Rapids representatives decided now wasn't a good time to consider purchasing a building, they gave some thought to future uses of the Carnegie Library. City staff was directed to find out more information about costs for making the historic downtown Carnegie Library accessible. The city of Park Rapids received a proposal to purchase the Carnegie Library building on Second Street west in downtown Park Rapids.
Less than two weeks remain to cheer for Park Rapids in a national contest. Park Rapids has remained in seventh place for most votes in America for the "We Hear You America" contest sponsored by Reader's Digest but other towns are quickly gaining votes. The hope is to win financial and promotional support. By Tuesday morning, Park Rapids had 391,597 votes. Others aren't far behind. Edinburg, Va. is in eighth place with 375,079 votes, Concord, Mich. with 352,460 and Newberry, Mich.
Construction started this week in downtown Park Rapids with layers of asphalt removed from side streets between 2nd and 4th streets. Removal of sidewalks and underground utilities will start this week, with businesses being switched to temporary water. The tentative completion date for Phase two is June 30. Granite inlays of area lakes will start to be installed this week, as well. Project engineer Jon Olson didn't have much to report this week as construction was just beginning.
Two more requests were made to the city of Park Rapids for reduction in water and sewer billing. Requests have been coming to the city regularly throughout the winter. The reasons for the requests vary, such as someone having a high bill because a leak occurred while someone was out of town. At Tuesday's Park Rapids City Council meeting, one request came from a Park Rapids couple. In a letter to the city, they said they returned to Park Rapids after being out of town for several weeks to find their water softener full of water. Their latest bill was $1,400.
A Century School Community Garden is on schedule for planting to begin this summer. Master Gardeners Dr. Maurice Spangler and Sally Shearer presented the concept to the school board this week, gaining a nod of approval. The mission, Spangler explained, is to improve students' health by encouraging families to grow and eat healthier food. Community Education intends to contribute to the initiative by offering a healthy eating class in conjunction, said director Jill Dickinson.