By Clay Schuldt
NEW?ULM - The suggestion to build an outdoor water park for New Ulm received the attention of the Park and Recreation Commission at its Monday meeting.
The building of a water park is a frequently asked question from the public, according to Commissioner Jean Prochniak.
"It's not necessarily the most popular discussion, but I think we need to get across to the residents why there is not one," she said.
Commission members discussed the merits of a water park.
Assistant Park and Recreation Department Director Cheryl Kormann said that department's budget was already maxed out to maintain the current facilities.
To cover expenses funding would need to be cut from another area, said Commissioner Toby Freier.
Prochniak agreed, but said she felt the public wanted Park and Rec to look at alternative options. If people coming to New Ulm for various events had access to a city water park, it could mean the difference between a family staying in town or traveling to a town with a water park. "If we had something that kept them here, our retail and our food business would do better, " she said.
Mayor Robert Beussman suggested looking at an indoor/outdoor option. He admitted a pool with a retractable roof would be more expensive, but its year-round use would be a plus.
Commissioners reached no consensus, but they agreed the water park discussion should continue.
The department is filling two part-time positions with one full-time job. Both positions were previously three-quarters time. Commissioner Kara Carlson asked how the remaining part-time hours would be covered. Kormann explained a part-time coordinator had already been hired for 10 hours a week and also that a full-time position would create greater efficiency.
Civic Center Ad Policy
The commission approved a change to the Civic Center advertising policy that allows contracts to run a single year rather than two. By allowing single-year contracts, potential advertisers may be more likely to purchase ad space on a trial basis, Kormann said. Single-year contracts would not create any hardship for Park and Rec because no additional expenses are involved, she said.