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Skatepark considers Plan B

It's on to Plan B for a proposed skatepark in the City of New Richmond.

Joe Kerlin, the city's parks, recreation and forestry director, originally proposed using land just south of Cyclone Park for the new skatepark; however, after investigating the site, skatepark supporters learned that the land fell in a road right-of-way and would not be allowed to house the skatepark.

Plan B is an area just north of the Starr Elementary Ice Rink, near the northern ball field, District Administrator Jeff Moberg told the New Richmond Board of Education at Monday's regular meeting.

Moberg said there are a few things that need to be considered before the board makes a decision on whether to allow the skatepark.

"One, that land is in a floodplain," he said. "It's not available to us to put any type of permanent structure on it, although we do use it as green space both for baseball, softball as well as youth soccer."

Moberg said it might be best to visit with the skatepark boosters at the proposed site to layout their needs and look at spacing.

"We want to make sure we're not taking space from a group that's currently using it to create this," he said. "Maybe we can make some shifts around the soccer fields a little bit but get the same resources, if possible, for everybody."

Moberg said the group is proposing a skatepark that is somewhere between 50-by-100 feet to 100-by-150 feet.

"I think we can carve that out and not affect the other two playing surfaces," he said.

Moberg said he recommends the board have a Memorandum of Understanding with the group before the board approves the skatepark.

"I think that would have to include understanding insurance, understanding maintainance, understanding things like, 'what if the insurance requirements change?'" he said. "Right now maybe it doesn't have to be supervised if the apparatus are up to five feet high. What if that changes to three feet high? Who is then responsible for then providing supervision or changing those apparatus? Those are the types of things we should discuss and have in that MOU."

Moberg said he also plans to have Brian Johnston, director of building and fiscal operations for the district, check with the district's insurance carrier.

"Just so we understand how that would work as well," Moberg said.

The board took no action on the proposed skatepark; however, plans to discuss it again at future meetings.

In other news, the board:

* Briefly discussed the now-vacant human resources director position.

Moberg, who acted as the district's human resources director last year, said he sees a need for the position in New Richmond, especially with the new educator effectiveness requirements coming next year and ACT 10.

Moberg said it might be worth discussing where the position falls in the organizational chart. "Do the principals report up to this position and it looks more like an assistant superintendent or does this position fall somewhere else in the organizational chart?" he asked.

With the new educator effectiveness requirements, Moberg said the board has the opportunity to make the human resources position a support position for staff vs. a more traditional human resources director.

"I think taking more time to understand what we want out of that role, define it a little bit better and more clearly, understanding how education effectiveness is going to work and the need to have effectiveness coaches in with that process... understanding all those things is a real strong need," he said. "It doesn't take away the affordable care act, ADA requirements, understanding FMLA... those are important things. The more time we dedicate to that, the better service we provide to employees."

The board decided to discuss the position more in the future. In the interim, Moberg and Johnston will work together to cover any human resources responsibilities.

Approved the resignations of Paula Gretzlock, high school counselor; Gina Klimek, first grade teacher at Starr Elementary; Andy Munson, Community Commons custodian; and Michelle Nutzmann, paraeducator at Paperjack Elementary.

* Approved the hiring of Scott Cole, high school golf assistant; Troy Cran, high school football assistant; Maggie Demulling, high school volleyball C team; Denise Devereux, head tennis girls; Jason Eckert, high school football assistant; Mallory Fredrickson, middle school volleyball; Kate Geissler, middle school volleyball; Al Getschel, high school volleyball assistant; Travis Gibson, high school golf girls; Joshua Hoff, high school cross country; Ross Johnson, high school golf assistant; Brian Kaczmarski, high school football assistant; Ken Kerr, middle school football; Donald Klein, high school tennis girls; Lori Klingler, middle school volleyball; Teresa Kvam, high school assistant tennis girls; Beth L'Allier, middle school cross country; Jodi Mealey, high school musical assistant; Matthew Mealey, high school musical assistant; Dave Mehls, high school football assistant; Peter Melloy, head boys' soccer; Brian Miller, middle school cross country; Grant Nelson, high school tennis girls; Katelyn Peterson, high school dramatics and musical director; Mike Pike, middle school football; Alaina Ryberg, high school volleyball C team; Ryan Schradle, high school football assistant; Jeffrey Schroeder, high school assistant soccer boys; Andrew Schroetter, high school dramatics and musical director; Steven Tesar, high school assistant soccer boys; and Tate Wheeler, high school football assistant.

* Approved the hiring of Angela Berg, interpreter; Laura Feyma, high school Family and Consumer Science Education teacher; John Rose, high school night custodian; Michele Weiss, special services cross-categorical teacher at Hillside Elementary.

* Approved the purchase of new English language arts textbooks and resources for $62,529.20 for the middle school.

* Approved the middle school handbook.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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