Parks still keeping busy

For employees of Minot Park District and the commissioners on its board, the impending winter will not mean a period of hibernation.

“It doesn’t slow down a bit,” parks director Ron Merritt said Tuesday evening at the monthly meeting of the Minot Park Board.

At last moving past the majority of its flood recovery, the department is already busied with new projects and facility improvements in the community.

“It’s going to be busier than it’s been,” promised commissioner Cliff Hovda, adding that the hard work of the district’s personnel has allowed them to move ahead with confidence.

Along with commissioner Robert Petry, Hovda recommended the provisional promotion of Souris Valley Golf Course assistant superintendent Mike Crest. It was decided Crest would serve as interim course superintendent for a duration of one year, to be revisited next November.

“We feel you need a whole season to do that properly,” said Hovda, who also chairs the board’s golf committee.

Having been with the department for 29 years, in approving his promotion commissioners expressed confidence that Crest would be an asset to the course’s future.

A final decision on who will fill the newly created position of golf operations manager was tabled for a later meeting, with salary and responsibility details still being worked out. At the moment, course manager and professional Steve Kottsick is filling many of the position’s roles.

The fruits of this year’s recovery efforts at Oak Park were also noted positively, with overgrowth around Camp Owetti trimmed back, progress being made on an educational nature playground, and preparations under way for Minot Sertoma Club’s annual “Christmas in the Park” display, which will be available to view the day after Thanksgiving.

“I think it’s going to be another instance of something coming out of the flood better than it was,” said Connie Feist, who urged her fellow commissioners to check the park out before it snows.

The Girl Scouts building at Camp Owetti should finally get some fixing as well. Four bids were received by Nov. 6 for its renovation, which will include new windows, doors, flooring, cabinetry, and siding. Initially estimated at $138,500, the low bid was awarded to Hight Construction at $153,727, which includes a $7,000 contingency.

Another bid came in higher than estimated, for work on the grandstand and winter warming house at Corbett Field. Estimated at $408,250, the low bid came in from Rolac Contracting at $539,650. Despite the maintenance department’s recommendation that the project be rebid as two separate items, the board moved to accept it so the project could move forward. Also considered was the cost of rebidding, which could run between $6,000 and $9,000; in addition to delays, there would be no guarantees the bids would come back any lower.

“It’s happened time and time again,” Feist complained of what seems to be more consistently inaccurate estimates. Commissioners questioned whether they ought to reevaluate the terms on which their work estimates are being figured.

In the Foundation portion of the meeting, the board agreed to front money from its retained earnings for the costs to buy a new scoreboard at Corbett Field, which with installation should run $128,000. Marketing director Elly DesLauriers explained that the $23,000 sponsor fees meant to pay for the scoreboard are too large for companies to pay for in one sitting, recommending the board allow the fees to be paid in more manageable $4,600 installments over five years. The plan is to have it up and keeping score by spring.

The board also approved minutes from its last meeting, bills amounting to $557,342 and salaries of $129,900, a pair of alcohol permits for Maysa Arena, and a proposal by Roosevelt Park Zoo to raise its Outreach fees to $25 across the board, doing away with package discounts and certain exemptions.

It also gave its blessing for DesLauriers to apply for grant funding that would pay for two phases of improvements at Centennial Park, a $634,000 project that would see the creation of multiuse trails and a disc golf course at the still-undeveloped site.