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Paynesville Press - March 20, 2002

City proposes new park shelter

By Michael Jacobson

Park shelter The city of Paynesville plans to demolish and rebuild the bathrooms at Veteran's Memorial Park and wants to use a matching grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help do it.

On Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m., the city council will hold a public hearing on its plans, which is required by the DNR for its grant.

The existing structure, which is made of concrete blocks, has changing rooms and bathrooms for both sexes as well as a storage room in the middle. But the changing rooms have had little use since swimming lessons stopped being offered at the beach almost a decade ago. The only use they get these days is by vandals, according to Ron Mergen, the city's public works director.

Remodeling the existing structure is impractical and not cost effective because it is made of concrete, so the city proposes to demolish it. In its place, almost exactly in the same place, the city plans to build a complex with new restrooms, a kitchen, and an attached shelter.

The new complex will be much more user friendly, according to Mergen, and provide a better place for get-togethers like beach parties and family reunions.

The kitchen in the new facility would normally be locked and people will have to make reservations to use it, most likely picking up the key ahead of time at city hall.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $60,000, with the DNR grant providing up to 50 percent of that. The public hearing is required by the DNR to insure that the public supports the project.

The grant deadline is March 31, and the city should know if it will receive the grant by June or July. If the city gets the grant, it will have three years to build the new shelter.

The city has also budgeted money this summer for lifeguards at the beach at Veteran's Memorial Park. The city plans to have lifeguards on duty six hours per day again this summer, said Mergen.

Last year, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the public beach did not have lifeguards.

Mergen said the city already had given out a couple applications. Plus the city is willing to pay for training a lifeguard, but if someone is interested in completing the training and working at the city beach this summer they need to contact city hall as soon as possible, said Mergen.

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