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Paynesville Press - Jan. 29, 2003

City wants to build new shelters at Veteran's Park

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Picnics at the beach may be more enjoyable next summer, if the city receives a grant to make improvements to two shelters at Veteran's Memorial Park.

Shelter at Veteran's Memorial Park - photo by Bonnie Jo Hanson Public works director Ron Mergen received approval from the city council last week to apply for a grant that would make $15,000 of renovations possible.

The city could replace two shelters at Veteran's Memorial Park this summer if it receives a DNR grant. The new shelters would be larger and would have electricity.

Mergen said the city wants to replace the shelters east of the parking lot. The existing shelters could be replaced by a new 24' by 24' shelter and a new 24' by 48' shelter.

The city would like the larger shelter to hold 50-60 people. It also would have an area with countertops for food preparation and serving and electrical outlets for crockpots and coffee makers, although there would be no running water.

Upgrades to the park could be possible because of a matching grant from the Department of Natural Resources. The city applied for the same grant last year to make more extensive upgrades at the park, which included a building with a kitchen, but didn't get one.

Mergen said some of the cities that got grant money last year had probably applied for several years, while Paynesville had never applied before. He hopes being turned down last year, and a more modest request, may help Paynesville get a grant this year.

The DNR grant requires a 50 percent match, meaning the grant could pay for $7,500 in improvements while the city would be responsible for the remaining $7,500.

The city also plans to make some changes to the restrooms and changing areas at the park. The restrooms need to be painted and modernized and the changing rooms are going to be knocked down. They haven't been used for years, said Mergen, and serve no purpose now except to attract vandals.

The restroom and changing room repairs are not dependent on grant money and could be completed by city maintenance workers before the beach opens.

Recipients of the DNR grant are usually announced in June and if Paynesville receives it, work on the shelters could begin in late summer or early fall, said Mergen.

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