NEW ULM - Four members of Putting Green's board of directors, led by co-founder Dr. Laurel Gamm, made their pitch for forming a partnership between the non-profit organization and the New Ulm Park and Recreation Department at a meeting of the Park and Rec Commission Monday.
While the commissioners appeared to find the prospect of the department taking over much of the operation and maintenance of the park appealing, City Manager Brian Gramentz was on hand to remind the commission that the full impact of potential continued cuts in Local Government Aid yet to be made in 2009 and possibly 2010 isn't known at this point.
"If the governor's figure holds, it's probably would be about $110,000, but it could be as much as $200,000 coming out of [Park and Rec's] 2009 [capital improvement] projects, and the $110,000 could be $200,000, and in 2010, the $130,000 might be $250,000," Gramentz, who said he wasn't there "to rain on anybody's parade, told the commission.
"With the  cut, we just took it out of reserves, no big deal. Unfortunately, 2009 and 2010 are different. We can't continue to take it out of reserves," Gramentz noted. "So, one of the things I told my directors, 'Don't get into anything new. Also, we're in a very tight year [regarding the economy], and there might be more.'"
As far as joining in a partnership with Putting Green, the matter "will involve the City Attorney and the Park and Rec Director, and No. 1 is the financial thing, and No. 2 is what are we getting into as far as grants are concerned. Will we have to pay back that Putting Green has?" Gramentz asked.
However, Gamm countered that the mini-golf course does bring in revenue and will continue to - which would be a "good thing" for the department - and all the grants that Putting Green has had have been satisfied so there would be no paying back.
The commission voted to have staff study the proposal more in-depth and report back to the commission with their findings.
The work of installing the new playground at Nehls Park has been completed, Director Tom Schmitz reported. He also told the commission that cuts in 2009 will have to come primarily out of capital improvements so commissioners could expect a number of projects to stall for a while.
That caused Commissioner Rod Karnitz to say that if it's at all possible, he'd like to see one project continue. "The Harman Park building is in need of restroom repair," he said.
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