NEW ULM - At the last meeting of the New Ulm Park and Recreation Commission, a resolution was passed unanimously to allow signage (advertising) on the outfield fences at both Johnson and Mueller Parks.
"The Park and Rec Commission agreed with staff that it was something to look into," New Ulm Park and Recreation Director Tom Schmitz said. "The exact details of the program are not finalized. It may take some time to do this. This is the same advertising program that is found in the New Ulm Civic Center Arena. We are looking at possibly expanding that kind of a program into some of our athletic fields."
Schmitz said that it is not "etched in stone" that there will be advertising allowed at Johnson and Mueller Parks in the future.
"That is not finalized," he said. "It may have to go to approval of the New Ulm City Council yet. We are not certain of that at this point."
The biggest - and perhaps only reason for the approval by the Park and Rec Commission - is that the advertising would bring in additional dollars to an already strapped park program here in New Ulm.
"The advertising at the New Ulm Civic Center is a revenue generator for the city," Schmitz said. "We view expanding advertising opportunities for local businesses as another chance for more revenue which would help off-set the costs of maintaining parks and facilities."
Schmitz said that he is aware that Johnson Park is considered "sacred ground" by baseball purists in New Ulm and needs to be kept the same way that it has been since 1939.
"My response to that is that this requires some study and analysis," he said. "There are a number of individuals and organizations that should review the idea and the concept. The Park and Rec Commission and the City Council as owners of this facility need to look at this. Again, nothing has been done yet and we are not certain if the advertising program will be expanded into Johnson and Mueller Parks. But it is something that we are considering."
Schmitz said that citizens of New Ulm and organizations should submit their views to their city councilor.
"I am not planning on instituting this program into the athletic fields without the approval of the City Council," he said. "It may take some time before we even present it to the council. When the time comes the citizens of New Ulm and the associations should certainly make their feelings known."
He added that the income and expenses analysis brought this about.
"We are trying to meet our expenses and we have to determine where that revenue is going to come from," he said. "It could come from user fees, property taxes or advertising. We have to balance the budget. We cannot operate a system with a deficit. If there is not enough revenue to pay the bills, certain things will not be offered by the city."
Kunz new coach
Former New Ulm High School girls' hockey coach Dave Kunz is the new head girls' high school hockey coach at Eveleth-Gilbert High School.
He was an assistant coach with the girls' team for six seasons prior to taking over this summer.
He is also coaching B-squad softball.