Welcome to another season of Parks & Recreation!
It’s hard to even begin thinking about winter, when Minnesota is now having the best weather of the year. I love fall! Right now Owatonna truly exemplifies the tagline ~ “The City of Friendliness and Beautiful Parks”…these near-perfect temperatures get neighbors and community members outside to exercise, play and interact with each other. And have you seen our parks lately? The crew has put in a lot of work to recover from our unstable summer of wet, then dry, then wet…and have them in beautiful shape. And in the next few weeks, the fall colors will be in full swing. I certainly hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the crisp breeze and beautiful scenery!
Talking about scenery…I’ll take this as the perfect time to remind you that you have until Friday, October 31st to enter the Owatonna Photo Contest. There are three different categories and a people’s choice winner. Whether you enjoy snapping away at historic sites, landmarks, or wildlife, beautiful scenery and people enjoying the parks; there are plenty of opportunities around town! Get those kids out there with a camera too…there’s a special category for 17 and under.
This brochure has us looking ahead to some very popular returning programs, some “new & improved” programs and MANY new programs. Be sure to take a look at SeniorPlace programming. They are finding some amazing ways to have intergenerational programs…we hope you give them a try!
We’re also looking ahead to some great new events for the whole family! A couple big ones are the Trick or Treat Trail on October 25, Darn Near Full Moon Festival on January 4 and the Boot Hockey tournament on February 7. Our staff is working hard to come up with new, exciting, family friendly activities! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let us know.
In the same way we look ahead to offer our programs, we find this as a time to look back at our past year and take inventory of what we did well and things we can change. Status quo is not what you should expect from our department, so along with staff members and the Park Board, we are looking at changes for 2015!
We tried a few new things last year and have learned a few things!
Munchkin Market, where youth are able to have their own garage sale table, was a HUGE success! We had 40 kids participate, many people buying, and lots of entertainment. Bark & Rec was another new adventure, and we had more than 500 people and pooches visit vendors. We already have disc dogs lined up for this year’s event! Munchkin Market and Bark & Rec are combining forces this year, and both will be held on April 25. Boat & Water Safety was another success, with youth and adults learning what they can do in water emergencies, and youth working toward their certificates to operate boats and jet skis.
This year was also our first year to have four brochures. We did this so that you can have more timely and accurate information. We realize and understand that this was quite a change from the past and we will be tweaking this process in 2015 so that our deadlines and seasons match a little better. Thank you for bearing with us through this, and please feel free to offer suggestions.
On the facility side, three HUGE successes were (don’t even ask me to put them in order, they’re all great!).
The Patio at Brooktree – what an amazing place to hang out with friends, golfer or not! You can’t beat great food and great conversation!
The Clubhouse Playground at Manthey Park – we’re excited to have the first one of these playgrounds in the entire state! With equipment appropriate for ages 2 and up, it’s a great place to take the kids.
The Dog Park at Lake Chase – we were so happy to find a way to repurpose fencing and other items that we had, to make this a reality! It had been in the plan for many years, but always seemed to be cut from the budget. I just wish we had a visitor count of how many pups explore the park each day…I’m sure it would be out of this world!
We hope that you are enjoying the ease of using our registration program, MaxSolutions! We’ve just completed our first full year with the program and have had a huge increase in the amount of people registering on-line now that there is no additional fee. Max has allowed us to keep in touch better with our customers through e-mails we can focus to customers with certain interests of past program participants.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out and like our Facebook pages: Owatonna Parks & Recreation, Owatonna SeniorPlace, Brooktree Golf Course, River Springs Water Park, and our latest page, Owatonna Dog Park (be sure to click on the one with the Park & Rec logo). And, for all of our up to date information, add our website to your favorites!
Enjoy this Fall in your parks and get ready for the many winter activities!
Director of Parks, Recreation and Government Buildings
Owatonna Parks & Recreation Mission Statement
The City of Owatonna Park and Recreation Department shall provide a viable, broad-based source of recreational services and facilities serving all residents of the community. The department shall develop and maintain programs to meet the needs of all persons. The department further shall keep itself aware of the needs of the users through ongoing evaluation and assessment.