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Posted to Park and Rec Staff Blog by Jessica Abrahams
Author: Jessica Abrahams, Administrative Technician
It’s hard to believe a year ago we were leading normal lives with no masks, social distancing or gathering restrictions. We were starting to hear about COVID, but I don’t think any of us thought it was going to impact our lives as much as it has over the past year. That normal life we were experiencing this time last year, quickly changed to something none of us have ever experienced before or could even begin to predict. It quickly became a time when we didn’t know what to expect the next day, when we couldn’t do the normal activities that kept us busy, active and engaged, and when being around family and friends went from something we enjoyed to something that was seen as dangerous and forbidden.
Luckily, one thing that didn’t change around this time last year was Mother Nature. Mother Nature still provided a spring for us and the Owatonna parks and trails became essential to the well-being of the citizens. The parks and trails were filled with people looking for a safe way to escape the confines of their homes. While our park maintenance crew was busy keeping the parks and trails maintained for your use last spring and summer, the rest of the Park and Rec staff was busy coming up with creative ways to keep you engaged, active and happy throughout a pandemic.
If I had to choose a theme for the Owatonna Parks and Recreation department this past year, I’d have to say it’s resilience. While many of the communities around us threw in the towel with programming and opening facilities, such as water parks; our department didn’t give up and found creative ways to offer programs and open our facilities. We offered many online activities to keep you engaged during the stay at home orders such as online puzzles, a Park Madness tournament, a joke hotline and online BINGO to name a few. We also offered contests and activities to get you outdoors and stay active like our Virtual Easter Egg Hunt, Chalk Your Walk and a Virtual 5K. We didn’t skip a beat with programming either, we offered most all of our summer programming such as Little League Baseball, Summer Camps, and Adult Softball. We made modifications to be able to open the water park and gave you the option of spending a sunny afternoon cooling off in the water. Something else that we offered to help keep you engaged and active this summer was our equipment rentals at Lake Kohlmier. Many of you might have tried kayaking or paddle boarding for the first time last summer and now maybe it’s a new hobby for you.
We did our part in keeping you engaged and active during shutdowns, stay at home orders and throughout the whole pandemic. We took our passion for providing you a better quality of life and turned that passion into action. We made modifications, we planned and replanned over and over, we worked together and didn’t give up in providing you all the services we could to help your well-being and feel somewhat normal during the most unfamiliar of times. We heard bad news after bad news but were still able to make something good come of this past year. I’d say that encompasses resilience to the highest degree.
Meet Our New Director
Greetings, I’m Jenna Tuma the new Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Owatonna! My first day was February 8, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Owatonna team and leading the Parks and Recreation Department.
A little bit about myself, I graduated from Northfield High School, grew up in the rural Webster area, and I currently live in Prior Lake. I’ve been in the Parks and Recreation field for over 20 years and feel like I won the lottery by finding this career! I worked for Three Rivers Park District for 20 years managing the parks in Scott County and recently worked for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; both are outstanding organizations. Becoming a Director of a Parks and Recreation Department has been a career goal of mine and I look forward to sharing my knowledge to help evolve the park system here.
My 6-month goal is to get to know the staff, the parks and meet the residents, users and stakeholders to work on ways to collaborate to continue building an exceptional park system for the community. I look forward to meeting you! If you’d like to contact me my email Jenna.email@example.com or call me at 507/744-7361.
Youth Spring Registration 2
March 10 to March 18
Youth Summer Registration
May 3 to 12
Adult Softball – Registration Now Open
We are now taking registrations for Adult Softball! Men’s and Co-Rec leagues are available. You can find season information on our online catalog on our website, under Adult Activities. The process of registering a team and paying a player fee is a little different this year. To register a team, visit our online catalog, follow the instructions under the Account Setup tab if you need to create your account. Sign up and pay for your team online, under Adult Activities. You can also sign up and pay in person at the Park & Rec Office. The team registration deadline is March 18 at 4:30pm.
Lifeguard Training –Registration Now Open
The purpose of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course is to provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatics emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. Register by calling the Owatonna Parks and Recreation Office 507-444-4321 or by registering online using the Owatonna Parks and Rec registration website.
Option 1: March 22nd-26th (All days 9:00am-1:00pm)
Option 2: April 24-27 (24th 8:00am-3:30pm, 25th 8:00am-3:30pm, 27th 7:00pm-9:30pm)
Option 3: May 8-11 (8th 8:00am-3:30pm, 9th 8:00am-3:30pm, 11th 7:00pm-9:30pm)
Option 4: June 14th-18th (All days 8:00am-1:00pm)
Registration for March 1-4 and March 8-11 is now open. Registration can be made over the phone by calling 507-774-7105 or by registering online. Cost: 3-day class $15.00 per week or 2-day class $10.00 per week. Visit the West Hills Tennis & Fitness Center website for available classes.
We are now hiring for a variety of seasonal positions. Many different duties and flexible hours available! Visit the City of Owatonna’s website and click on Employment for information and to apply.
Posted to Public Works - Engineering Updates by Anna Schwichtenberg
Post Office Sidewalk: Work is planned to start on Tuesday September 22nd on the sidewalk replacement at the SE corner of Broadway and Elm. Pedestrian traffic will need to route around the work, the roadways will remain open during construction. Access to the Post Office will be provided from the alley to the east.
Truman Avenue: A virtual neighborhood meeting with be held at 5:00 on Tuesday September 22nd to discuss the Truman Avenue Project. This project involves the reconstruction of Truman Avenue from Havana Road to Main Street in 2021. A sidewalk will be installed on the east side of the roadway. Information is available on the City’s website to attend this virtual meeting.