Splash pad eyed for Rec Park

Planning for the future of Milaca’s park system has taken on a different look in the past weeks.

During a June 30 special meeting of the Milaca City Council, plans came forward for a splash park in the city’s Recreation Park.

In May, the City Council voted to pursue a $475,000 referendum this fall geared toward improving Milaca’s public parks system. The June 30 meeting was a continuation of that discussion and included Matt Follmuth, chairman of the Milaca Parks Commission, and Greg Moyer, parks director.

The Parks commission came to the meeting with a wish list that includes a building with bathrooms and a multipurpose room, which City Manager Greg Lerud said would be similar to the public meeting space in Milaca City Hall. The building would also serve as a replacement for the aging warming house. This facility would be located in the vicinity of the present warming house and outdoor ice rink.

The commission would also like to see a shelter for portable toilets, playground equipment, an archery range and the first stages of a splash park.

Mayor Pete Pedersen noted that the commission’s list exceeded what can be built under the proposed bond issue, which after financing costs, would leave the city with around $440,000 for the improvement project, so decisions would have to be made about what final improvements would be on a proposed fall referendum question. He also said the goal of any improvement project would have a goal of bringing people into Milaca from other areas — and he thought a splash pad achieved that goal.

Follmuth told the council that he and the rest of the commission, like Pedersen, strongly believe that a splash park should be among projects completed if a referendum question passes.

Councilman Wayne Bekius noted that a splash park project includes more than just installing a splash pad. There is also a need for a staff to operate the facility.

In addition to the splash park, the council agreed that a new building was necessary in Rec Park. Moyer noted that restroom facilities are less than adequate and that the ice rink’s warming house was established as a temporary structure more than 30 years ago.

With the council agreeing to go forward with proposing a park building and splash park to the city’s voters, financial estimates suggested that about $70,000 remained for other projects.

Further discussion resulted in a consensus to purchase playground equipment for Rec Park, a place where only a swing set exists, Moyer noted. If funds remained available, some park equipment improvements could be made in Trimble Park.

Lerud told the council that a ballot question should be approved at the meeting so it can be forwarded to the city attorney for review and approval. Counciman Norris Johnson made a motion, seconded by Bekius, to draft a ballot question asking voters to authorize the issuing of bonds, not to exceed $475,000, for the purpose of making the following park improvements: multipurpose building with bathrooms, splash pad and playground equipment for Rec Park.