Grand Forks Park Board backs river recreation ideaGrand Forks Park Board members have warmed considerably toward supporting Ground Up Adventures and its Red River boathouse project.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
Grand Forks Park Board members have warmed considerably toward supporting Ground Up Adventures and its Red River boathouse project.
The remaining question is how many dollars of subsidy will result from the warming. Andy Magness, the Ground Up organizer, is asking for $15,000 over the first three years of operation to get the project rolling. Board President Jay Panzer and other commissioners agreed Tuesday to wait until November’s board meeting to decide on an amount.
“I’ve never been against it; I’ve just never wanted to own or operate it,” Panzer said about previous proposals for park district involvement.
“I like the idea, especially if it involves youth. There are always kids who don’t do mainstream sports. Keeping those kids involved in an active lifestyle in other ways makes a lot of sense.”
Ground Up’s plan is to provide canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for rent on the Red River, operating out of a boathouse just north of the Sorlie Bridge, on city-owned land. The facility will be constructed out of shipping containers. They will be stored each fall and reinstalled after the floodwaters recede.
Ground Up will own the facility and the equipment, hire and manage the attendants and implement the programming. The $15,000 would include $8,000 the first year, $5,000 the second and $2,000 in the third.
“We’re looking to cover operating expenses as we build interest and grow the program,” Magness said. “We need to show that the river is safe and give us time to gain a lot of users. We think it’s a great way to invigorate the community.”
Commissioner Molly Soeby said many cities along a river use it for recreation. “It’s something different that will draw people,” she said. “Before, (board members) were concerned with the liability issue.”
Magness launched the idea more than two years ago and gained support gradually since. Earlier this year, he received permission from the city for the boathouse location and received a $24,000 state grant for the project.
“This fits in with what we do,” Commissioner Tim Skarperud said.
Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to email@example.com.