By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE Lester Prairie Community Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz recently presented a report on park usage to the city council.
This is the third year he has prepared such a report, which he said is intended as a tool to help the city council in its planning.
“We hope it will help us understand how our facilities are being used so we can budget appropriately,” Birkholz said.
He noted that the focus of the report is on games and events that take place in the parks. It also includes educated guesses for events for which tickets are not sold.
Birkholz said the report will help the city identify trends in park usage, and this information can help not just with budgeting, but with planning activities.
For example, he said one area that has been increasing is participation in water aerobics at the city pool. As a result, the city is looking at ways to increase adult programming at the pool in response to the growing demand.
Birkolz estimates there were 28,773 visits to Lester Prairie parks in 2017.
His report breaks these visits into categories.
Birkholz estimates a total of 8,294 park visits for school-sponsored events. These include football, baseball, and softball games.
The report includes players, coaches, and spectators (based on an estimate of 1.5 spectators per player).
Birkholz estimates a total of 9,782 visits for summer baseball and softball.
The report includes pre-school, kindergarten, and mofified T-ball; boys’ and girls’ softball and baseball, and Legion baseball.
The report shows a total of 7,097 visits to the city pool for the three months it was open in 2017.
The highest usage was in June, with 3,092 visits, followed by July (2.855), and August (1,150).
The report takes into account general admission, group and private swimming lessons, water aerobics, and lap swimming.
In addition to athletic events, the report includes estimates for other miscellaneous events.
These include music in the park (six dates), Lions Club Easter egg hunt, National Night Out, Prairie Days, and Memorial Day, for a total of 3,600 visits.
The report does not include estimates for use of the disc golf course or playground equipment throughout the park system.