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Thinking warm thoughts

P&R Board considers summer Sanborn SunCrafters program

March 15, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

The Estherville Parks & Recreation Board met for its monthly meeting Monday night. City administrator Penny Clayton presented a memo to the board about the Sanborn SunCrafters program, which has taken place in July at Thoreson Park for a number of years.

In 2016, the program was held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1: 30 to 3 p.m. for three weeks, six sessions in all, at Sanborn Shelter. Space and staffing allows for 20 participants, and there were 13 registered. The city's cost for the program in 2016 was $459.96 including program wages and supplies, and was offered at no cost to participants. The age range was 6-8 years old, and both boys and girls participated.

Clayton said, "I'd like to get an opinion poll out to parents and other community members about the times and other factors, whether it's working for parents. For working parents, getting to leave work twice in an afternoon to get the kids there could be an issue."

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Laurel Hash noted that the program had been a summer staple for a long time. "I used to send Lexie (Ruter, now Estherville Chamber of Commerce Director) over to do crafts when she was that age. She just rode her bike."

Aquatic center update

The board also heard an update on the pool committee. Last year, seven citizens and board members Gary Phillips and Joan Heckard formed a committee, which has worked with Burbach Aquatics out of Platteville, Wis., on a proposed design for a new aquatic center. The group is planning to have a presentation ready for a joint meeting of the Parks & Rec Board and the city council in May.

City administrator Penny Clayton said, "To have a structure comparable with other projects Burbach has done, including those in Sanborn and Sheldon, at the time they did theirs it was around $4 million. The price of materials and labor goes up about five percent per year, so we would be another million if those were five years ago."

The aquatic center in Sheldon, built in 2013, includes two water slides and a zero-depth entrance as well as a deep-water diving section.

In Sanborn, there is a diving and lap swimming section as well as a zero depth entry and one spiral waterslide.

"I love the committee members' enthusiasm for the fun components, but those are items which exceed the amount we would pay for through a bond, for which we would have to fundraise," Clayton said.

Season passes and admission prices to the new facility would rise, Clayton said, and additional revenue would be raised through concession sales.

"From an operations standpoint, we would lose less money with a new site than we are with [the current city pool]," Clayton said.

"If we do not go forward with a plan with Burbach, we would not be able to develop a plan with another firm for five years," Clayton said.

The Regional Wellness Center is having a meeting March 31. One of the sites the committee is considering is southwest of the RWC.

Bob Jensen, who is also on the board of the RWC said he was looking forward to more details about the proposed site at the meeting.

Gary Phillips said it would have been great for a board member of the RWC to have had a seat on the committee from its inception.

Dog waste stations

The Parks & Rec board also chose a vendor for 10 new dog waste bag stations, and decided upon a less expensive design without an attached trash receptacle.

"The dog is not going to go where the receptacle is," Tina Jensen said.

However, the bag stations will be in line-of-sight of one of the parks' regular trash receptacles.

Tina Jensen said it would be more sanitary to have dog waste distributed among several trash cans in a park than to have all of it in one receptacle, due to the smell and attraction of flies.

The board also considered setting criteria for naming a city park, while still considering each request on a case-by-case basis.

The next meeting of the Estherville Parks & Rec Board will be April 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at City Hall.



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