Park commission hears latest RENU update

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Park and Recreation Commission received an update on Reinvest in New Ulm (RENU) projects and received feedback from the public, Monday.

Park And Rec Director Tom Schmitz said the Johnson Park improvements were continuing at full speed and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Hermann Heights improvements are being designed. The final plan and project bid will come before the city council over this winter. The project could begin in spring.

The four projects at the Recreation Center, including the aquatics improvements, indoor playground, wellness center and gymnastic center, have released concept designs and will next prepare construction documents.

Schmitz said a public input open house will be hosted at the Recreation Center regarding these projects.

The commission received public comments from a few Rec Center users during the meeting regarding the locker room facilities in the new design.

Carrie Hoffman said there were concerns the women’s locker room would not have enough showers, locker spaces and benches. Hoffman said there is already a wait for showers and limiting the number would increase the wait.

Russell Brown commented that small locker sizes would not serve the public in the winter because a two-foot-wide locker was not enough for a winter coat.

Others were concerned not enough seating would be available in the aquatic center during swimming lessons.

Schmitz said the design for the Recreation Center has not been completed yet and is still in process. An open house event is planned within the next few weeks to solicit further input from the public.

Committee member and city councilor David Christian gave assurances nothing was finalized with the blueprint and the city had not authorized any bids.

Schmitz said formal input on the design can be submitted to the Park and Recreation office at all times.

The commission approved a request from Scott Dreckman to vacate a trail easement on land bound by Karl Drive and North Highland Avenue and North Garden Street. In exchange, the city would receive trail easements along and near the three mentioned street right-of-ways.

Schmitz said the comprehensive plan included a path through this land when the plan was written in 2007. Since then the land has been developed and Park and Rec no longer intend to create a path through this area.

The commission recommended forwarding the request to the city council and begin discussing a trail easement with Dreckman along Karl Drive and North Garden near the right-of-way.

A $200,000 matching pledge for the German Park Amphitheater was received in the last month in addition to $1,450 in cash donations for the amphitheater. The Dog Park received $619.86 in donations.

This is a total of $202,069.86. These donations were forward by the commission to the city council for final acceptance.


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