February 1, 2012 | LXXI, No. 44

Town approves park district funds

The Coulee Area Park & Recreation District got the $11,000 it asked for from Coulee Dam’s hotel/motel fund as a result of discussions last Wednesday night.

While talking about how vague some of the detail was in developing North Dam Park as a tourist spot, Councilmember Karl Hjorten said it was like “taking bad medicine.”

But the recreation entity got some praise also when Hjorten and fellow Councilmember Ben Alling both stated that Phil Hansen, chair of the district, had supplied fairly good documentation for being the first year that it had control of North Dam Park. Hjorten and Alling sit on the council’s committee that handles hotel/motel funds, which must be used to promote tourism.

Both gave a report from a visit with the state auditor concerning the use of hotel/motel funds.

Alling stated that the auditor advised caution. Hjorten said the auditor didn’t say the town was doing anything wrong, “or for that matter that we were doing things right.”

“We’ve appropriated the money and I think we should provide it,” Councilmember Bob Poch stated.

Hjorten said assisting the recreation group keeps interest in the area, and “we’re probably okay for this year.”

Town Clerk Carol Visker stated that the town could probably expect more complete documentation this year from the district.

CAPRD took over North Dam Park in July last year after weeds had grown three to four feet tall and the usual green grass was a dirty brown. The three communities that collect hotel/motel tax money stepped up to the plate and put in $10,000 each, and the park survived and several events were staged there.

“The auditor stated that we need to document that we are going outside the area to attract visitors, and show that the majority are coming from at least 50 miles away,” Alling said.

All three towns, Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee and Electric City have put funds in their budgets for the park group for this year’s North Dam Park maintenance and tourist activities.

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