Aldermen may take total control of parks, disbanding Parks Commission

By Linda Trest, Staff Writer
Posted 1/15/20

Ward 1 Alderman Angela Koepke is the aldermanic representative to the Parks Commission. She is tasked with forwarding information to the other aldermen concerning that commission.

When the …

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Aldermen may take total control of parks, disbanding Parks Commission

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Ward 1 Alderman Angela Koepke is the aldermanic representative to the Parks Commission. She is tasked with forwarding information to the other aldermen concerning that commission.

When the aldermen met last Thursday, Jan. 9, Koepke expressed frustration with the Parks Commission. She noted that children are often present at the meetings, creating disruptions. She said that the same things have been appearing on the agenda each month with no action taken on them.

“Unless another organization will step forward to help, there will be no Easter Egg Hunt this year,” Koepke told the board. In the past, the Parks Commission has sponsored the annual event.

The Parks Commission met last Tuesday in a meeting attended by Koepke. She said minutes from a previous meeting were not properly presented.

Nancy Richardson, chairman of the Parks Commission, resigned the day after the meeting, Jan. 8, according to City Clerk Stephanie Lusk.

Koepke said that the resignation, added to an ongoing vacancy, meant there were only two members, other than herself, serving. That is not enough to reach a quorum. She noted that attempts to reach a man who had volunteered to serve, were unsuccessful.

Ward 2 Alderman Ed Adams said that it was hard to find anyone to serve. He asked Dave Struebel, city attorney if they needed to have a Parks Commission, “Could it just be unstaffed? Or could we change the code and eliminate it?”

Struebel told the aldermen that he didn’t think the city had to have a Parks Commission.

Public Works Director Nick Grube noted that his department handles most of the day-to-day operations of the parks.

Adams suggested the city look into the possibility of eliminating the Parks Commission and letting the Board of Aldermen assume the decision making process for the parks.

No firm decision was made.

A few years ago, what was once known as the Park Board (that had control of spending money in the park), became the Parks Commission which is an advisory board only. The membership of the board was also reduced to four citizen members and the aldermanic representative. This change occurred when the city attorney at the time, Steven Lucas, discovered the board/commission had been incorrectly set up since its beginning. Lucas and Struebel are both from the law firm Cunningham, Vogel & Rost, P.C.

Since that time, the board has struggled to retain members or to move their agenda forward.

Anyone willing to serve on the Parks Commission can call Lusk at 573-764-3340 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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