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Parks board lists possibilities for five-year plan

By Staff | Jun 15, 2009

The Estherville Parks and Recreation Board held a work session Monday to discuss what could be in the five-year plan to improve parks.

As with two previous five-year plans, the board is working with Northwest Iowa Planning and Development.

NWIPD recently conducted a citywide survey and the board used the results to create a list.

Parks and recreation director Dave Spurgin said one thing he’d like to see is a playground and shelterhouse at Joe Hoye Park that is equal to what is now in Thoreson Park.

The board also discussed the feasibility of a slide at the swimming pool.

Board member Joan Heckard pointed out a slide requires more lifeguards. (A lifeguard is required at both the top and bottom of the slide.)

“Then we’d have to charge more,” she said.

Board member Laurel Hash said even if slides are put in, at some pools kids prefer one over another and a slide may not get used.

“Our pool is there for those who can’t afford the other one (at the Regional Wellness Center) and for those who want to be outside,” she said.

Spurgin said the pool house currently needs to be reroofed.

Concerning the development park at the former Lincoln school site, Spurgin said the idea at the previous meeting to have it handicap accessible is a good one.

Aaron Seday, planner with NWIPD, said he did some research and while there are no grants specifically available for such a park, there are other grants available.

Spurgin also noted very little had been done with Jensen Park in Carrico Heights.

“It’s been sitting there for nine years and we probably need to do something there,” he said.

Spurgin also noted the park shed needs improvements.

“We’re completely out of space,” he said.

Board member Gary Phillips said he divided a list into two-a list of long-term things and other that can be done within the next five years.

In the long term, he said they need to look at the feasibility of Lincoln Park development.

“Trails also keep popping up,” he said.

While most people want trails in and around the community Phillips said maybe the parks board’s role should be just trails within the parks with outside parks addressed by the community.

Phillips agreed that another shelterhouses, after the success of Thoreson, needs to stay at the top of the list.

He also said the board needs to make a decision on a skate park and whether the city needs four new tennis courts or if the recently built tennis courts are enough for the community.

Addressing the recreation programs, Phillips said the board needs some different types of programs for an aging population.

He said the board needs to continue to develop the South 15th Street Park.

“Maybe have a picnic area or soccer field upgrades,” he said.

Concerning the landscaping in parks, he said the approach has to plant trees wherever. He suggested doing it by a park-by-park rotation for the smaller parks.

Phillips also said the board should consider benches for the parks. Also it will take minimum effort to improve river accessibility for fishing.

Spurgin added that he’d like to see more partnerships with Excel! Estherville. Current sharing involves the watering of downtown flowers with the Parks and Recreation Department providing storage for the ATV and water tank along with the water with the Estherville Chamber of Commerce hiring the person to water the flowers.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the board asked Seday to come back with a plan for approval at its July meeting. The board will meet 5:30 p.m., Monday, July 13.