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Park & Rec Board mtg April 15 2024

Regular scheduled Park & Recreation Board meeting held on April 15, 2024, in City Hall, Ely. Note: the May 20th meeting will be held in Whiteside Park. Board Member Todd Crego filmed the meeting tonight but there is no known public broadcast date. Park & Rec couldn’t take actions or vote until they had a quorum (10:50 minutes into the clip), but they could hear presentations. ALL the Commissioners and Council Rep Adam Bisbee were actively involved throughout the meeting with good questions and comments.

Link to YouTube is at the end of this post. Highlights of tonight’s meeting with time markers:

0:55 – 26:00 minutes – Ozzie Reif & John Scully updated about the North Country Trail. Listen to discussions about trail town committee, designated route through Ely (need to double check with Police Dept), cedar bogs, routes per maps, and trail possibly going entering private property.

Safety equipment: saddle, chains, etc.

Dutchman Tree Service proposal with YouTube clip. Good Q&A afterwards.
Safety equipment: helmet, etc.

26:15 – 55:00 Dutchman Tree Service (DTS) proposed a new kids tree climbing activity for the 4th of July at Whiteside Park this summer. The Young Life group was all excited about tree climbing. DTS played a YouTube video demonstrating all the specialized safety equipment needed. Please listen carefully to questions posed to and responses by DTS There are many issues about kids’ age/height/size, safety, first aid response, liability, staffing, kid-sized equipment, required insurance, popularity, time for kids to be properly suited up, training, and actual time to attempt the climb (not all will be physically able to finish). Listen to comments about physical challenge. DTS needs to obtain more info about special liability and insurance as well as purchase appropriate equipment for kids. When will the 4th of July committee organizers review this? The Park & Rec Board scheduled their May 20th meeting for Whiteside Park, so DTS can demonstrate with real kids on the one tree in Whiteside that meets their needs. The May 20th meeting is open to the public.

55:00 – 1:27:12 The President of the Ely Little League Board requested and the Park & Rec recommended to Council that the City of Ely fund the resupply of baseball dirt for their field. There was much discussion and many questions about payments for water and electricity, building improvements, maintenance of the field, replacements of equipment, etc. Little League is very interested in cooperating with many others who use water, electricity, field, building, etc. They donate a considerable amount of their money, time and energy for kids and field/structure improvements. . . But how much should they really pay? How much should others pay? How much should the City pay? More discussion is needed and a list made. EUC should be able to provide details about concession stand usage and billing. Little League’s first practice is May 2nd.

1:27:12 – 1:36:40 Discussion of Kata Goalen’s mural project proposal. The Board decided to suggest the artist contact NLAA directly.

Park & Recreation website has the most inclusive and visionary statement out of all the City of Ely’s websites.

1:36:40 – Discussion about the Comprehensive Plan. The Rec Center and other sites/facilities were not listed. Activities such as biking should be added. Wordage recommendations were made as to Park & Rec’s role to provide, maintain and promote a wide range of recreational opportunities.

Earlier, the Chair Morgan Sauls voiced 3 other key words: fair, equal and affordable.

FM side note: Should the Park & Rec Board (and the whole City) consider expanding their VISION beyond just humans seeking work and play in Ely? How about appreciating, respecting, promoting, and protecting spaces for all the awesome animals and plants that are also “residents” or “tourists” who work, play and raise their “kids” here? Their existence is stressed and imperiled by human activities. Where is a broad VISION statement about City-wide (lawns, homes, parks, and designated open areas) habitat protection, restoration, and promotion of non-toxic sustainable practices to promote pollinators? How could Lawns to Legumes (Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources) become park of the City’s vision? The Park & Rec Board can actually recommend Planning & Zoning and City Council (re)designate and (permanently) set aside spaces for Park & Recreation with the intention to preserve habitats for non-humans. Why is there no mention of Earth Month?

FM side note: Should the Park & Rec Board (and the whole City) consider expanding their VISION beyond traditional “active” recreational activities? What about considering and promoting more “passive” and individual or small group activities? For example, birding or going wildlife and nature observations by groups such as the Ely Field Naturalists. Healthy life-style exercise hints (signage) or equipment in parks or on trails. Dog parks.

FM side note: Should the Ely Senior Center recreational activities NOT be included in Park & Recreation’s VISION? The statement posted above from the Ely City website seems to include, not exclude, more passive-type activities that many seniors engage in.

Earlier in the evening, the Chair Morgan Sauls voiced 3 key words about recreational opportunities: fair, equal and affordable. How much money (actual dollar amounts and percentages) of designated Park & Rec funds are annually spent on different active and passive recreational activities? What were/are the goals to serve and improve the quality of life of all ages, backgrounds, and physical abilities?

Not all groups and individuals are loud, proactive or politically astute to voice their interests, much less lobby, for funding or support for their activities from the City and Park & Rec Board. Should they be ignored, discounted, or approached as part of an inclusive outreach.

Ely MN Park & Rec Board meeting on Monday, April 15, 2024

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