File photo
Horse-drawn rides in wagons was approved by the city council.

Horse-drawn rides, pickleball and veterans memorial get the green light

By Barbie Porter

Editor

The Vergas City Council approved three new tourist attractions during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 13. 

While the pickleball court and veterans memorial are well-known by those following news of the town, a new opportunity presented itself with 20-minute horse-drawn rides in the city.

Rural Vergas resident Denise Layman requested permission to provide horse-drawn rides with either a wagon or sleigh. 

She said the idea came to her and her husband while on vacation. There were horse-drawn rides being offered in a small town about the size of Vergas, and it was a big hit with residents and drew visitors to the city. She noted the joy it gave people was audible.

She asked to visit Vergas twice a month and offer rides with the route being in the vicinity of the Vergas Assisted Living. 

Layman said they scouted the town and felt that was the safest route for the patrons and horses, adding that crossing the railroad tracks was not something she wanted to do. The Laymons are discussing having the loading area at a church parking lot with members of the church.

She emphasized they will be cleaning up after the horses and provide their own liability insurance.

What days the rides will be offered will depend on weather. Layman said they will post signs to let people know rides are available, but committing to specific days does not work as some may expect rides even in inclement weather.

The council was aboard with the new attraction, pending proof of insurance and appropriate transient merchant licensure information is provided to the city.

The pickleball court committee informed the council they had funds to have the dirt work done as well as the concrete poured. It was stated when the concrete is place and cured, a portable net would be installed to allow people to begin learning about the sport and playing the game. The fence around the court and surfacing would be on the docket for next year, as well as additional courts.

A committee member said the bids they received in early spring will still be honored, and the company that created the courts in Detroit Lakes would be doing the work. It was stated almost $70,000 of the estimated $100,000 project has been raised.

The council explained the proposal submitted to them was for the entire project, not a phase. And, 100 percent of the proposed project needed to be funded before work could begin. 

Because the pickleball court could be utilized with the concrete slab, the council suggested the committee submit a new proposal for review with just the concrete work for the initial courts. The council emphasized their concern was, if the project didn’t progress, the city would be left with a concrete slab.

If the pickleball court were to submit a new proposal, it was recommended steps be taken to address the concern of keeping vehicles off the concrete until the fence is in place. Proof of funding was also requested.

The veteran’s memorial project had the same result as the pickleball court. While the council approved funds be raised and the project to be placed at the sight in front of the ball fields, 100 percent of the funds are required before soil can be excavated.

Members of the veteran’s committee said without progress, raising funds can be slow going. 

The council suggested they start with a smaller project that allows for expansion, noting the smaller project should still look like a finished memorial. The council also said the proposed gravel parking area at the veteran’s memorial would need to be paved for handicapped accessibility.

While the project is at a bit of a standstill, it has been approved and fundraising can commence.