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Paynesville Press - August 15, 2001

Raft removed from city beach

By Michael Jacobson

The swimming raft at Veteran's Memorial Park was removed last week by city workers. The city council approved the removal from the city park after hearing reports of roughhousing on the raft.

"It's to the point that it's definitely dangerous," said Ron Mergen, co-interim city administrator to the city council at their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Mergen told the council that he had received reports of roughhousing on the raft from the general public and members of the city's park committee.

Roughhousing has apparently been worse without the presence of lifeguards. The city beach has had lifeguards since the 1950s, but the city did not hire any this year after struggling to find lifeguards for the past few years.

"If we're not going to have lifeguards, we shouldn't have a raft," added Mergen.

"If there's a lot of roughhousing, then it probably should be pulled," agreed council member Harlan Beek.

The city will include money for lifeguards in its budget for the coming year, Mergen told the board, so the hiring of lifeguards for the beach could be revisited.

So far, though, the city hasn't heard many comments.

"If people are unhappy, then we should look at getting lifeguards next year," said Beek.

The council approved removing the raft unanimously.

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