A dispute over the computation of a water meter in Park Rapids is nearly resolved, said City Administrator Bill Smith. In October, Rod and Christine Meidinger approached the Park Rapids City Council about their water bill. They disputed the computation of the bill and thought they were being overcharged. At that meeting, Christine Meidinger said "we're not disputing the usage, we're not disputing the meter reading, we're not disputing the rates. We're disputing the computation of the bill in gallons." A consultant has figured out the dispute over the meter readings.
The Park Rapids Main Avenue utility and street reconstruction project is on hold for now. Park Rapids city council members decided to table a resolution ordering the preparation of plans for phase one of the project at its meeting Tuesday night. The council will revisit the topic later this spring, after it finds out more about the state deficit situation and possible Local Government Aid cuts. A public hearing for the project was held Nov.
Officer Justin Frette has joined the Park Rapids Police Department and looks forward to meeting people in the city. Frette worked for three departments part time in southern Minnesota for about a year before moving to Park Rapids. The departments were near the Fairmont area: Trimont, Sherburn-Welcome and Truman. He went to high school in Fairmont and then attended Alexandria Technical College for his law enforcement degree. What brings him to Park Rapids? "When I was younger, we vacationed, my family and I, and I really liked the area around here," he said. "I knew the chief too.
After years of cuts in funding, the Senior Dining and Meals on Wheels programs in Hubbard County are facing a deficit of $36,000 in 2008. Gary Walpole, chair of the Hubbard County Nutrition Council, said he is worried that seniors won't have another way to receive good, nutritious meals if the program is discontinued.
Business is booming at Park Rapids Area Library, especially Internet use. Marian Ridge, Kitchigami Regional Library system director, presented the 2009 operating budget to the Park Rapids City Council. The request is in the city's draft budget at this point. Internet use has increased dramatically, Ridge said. In 2007, 25,000 people used the library to access the Internet.
Park Rapids citizens are worried how they will pay for proposed assessments on phase one of the Main Avenue street and utility reconstruction project. A public hearing was held for phase one of a proposed two-phase Main Avenue street and utility reconstruction project Nov.
Park Rapids retailers are optimistic about this year's holiday shopping season. "In meeting with the Downtown Business Association, the Christmas season looks good," said Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce director Katie Magozzi.
A new tree is standing in downtown Park Rapids waiting to be lit up Friday at the annual community Christmas tree lighting celebration. This year's tree was given by Jane Dennis and came from a spot in her yard close to her house. It was planted by her husband, Gordy, more than 25 years ago, she said. Brothers Steve and Robin Walsh, of Dick Walsh Forest Products, donated their time and equipment to cut down the tree Sunday afternoon, along with Paul Utke.
'Tis the season for coughs and colds but a more severe disease, whooping cough, has been found across Minnesota, including one confirmed case in Park Rapids. A student at Park Rapids Area Century School was confirmed to have whooping cough, or pertussis, last week, said Century school nurse Marianne Gilbertson. Letters were sent home with students last week to notify them of the confirmed case. Whooping cough is spread through bacteria from person to person through the air.
City leaders are looking years into the future toward the possibility of having a community center. They are optimistic Park Rapids will see better economic days. Architects from Ankeny Kell Architects spent two days earlier this week in Park Rapids gathering input from the community about what to include in a proposed community center.