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City to institute park reservation system effective April 1

Mayor Fred Horne presented four volunteers from the Northwest Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross with a copy of the City Proclamation officially declaring March as Red Cross Month in New Richmond. (From left): Bob Olson, Henri Olson, Horne, Cathy Stevens and Mike Stevens. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

Commencing April 1, 2019, the City of New Richmond will institute a new Park Facility Reservation Policy. As the city has continued to grow, so has demand for the many athletic fields, picnic shelters, campground, playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, trails, skateboard/BMX facility, and ice skating rinks spread across its 217 acres of park land.

"We need to have something clearcut and concise in writing when it comes to, 'how do I reserve a field,' who gets priority when it comes to scheduling and who's responsible for what," said City Planning Director Noah Wiedenfeld.

Planning for the new policy began with city staff meeting with members of the Park Board last fall followed by a meeting in February with various athletic associations including the New Richmond Softball Association, the Millers and Girls Fastpitch Softball.

The four-page policy document provides a detailed scheduling process, cancellation and no-use policy, and a five-category priority classification system to determine athletic field reservation priorities. The policy also includes a schedule of fees for use of the athletic fields at Freedom, Hatfield and Citizens Parks and the park shelters at Freedom, Greaton, Hatfield, Mary Park, the Nature Center and Paperjack Parks. Fees and permit requirements for other park facilities are also included. The policy also addresses how financial contributions will be handled.

"I think it's important that the folks in the community understand that they can go use shelters and there is no cost, it's just if they reserve. The same would apply if they show up and play frisbee golf, they don't have any standing if somebody else had a reservation, but they don't have to pay anything just to use the park land. They're paying for the reservation," clarified Alderman Mike Montello.

A follow up meeting is planned for this fall to review the performance of the policy and to consider any adjustments that might make sense.

The deadline for reservations to use facilities between April 1 and July 31, 2019, is Monday April 1. After April 1, ballfield reservations will be on a first come, first served basis.

To reserve a park facility call 715-246-4268 during regular business hours, or go to www.newrichmondwi.gov and click on the "Recreation" tab.

Council members unanimously approved the Park Facility Reservation Policy contingent on further review of an alcoholic beverage provision by the Park Board and Public Safety.

Mayor Fred Horne presented four volunteers from the Northwest Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross with a copy of the City Proclamation officially naming March as Red Cross Month in New Richmond.

Red Cross Volunteer Bob Olson explained the Northwest Wisconsin Chapter covers St. Croix, Polk and Pierce counties. Over the course of 2018, chapter volunteers participated in a number of activities ranging from Disaster Relief Operations (DRO) both in and out of Wisconsin, from installing smoke alarms to the Pillowcase Program used to teach students how to pack quickly in the case of an emergency.

"The Pillowcase Project started as a result of Hurricane Katrina. At one of the colleges in New Orleans, the kids were told to, 'Get out of here like right now.' They didn't have time to gather anything so they just opened up their pillowcases, stuffed some toothpaste in and took off. Disney heard about the story and partnered with Red Cross. Disney makes and prints the pillowcases and Red Cross makes presentations. We cover the preparedness concept with the kids for whatever disasters might happen in their geographic area. For New Richmond we covered tornadoes and fires. Last year, my wife and I went to every fifth grade in the city of New Richmond, public and private. We spoke in front of about 300 students," explained Olson.

Police Chief Craig Yehlik reported his department has been working with the New Richmond Chamber on preparations for the Packer Tailgate Party scheduled to take place April 11 at the New Richmond Regional Airport. Those preparations include traffic flow, parking and ensuring that all necessary insurance and permits are obtained. Yehlik's department has also been working with Emergency Management from both the city and St. Croix County along with Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt, Airport Manager Mike Demulling and Chamber Executive Director Rob Kreibich and his staff to develop a plan to keep everyone safe. A crowd between 2,000 - 6,000 people is expected to attend the Packer Alumni event and Chris Kroeze concerts.

Other business

• Council members approved the 2019 sidewalk plan and awarded the construction contract to Solid Rock Custom Concrete in the amount of $35,603. Members also approved Resolution #031901 to levy a special assessment upon property owners whose sidewalks are part of the plan. Property owners will be notified by mail and invited to attend a hearing as part of the April council meeting.

• Council members approved the purchase of two new patrol vehicles to replace squads 22 and 24. Two new 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles will be purchased from Ewald's Hartford Ford at a cost of $32,272 each. The price reflects a $2,000 each discount from Ford for failure to build the previously ordered vehicles. The new vehicles will cost the city $3,000 more than was approved by the Public Safety Committee. The difference in price will be made up from insurance funds left over from hail damage repair work to be done on the department building.

• Council members approved the purchase of a 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit vehicle from Bernard's Northtown to replace Squad 27. After the Chrysler buyout offer and credit for the warranty and maintenance package, the cost for the new vehicle works out to approximately $6,348.50. Money for the purchase will also come from insurance funds left over from hail damage repair work on the department building.

• Council members approved payment of funds not to exceed $6,400 to EO Johnson to conduct a needs assessment ahead of the city's purchase of new financial management software.

• Council members approved a contract with Structural Buildings worth $35,900 to replace the roof on the Police Department with new asphalt shingles.

• Ahead of next week's audit, council members approved an amended 2018 budget with a carry forward of restricted fund balance to 2019 in the amount of $205,083 and an assigned fund balance in the amount of $283,135.

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