Board requests no snowmobiling signs for paved path
By Barbie Porter
The Vergas Park Board has its eye on bringing a skating rink to town next year.
During its monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21 the group discussed clearing a section of ice near the city beach to allow for people to enjoy the winter activity of ice skating.
The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) was contacted and asked to send a representative to the meeting. Joe Gehrts, senior loss control consultant at LMC, attended the meeting.
“I see no issues from the league standpoint,” he said. “But I would want the city to take precautions.”
Following the recommended ice depth set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and having city personnel conduct occasional checks on the ice thickness were two actions Gehrts mentioned.
The DNR ice thickness guide calls for four inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot, 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or ATV, 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup and 12- 15 inches for a medium truck.
“And, if there is any open water at any point to close it,” he added.
Gehrts pointed to state statute 466.03, subdivision 6E. He explained the city has “broad immunity” when it comes to park and recreational services and activities.
“The city is pretty well protected, but the city would still want to take those safety precautions,” he said.
When asked if a warming house or attendant would be needed or fencing around the rink area, Gehrts said no.
“If you have a hockey area, that is a more dangerous activity and you’d want a separate area for that,” he said.
After gathering information the park board favored bringing an ice skating rink to town next year. First, the board needs to present the idea to the city council and get their blessing.
allowed on paved path
Snowmobile traffic along the trail was a concern for the board. It was noted some have driven on the trail, even though the path has been cleared most of this winter. It was noted there are also rock beds for drainage along the trail that could be damaged if sleds drove over them.
Board members spoke to area snowmobile clubs, and were informed the actual trail is on the opposite side of the street from the trail. It was noted clubs agreed to post extra signs.
The board also discussed how there is no official trail from Perham or to Frazee. The group wanted to remedy that, as they want snowmobilers to visit Vergas.
Years ago, reportedly a verbal agreement was reached with a landowner who agreed to an easement on his land for the Long Lake Scenic Trail. The agreement was that the city would allow the property owner to utilize city property to store a boat and dock. Now that the property is being sold, the landowner asked that agreement go with the property.
It was stated in discussion that the concern arose after the county provided the landowner a notice about storing items on the road right-of-way. It was explained that the city was allowing that, and the issue was with the county.
If storage were allowed elsewhere in the park, the board expressed concerns about additional items, such as two docks or more boats taking up more city land.
The property owner asked what if the agreement was specific to the size of the current dock and one boat?
The board recommend the agreement end with the current landowner.
In other news
• Discussions and planning is ongoing for a potential pickleball court, which was said to be 68-feet wide and 128-feet deep. The land being looked at near the little league field offers well over 100-feet in width and almost 300-feet in depth.
• Welcomed Maggie Puetz on the board. She is also in charge of the citizen group.