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Park Board ponders campground rules

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The Mason City Park Board met Tuesday night and heard concerns about the MacNider Campground.

One concern the board heard was of long-term campers staying for weeks on end at the campground.  It was said that many campers stay at MacNider for extended periods of time despite the fact there is a “two-week rule” in effect, which states that a camper can only stay for two weeks and then must leave for two weeks before coming back.

Interim Recreation Director Brian Pauly indicated he was in favor of enforcing the rule.  It was also said that many long-term campers are “good tenants” and there was concern of driving them to other campgrounds by enforcing the rule.  City Administrator Brent Trout, when asked his opinion, told the board this was a “philosophical decision” about how they run their business and suggested the board think on their decision, which they agreed to do until a later date when Pauly can present more options.

The MacNider Campground is tentatively set to open around April 20th, 2012, under new management.

The board heard a proposal from Ozzie Ohl of Mason City regarding a new sledding hill, which he would like to have constructed in Georgia Hanford Park on Mason City’s south side.  He would raise the funds privately for the project, he told the board.

Ohl had the support of Chris Watts, who has been working as a volunteer to make improvements to Georgia Hanford Park as well as his neighborhood on 19th Street SW.  Watts told the board he would like a second shelter house built at the park,  a full-size basketball court, and possibly lights added to the ball diamond there.  Watts heads up and collects donations from citizens and businesses for the Georgia Hanford Neighborhood Association.

The board heard an update on the dog park.  Funds are still being raised and local architect Ed Wineinger is drawing up plans for the park.

A Vision Iowa plaque will be installed in Central Park in Mason City, commemorating that project.  See video below for more details.

The Mason City Recreation Department offices are getting ready for their move to Washington School.  Those personnel will be sharing the building with Charlie Brown Daycare.  The Rec. Department is currently renting offices at Mohawk Square.  The renovation of space at the school is costing over $20,000 but will save the department money over the long-run, according to Pauly.  “The rent is much lower but we have to pay some utility costs,” he said.  Pauly said he thinks his staff can be in the new offices sometime in March.  More on this story later.

A change order from Henkel Construction for the project was considered by the board.  The change order is for a bathroom that must be made ADA compliant (Americans with Disabilities.)  The cost over-run is $6817.00.  The board approved the change order.

Watch video:

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