NEW ULM - North Park is a step closer to receiving new playground equipment.
At the Monday meeting of the Park and Rec Commission, members awarded the North Park Playground Replacement Project Proposal to Flagship Recreation. Three vendors submitted plans for North Park.
Assistant Park and Director Cheryl Korman explained the staff reviewed all proposals and met with pre-school children from Kids' Connection and Kids' Camp for additional input. The children overwhelming preferred the proposal from Flagship Recreation.
The children responded strongly to the inclusion of a zip-line at the playground.
"Once kids saw that, they couldn't get beyond anything else because they thought it was really neat," Korman said.
Park and Rec Director Tom Schmitz said that North Park serves as a neighborhood park as well as a destination park due to its many amenities. "We've got tourists coming from out of town for these junior baseball events and tournament,: he said.
The cost of the playground includes installation,shipping, and engineered wood fibers as a cushioned base for $45,000.
Park & Rec also intends to purchase some outdoor fitness equipment that will be donated by the Hearts Beat Back, Heart of New Ulm Project. By purchasing this equipment with the playground equipment the Heart of New Ulm will receive a cost saving in shipping and installation.
The commission reviewed a draft of a 2014 Park and Rec system survey. A system survey was conducted in 1988 and another was conducted in 2007 as part of the city-wide Comprehensive Plan update.
Commissioner Jean Prochniak suggested the survey be adapted to include a cross-section of ages because the survey would likely be filled out by entire families.
Cindy Winters, manager of the Heart of New Ulm project, suggested partnering with Park and Rec to issue a combined survey with Heart of New Ulm, citing overlap between the goals of the two groups.
Commissioner Ken RockVam cautioned against overburdening the survey with information for two groups.
Commissioner Dennis Born was uncertain if a combined survey would be effective because it would require separate information that would create a survey that was too long. Born believed that Heart of New Ulm would work best as a consultant rather than a survey partner.
Winters explained that Heart of New Ulm was considering contracting with professionals to create the survey. Winters felt Park and Rec's current draft survey featured fairly general questions that would not a useful representation of the community. "I think we could work together to create a real strong useful survey," she said.
Prochniak felt there was an advantage to do a combined survey, especially in terms of using the support of an outside agency. "We are really in this together," she said.
RockVam said that he was not against partnering on the survey, but he felt the fine-tuning process would delay the release of the survey past September.
The commission chose to schedule a special work session to review in greater detail the survey and a potential partnership with Heart of New Ulm.