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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Parks, Recreation Director Marquardt Takes County Job

Dave Marquardt has resigned his position as the City of Peshtigo’s Parks and Recreation Director to accept a job as Assistant Parks Administrator for Marinette County. While his resignation will not be official until it is accepted by the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 7, concerns over his departure dominated much of the discussion at a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee on Thursday, April 25.

There also was long discussion on possible ways to solve problems with the on-line reservation system for campsites at Badger Park.

Committee members present were Aldermen Cathi Malke, chair, plus Mike Behnke and Brigitte Schmidt. Alderman Tom Gryzwa, Public Works Director George Cowell and Mayor Al Krizenesky were also on hand.

Malke said she had complaints from people who had gone onto the city’s web site to get a reservation but could not do it, or they get a campsite approved and then cannot pay for it. Deputy Clerk Vicki Koronkiewicz said she and Marquardt had worked on the reservation problems a couple of weeks ago and got it fixed. Parks and Recreation Secretary/Treasurer Rita Gilbertson has not done anything on the Internet, and the city site does not accept credit cards. People can select their camping spot and have five days to pay or the reservation is not held. Marquardt noted they do not actually have a reservation until it is confirmed and paid for.

Among solutions suggested were a laptop computer for the Badger Park office. Gryzwa was not enthused. “You have problems with park workers and cell phones,” he commented. “Just put a laptop out there!”

Behnke said the office is too often unmanned to risk having a laptop in it, and Marquardt declared keeping it manned is not cost effective. Behnke suggested they could have someone with a cell phone always working within sight of the office.

Major concern was that without good communication, a camper without reservations could easily come in and set up camp at a reserved site, but the committee does not want to discourage impromptu visitors overnight stays.

Behnke said Marinette County has a great on-line campsite reservation system, but it’s computer program was very expensive, while the Peshtigo web site costs $180 a year.

After much discussion on the reservation issue, as well as numerous concerns connected with Marquardt’s impending departure, Malke said she will call a special committee meeting as a workshop session to discuss how to handle things.

Malke thanked Marquardt for all the work he has done for the city, and asked him to provide a number of things before he leaves, including an inventory of parks equipment and where it is stored, a job description, a list of summer programs including instructors and contact people for baseball umpires, etc., and a review of Parks and Recreation work schedules, including ball fields, park attendant duties, areas for grass cutting, etc. Malke saw a need to make Parks maintenance workers more accountable. She asked committee members to bring in tasks they felt should be assigned to Parks workers for the next meeting, as well as suggestions for the director’s job description.

Gryzwa suggested once they have the lists in hand they need to have a workshop meeting to discuss how to handle things once Marquardt is gone, and Malke agreed. Krizenesky suggested they should select one of the adult parks workers to supervise while the Parks and Recreation Director position is vacant. Marquardt said he is certain Craig Morois would help out, but he does not want to take hours away from a high school or college kid who works for the department.

Marquardt and Cowell saw a need to put at least one Parks employee on the Menard’s charge card with authority to make short-notice purchases.

“You’re asking a lot,” Koronkiewicz commented when requests for Marquardt to provide information, work lists, job description and more kept piling up. She pointed out that there was no job description for the Parks and Recreation Director position when Marquardt started as an interim person in March of 2004. Marquardt reminded them he isn’t moving away, and can answer questions even after he starts his new job.

Turning to other matters, Gilbertson suggested they charge uniform rates for the bandshell and Badger Park pavilions. She said everyone from out of town has a friend or relative who lives in the city and rents it for them any way. Malke felt city residents should continue to get a price break anyway.

Installation of the sprinkler system for Riverfront Park will not start until June 1. Contractor Mike Frievalt of Crivitz has sold his landscape business, and the new owners want everything in place and planted before their lines go in. Marquardt said he had asked the contractor who is installing water lines to the remaining waterless campsites in Badger Park if they wanted to do the Riverfront Park project as well and they said no. Before the campground water lines work can start they must have a signed contract and permits from the state. Once all that is done the contractor will have 30 days to complete the project and then another 10 days to correct any problems discovered on a “punch list” inspection. A Plus Electric has ordered all the parts he needs for running power to the campsites that remain without electricity. Once this year’s water and electric installations are done all the campsites in Badger Park will have water and electric service.

Marquardt reported the Pepsi supplier has agreed to put a vending machine next to the park caretaker’s office. Malke wanted him to contact Coke to see who made the best offer. Gryzwa commented that Pepsi has the more popular Mountain Dew. There was no formal action.

Marquardt said some of the “potable water” signs needed for the park are ordered, but asked for direction as to what other types of signs the committee wants, particularly in regard to the newly improved beach and the buoys that will define the swimming area.

Malke said people used to shallow water need signs to warn them of the new depths now that the beach area has been dredged. Committee members felt the buoys will carry depth information for roped off areas. There should be signs cautioning that there is no lifeguard on duty.


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