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The Park Rapids Parks Board is looking for members. Sue Cutler, chair of the Park Rapids Parks Board, presented a 2009 annual report to the city council last week. She said there are three people on the board and the board can have up to seven people. Anyone interested in joining the parks board can contact Cutler at 652-4833. There is no city limit requirement, she said. Over the last year, the parks board worked on several projects. -The board looked into repairing the echo ring at Deane Park.
A Park Rapids city well has been closed due to high nitrate levels in the water. Other wells in the city had nitrate levels below the maximum contamination level and continue to supply the city's water. The high nitrate levels in the closed well appear to be from area farms that use fertilizers, said Ulteig Engineers representative John Olson. He said there have been discussions with producers in the area, including R.D. Offutt Co.
A small pipe cave-in occurred in front of Park Rapids city hall earlier this week, signifying a need for utility and street reconstruction in downtown. City administrator Bill Smith said the small cave-in occurred on Tuesday on Second Street West, a side street off of Main Avenue. "I think it's just an omen, a sign that we need to get busy on Main Avenue," he said. The Park Rapids City Council has scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. June 23 before its regular meeting.
Maj. Gen. John Smith thanked those who have given their lives to serve in the armed forces. Smith, who gave a special address Monday at a Park Rapids Memorial Day service, shared his vision of the men and women who serve in the National Guard. "Respond when called and be ready," he said. Smith has spoken to many groups of soldiers over the years and not one failed to respond, he said. "Military service is unique in one respect," he said.
Services will be held at area communities Monday to observe Memorial Day. In Park Rapids, a Memorial Day service will start at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium. Maj. Gen. John Smith will be the speaker at the service. Smith retired from the Air Force in June 2004 after more than 42 years of military service. He lives part time during the summer in the Park Rapids area. He is a former resident of Silver Lake, a small farming community of Minneapolis. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S.
Emma Jorgenson turned 100 years "young" on Sunday and continues to stay active. The Park Rapids woman continues to quilt at Calvary Lutheran Church twice a month and "ties a mean knot," according to the ladies at the church. The quilting group had a surprise luncheon for Emma on Monday, taking time to remember good times they've had with their friend. "She is an inspiration to us all," her fellow quilters chimed in. The 100-year-old continues to stand the entire time she quilts.
The Park Rapids fireworks show is in jeopardy and needs more funding to continue. "Along with everything else going on in the economy, we've kind of reached a crisis with funding," said Alan Zemek, Rotary Club member and fireworks coordinator. "The last couple years, we kind of went on auto pilot and people took it for granted." The goal is to raise $20,000 to keep the fireworks going, he said.
Two Park Rapids projects are included on Congressman Jim Oberstar's transportation bill High Priority Projects. Park Rapids Main Avenue reconstruction and Park Rapids Safe Routes to School are on Oberstar's list of 49 High Priority Projects. The projects total $112.63 million. As chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Oberstar will be the chief author of the surface transportation bill when it is drafted and introduced in the 111th Congress.
Main Avenue reconstruction could be completed in one phase in 2010 in a new proposal from the Park Rapids City Council. "Doing the whole project in one summer instead of trying to spread it out over two, if we could pull that off, it would make it so much easier on everybody," said councilwoman Sue Tomte. City administrator Bill Smith made the suggestion to move forward with a combined project in 2010 rather than two phases.
A new Park Rapids city Web site launched earlier this week. The Web site, ci.park-rapids.mn.us, is the result of several months of work from Century Middle School eighth grade geography students. Ardis Johnson's eighth grade class met with city staff to get information for the site and in the process learned how city government works.