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City moves ahead with park plans

Graphic provided A tentative plan for the southwest park shows new trails, new athletic equipment and the proposed memorial garden.

The Wadena City Council approved two different motions May 10 on plans for rebuilding city parks.

The first motion by council member Don Niles approved a concept plan for the Southwest Park with reservations about an outdoor pool being included on the original site before the tornado.

The second motion was to place the donated Rainbow Play Systems playground equipment at Tapley Park.

The Southwest Park plan shows new trails, new athletic equipment and the location of the proposed memorial garden. It also shows the outdoor pool in its old place, even though Wadena 2.0 rebuilding plans call for replacing the destroyed outdoor pool with an indoor pool inside the proposed wellness center.

Niles, the leader of Wadena 2.0, said the landscape architect put the pool on the concept plan because there were no other plans for that spot.

Council member Toby Pierce, who brought up concerns about the projected operating deficits of the proposed wellness center, said a consultant suggested having an outdoor pool located by the community center.

Park Board representatives said the recommendation was for the Rainbow playground to be in Tapley Park about 100 feet away from the existing playground. They said the existing playground is better suited for younger children while the donated playground is better suited for older children. Even though Tapley Park did not have playground equipment destroyed by the tornado, it is in the tornado zone neighborhood, and southwest Wadena residents wanted it in the tornado zone.

Public Works Director Ron Bucholz said the new playground would need fall protection and an access point for wheelchairs.

In addition to motions about rebuilding parks, the council discussed replacing the current city logo "Where the Prairie Meets the Woodlands" with "City of Parks" or "Arts and Parks."

Pierce and Niles voted to change the city's tagline to "Arts and Parks," with Mayor Wayne Wolden, council member Jeanette Baymler and council member Kay Browne voting nay.

Wolden said that "Where the Prairie Meets the Woodlands" highlights Wadena as a geographically specific location according to Kari Tomperi of the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District, and that people won't drive 50 to 100 miles just to go to parks.

Pierce said that the present logo does not describe what there is to do in Wadena and a simple slogan would be good.

"It isn't that I think Arts and Parks is a bad idea," Baymler said.

"It's a wonderful suggestion too. I just don't want it decided in three minutes," Browne said.

The council also approved U.S. Aquatic as the engineer to evaluate the destroyed outdoor pool to see whether it can be salvaged or not. If not, it will be demolished.

Browne said it was one of the oldest outdoor pools in the state of Minnesota.

The council approved Main Street Sports to replace soccer goals in Tapley Park. The cost is covered by FEMA.