Superior commission approves 2024 park projects

Nov. 20—The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has a plan for improving the city's parks and outdoor recreational spaces in 2024.

The Parks and Recreation Commission approved spending about $650,000 for projects in the coming year.

Planned improvements include finishing the Woodstock Bay access project and Carl Gullo Park; addressing invasive species; trail improvements in the Superior Municipal Forest; water access and a drinking fountain at the dog park; a security camera pilot project to monitor the most vandalized park facilities in Superior; a plumbed restroom and drinking fountain in Webster Dream Park; and enclosures around portable toilets.

However, commissioners altered the plan slightly by reducing funding for benches and a sign kiosk at the Municipal Forest Disc Golf Course and eliminating funding for trash cans and benches for one year to pay for the most cost-effective camera pilot project over the next 10 years.

The city is planning to install 15 cameras in areas of the park system that experience high incidences of vandalism, said Linda Cadotte, parks, recreation and forestry director. She said the system the city plans to use keeps data collected in the cloud for 30 days, so monitoring isn't required. When the parks department is notified of vandalism occurring during a certain time frame, she said the system is searchable to find a snapshot that can be sent to the police department for investigation.

"It's really user-friendly," Cadotte said of the system that will cost $31,000 for a 10-year license. A three-year license would have cost the city $18,000, Cadotte said.

"I will admit, I would rather just fund it for 10 years," councilor Nicholas Ledin said.

However, proposals that weren't even on the list of projects garnered the most discussion.

Commissioner Gene Rosburg proposed adding a restroom at the dog park that could also serve campers if the city created a free campground adjacent to the parking lot on North 28th Street that serves the Superior Municipal Forest.

Cadotte said she would like to see a lodge or nature center in that area eventually, and building bathrooms could complicate that.

"There is definitely a desire for more camping and RV(ing), and what they call 'van life,'" Cadotte said.

Commissioners agreed to add exploring sites for camping and RVing to list of projects to consider in the future.

They also added the skate park and pump track design and build to the list of projects for future consideration.

Ledin asked for the unfunded line item after receiving a letter from a boy in Superior about the condition of the skate park and investigating his concerns.

"I would have a hard time trying to figure out what to cut at this point," Ledin said.

Built in 2000 and 2001, Cadotte said the infrastructure underneath the ramps is all wood and deteriorating; lights are an inappropriate height; and the security gate doesn't work anymore.

"If we don't do something to improve it, we're going to lose it," councilor Right Ludwig said. She asked if it would be appropriate to seek proposals to design a new skate park.

Cadotte said it would be more appropriate to wait until they know what the public wants in the design.

"We've gotten a lot of push in the overall comprehensive plan about biking," Cadotte said. "Is this an opportunity to look at a pump track and get all of those bikes off the skate park?"

A pump track is a circuit of banked turns, rollers and features designed to be ridden by people generating momentum through up-and-down body movements rather than pedaling.

Cadotte said it could be an opportunity to do both a skate park and a separate pump track for bicycles.

The council will consider the project plan when it meets Dec. 5.