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Parks and Rec Board plans path forward with spring around the corner

Parks and Rec Board plans path forward with spring around the corner
Newly repaired and refurbished pieces of the water slide sit in the parking lot and inside the pool enclosure at the Lions Field Pool in Charles City, ready to be reinstalled for the upcoming swimming season. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Kelly Terpstra,

With the world seemingly at a standstill in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, decisions still have to be made.

That’s what the Charles City Parks and Recreation Board did Thursday night during its monthly meeting.

An upcoming event that Parks and Rec Director Tyler Mitchell has planned in Charles City is a Lions Field Day. Scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 13, it will offer a wide array of all-day activities for area residents, including games and discounts on golf and swimming packages.

“Not to throw cold water on you or anything, but you’re assuming that large groups are still going to be allowed to assemble,” said Dennis Petersen, the longtime Parks and Rec board member.

So Mitchell made sure to select a rain date should the efforts to contain the virus still inhibit large gatherings of people in early June.

“That is a possibility,” said Petersen.

The event, which is still in its planning stages, will offer a slew of things to do. A 3-legged race, water balloon toss, disc golf, a bean bag tournament, sand volleyball, fitness classes (yoga) and Aqua Zumba are a sampling of what the day may offer.

Mitchell said most of the items or equipment required to take part in the field day will be purchased via donations or allowed to be used by the Parks and Rec department.

“My original plan was for it to be something we’re just having for people to do and another thing to offer people in this town rather than a way for us to make money,” said Mitchell.

He said it’s too early to tell whether the threat of the novel coronavirus spreading will have an effect on the scheduled opening of Lions Pool around Memorial Day weekend.

“We don’t fill the pool until right before Memorial Day weekend anyway, so it’s probably going to be something we’ll evaluate then,” said Mitchell. “But we’re going to go about it like we’re going to open it.”

Mitchell said the refurbished water slide was delivered in parts to the pool on Thursday to be reassembled before the season starts.

Fischer Bros. LLC of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, a water slide restoration company, was contracted to repair the slide for $73,000. The contract requires it to be set back up by May 15.

“They started bringing parts of their slide back so they had room in their warehouse working on other projects,” said Mitchell. “They just brought parts down so they don’t have to haul a ton of vehicles down here at one time.”

Mitchell said there was approximately $5,000 in the budget set aside this season for pool recreation. Roughly $2,400 of that was used to install a new speaker system at the pool. The remaining $2,600, along with a $600 donation in memory of Bill Wohlers, was approved to be spent on 10 lounge chairs and two basketball hoops.

There will be a big and small hoop at the pool, each of them weighted down by 50 pounds of water or sand.

Shaded areas near the grassy sections of the pool will also be available courtesy of elevated tarps that will be constructed.

Other business discussed at the meeting is as follows:

• The board discussed what the policy should be for awarding in-kind donations.

“Well I definitely think it needs to be shared. It has to be shared. It cannot be the same group every year,” said board member Diane Meyer.

• Mitchell said the group that operates the concession stand at the pool has terminated its contract and it was suggested to advertise for another vendor to take over that operation.

• It was announced that the girls Little League would play their games at Sportsmen’s Park. They were played at the Washington and IC ball diamonds in previous years but because of creation of the new athletic complex at the high school they can be moved this year.

The boys Little league will still play its games at Lions and Wildwood diamonds.

• Mitchell said he is looking into an AARP grant for funding for the Lions Pool. The deadline for application is April 1.