TRF applies for grants for two parks

by April Scheinoha

    The city of Thief River Falls is applying for $356,000 in matching grants for two city parks. The Thief River Falls City Council approved the grant applications at its meeting Tuesday, March 7.
    The city is applying for a $188,000 matching grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for improvements at Annie Street Park. It is also applying for a $168,000 matching grant for improvements at Ole Engelstad Park. The city would be required to provide half of the funds for each grant.
    If approved, the Annie Street Park grant will fund a playground, bathroom facility, sidewalks and parking. The other grant would cover the cost of reconstructing the tennis courts at Ole Engelstad Park.
    Two weeks earlier, the council approved applying for a similar $143,000 matching grant for a splash park at Bill LaFave Park.
    A potential performance appraisal was removed from the agenda before the council meeting started. The initial council agenda included closing the meeting to conduct such an appraisal of Parks and Recreation Director Joe Amundson.
    That matter came two weeks after Amundson was grilled at a council meeting about failing to apply for grants.
    The Management, Administration, Professional and Supervisory union met with the Labor Committee regarding performance appraisals prior to the council meeting.
    In January 2016, the council changed the city’s organizational chart. As a result, the council serves as the department leaders’ immediate supervisor.
    City Council approved adopting the strategic plan. The plan identifies the priorities of financial stability, systematic infrastructure investment, healthy work culture and training, maximized recreational assets, inclusive and collaborative governance, and a vibrant economy.
    In a separate, related motion, the council approved directing City Administrator Rod Otterness to follow through with the strategic plan.
    The council approved a taxi license to Gary Hoffman doing business as River City Taxi. The taxi license was effective starting Wednesday, March 8.
    The next meeting is scheduled Tuesday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.