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Park rentals figured out

After a long time of back and forth, Cornell Mill Yard and Brunet Falls City (Main Street) parks now have pavilion rental agreements in place, where everyone pays a fee to reserve the pavilions for an event, public or private. The Public Health and Safety Committee finalized the plans at a meeting May 19, with approval from the Cornell City Council May 21.

“So, we started this when there was questioning over tax exempt – who is tax exempt, who is not, who pays, who doesn’t – and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of making the agreement,” said Ashley Carothers, committee chair and council member.

Prior to this, the city park had no rental in place at all, while Mill Yard’s pavilion saw limited rental guidelines. Floyd Hickethier, committee member and council member, said some regulations were needed, otherwise reserving the Mill Yard was a mess.

“That’s what it is right now,” said Hickethier.

Once the multiple discussions had taken place, the committee agreed on a $40/day, plus $40 deposit, reservation fee for the Mill Yard Park pavilion. The smaller city park now has a $20/day, plus $40 deposit fee.

With the rental agreement, the lessee is responsible for cleaning the pavilion following its use, including placement of trash in the outside trash barrels. If the area is satisfactorily cleaned, the lessee will have the deposit returned.

Carothers said there was a lot of confusion as to who should have fees waived when renting the pavilion.

“I, personally, didn’t think it was fair to taxpayers to continue to pay for cleanups and this other stuff,” said Carothers, “when there’s no proof that you are an actual non-profit or special organization. So, this will fix it.”

See CORNELL PARK RENTALS/ Page 3 City administrator Dave DeJongh said if a group doesn’t sign up to reserve the Mill Yard pavilion, there’s no guarantee the building will be free for use and the kitchen will not be open.

Terry Smith, council member, says now that the rental agreement is straightened out, the city needs to continue to raise rental fees higher, as the pavilion is in a prime location. Carothers agreed, stating that is something that will be looked at for the future.

“That will be on our next to-do (list),” she said.