Ice skating rink location discussed
By Barbie Porter
Vergas’ Loon Lake Park will see the addition of a swing set this spring.
During the monthly meeting of the Vergas Park Board on Thursday, Feb. 24, the group reviewed two swing set options. Both provided regular “saddle” swings and bucket swings for toddlers. The choice came down to if the park board wanted an ADA compliment swing or a connection swing, which is made for an adult to swing with a child.
After some discussion, the park board went with the ADA swing option.
The cost of $4,151 (and installation costs that arise) will be covered through donations made by the Vergas Community Club and an area resident. The nearby lake resident sparked the idea of having a swing set at the location during Looney Days last year.
Wood chips will likely be placed under the swing set area, with volunteer labor used (when possible) to install the swing set anchors, build the swing set and place the wood chips.
The park board also reviewed work it is doing to remodel Long Lake Park with assistance of students at North Dakota State University.
The group narrowed the list for the students down to items to cross off and concepts to pursue further. Hanson said the items requiring more conversation include a bike rack, stationary swimming raft, one way entrance into the park, drainage improvements, a retaining wall against the highway to provide additional parking and moving the highway. It has been reported the highway is not located where the road is supposed to be, but that information has not been confirmed by the newspaper.
The group also supported reviewing a multipurpose building that would include a restroom, basic kitchen and historical display, an amphitheater, a spy glass to watch the eagle’s nest, restoring the rip rap and native plants and sculptures.
Hanson said the ideas the board liked will be provided to the college students to further develop. She also noted she spoke with Vergas City Clerk Julie Lammers about park modifications. The park is leased to the city through the county. Hanson said Lammers was told by county officials that park alterations would be fine, as long as proper permits were obtained through the city and county.
Ice skating rink location discussed
The park board discussed the skating rink on Long Lake. The rink was created this year and saw plenty of support and usage. There were also lessons learned.
“We learned why we don’t see skating rinks on the lake in other communities,” said Sherri Hanson, park board member.
The park board discussed issues with maintaining the ice skating rink on a lake, as well as safety concerns as the snow melted.
After speaking with the city crew of Vergas, the board discussed their recommendation to move the skating rink location to the athletic field complex that is closer to downtown. The field includes baseball diamonds and newly installed pickleball courts. The location offers parking and would have a flat surface for a skating area.
The board discussed placing the rink atop the pickleball court location, but there was hesitancy. Potential damage to the court from ice melting and freezing was discussed. One board member said another city placed a skating rink on top of its pickleball courts this winter, but it is not know if there was any damage.
Be it on the pickleball court or in another location, the park board agreed amenities like a warming house and lighting should be considered.
Hanson applauded the city of Frazee for their ice skating rink in downtown. She noted they “did it right” and discussions with city crew members are being had to gather information on how the rink is maintained.
The off-season was determined to be an opportune time to fundraise for a warming house, seek potential rink attendants and create a plan for next winter.
The park board also applauded Nic Zitzow for helping clear the ice rink three times this winter. The group agreed to send him $50 in Looney Bucks as a show of gratitude.
In other news
• Sydney Dahlgren will be joining the Vergas Park Board, replacing Maggie Putz.
• Swimming lesson options are being discussed.
• The next park board meeting was set for March 24 at 5 p.m.