Jones bids Park Rapids City Council farewell

The longtime spokesperson for the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association is turning the role over to Sue Tomte and moving out of the area.

Cynthia Jones, a longtime spokesperson for the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association, addressed the city council for the last time on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

The Park Rapids City Council received a farewell report Tuesday from Cynthia Jones with the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association (DBA).

Jones thanked the city for allowing the DBA to use the second block of Main Avenue South for this summer’s 2nd Street Stage events. She singled out Bob Wills for blocking off the street and the city police officers who patrolled the concerts and gave badges to children.

“Overall, in terms of a fraught-filled summer, it was a good season,” she said.

“I also told Sally Wizik Wills, who is the chair of the Downtown Business Association, that I would share with you that this is my last meeting,” said Jones. “I am passing everything off to Sue Tomte.”

She explained that she and husband Ellis Jones are moving to Colorado to spend more time with their grandchildren, and are selling their house in Park Rapids.


The couple previously owned RiverBend Home Expressions in downtown Park Rapids for more than 17 years.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Authorized staff to execute an Airport Improvement Program grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The agreement provides up to $195,070 in state funding for the municipal airport’s terminal area taxilanes project.

  • Authorized staff to accept a federal Assistance to Firefighters grant, providing $167,667 to replace expired self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). According to the resolution, the city must cover a non-federal share of $8,383 from the fire department’s capital reserves and must purchase the SCBAs, then apply for reimbursement.

  • Set a hearing for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 regarding the Fair Avenue street and utility improvement project.

  • Paid J&J Excavating, Inc. $80,862 for work on the Career Path street and utility improvements.

  • Paid Ferguson Waterworks $1,500 for annual renewal of the Neptune software support contract.

  • Paid the League of Minnesota Cities $4,741 for annual membership dues.

  • Paid MVI $2,472 for emergency repair to irrigators.

  • Paid KLM $3,400 for a warranty evaluation of the rehab of the Huntsinger Ave. water tower.

  • Paid Park Rapids Ford $1,190 for needed repair of the muffler and brakes on the police department’s K9 unit vehicle.

  • Paid Eagle Vision Machining $1,256 to convert a public works truck from a cable-operated snow plow wing mount to a hydraulic mount.

  • Paid Apex Engineering $41,328 for material testing and construction supervision on the Career Path project and basic services on the Fair Avenue project.

  • Paid Northern Pines Plumbing, Heating and Electric $4,320 for a second bore hole for electrical hookup at the new public works storage building. According to the staff request for council action, it was originally planned to run the building’s water and electrical lines through a single bore, but issues arose making this impractical.

  • Paid KL Concrete $1,700 for emergency sidewalk repairs in front of Rapids Spirits, Northwoods Bank and L&M Fleet.

  • Paid Girtz Excavating $1,500 for emergency repair of a water leak where copper met galvanized pipe in a service line in front of 506 King St. According to the staff request, homeowner Anna Carvao will be billed for this cost.

  • Paid Hawkins, Inc. $1,121 for the purchase of water treatment chemicals.

  • Paid $1,674 to vendors involved in repairing a pipe burst at the Armory Arts and Events Center. These costs, including $1,426 to Ackerman Plumbing and Heating LLC, $128 to reimburse the Armory and $120 to Brian Ahart, will be reimbursed by insurance, according to a staff report.

  • Moved part-time Rapids Spirits liquor store clerk Cody Barr to the 30-month step and raised his pay to $15.55 per hour.

  • Moved accounting administrative assistant Sarah Gwiazdon to the six-month step and raised her pay to $19.33 per hour, retroactive to June 21.

  • Moved accounts payable clerk Dawn Rouse to the six-month step and raised her pay to $19.33 per hour, retroactive to May 24.

  • Increased the benefit level of the Park Rapids Firefighter Relief Association to $6,500. The staff report notes that the city only contributes funds if the fund falls below required levels.

  • Approved a parade permit for the Park Rapids High School homecoming parade from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

  • Approved letters of support for the Heartland Lakes Development Commission (HLDC) regarding the Small Business Partnership grant program and the Main Street Economic Revitalization program. The first grant is to provide training through the HLDC’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Resource and Technology Hangar; the second, to help local businesses remodel and renovate their buildings.

  • Appointed Kindra Hoffman as a full-time public works street maintenance worker.

  • Approved payables totaling $166,060 and prepaids totaling $349,349.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28 at city hall.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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