Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Jan. 29, 2001

What needs work? Howard Lake seeks citizen input

By Lynda Jensen

New playground equipment, a boat launch, better water quality - these are just a handful of items that the city of Howard Lake may discuss during its open house Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 5-8 p.m. at the community center in Howard Lake.

The city wants to hear what's wrong with how things are now, Administrator Doug Borglund said. "We need direction from the community so that we can carry it out in our daily process."

"Good or bad (comments or issues)," Borglund said. "Whatever it is, we want to know."

The invitation is open for all residents and "country folks" living in townships to attend the meeting, said Mayor Gerry Smith.

The city's development will involve township residents because growth will probably mean annexations and that kind of activity, Smith said.

"As far as I'm concerned, if they consider Howard Lake their town, then they should come," Smith said.

Smith even visited with fourth graders at Humphrey Elementary Thursday to solicit their input about city development (see story at right).

The students gave some very good ideas, Smith said.

The important thing is that the students talked about the community as one entity together, and not their own individual desires, he said.

"The common denominator was that they talked about the community as a total family - a total town," Smith said.

"Not one talked about themselves," he said.

For example, students asked Smith about equipment for smaller children - things they could not use themselves.

Subjects such as roads and trails, sidewalks, park improvements, and a spectrum of other subjects may be discussed, depending on what is made a priority by residents who attend.

Development through the eyes of fourth graders

When Joan Johnson, a fourth grade teacher at Humphrey Elementary, had her students read a story about an old building being torn down in a fictional town, she couldn't help but think how much it sounded like the former Werner Building in Howard Lake.

In the story, City Green, a young girl witnesses an old building being torn down because it was unsafe, and visits with the former tenants who remember living there. The empty lot is converted into a garden.

Johnson discussed the story, which was written by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, with her students as part of the reading class.

She asked them what they thought should be built on the lot where the Werner building stood.

The children drafted their own building plans and wrote about what they wanted built (their answers are printed at the end of this story).

The students turned over their ideas and blueprints to Mayor Gerry Smith, who met with the class to discuss city development Thursday.

The blueprints and ideas are on display at the Howard Lake Public Library and the Community Room.

"It kind of grew," Johnson said of the idea. She wanted to make an impression on the children by applying the book to their everyday lives, she said.

Nineteen students from her class visited the empty lot. The city plans to put a new building on the lot with a retail or commercial business on the main floor, and rental units above it.

The children's ideas are as follows:

By Raechel Gustafson

I think that we should put an arcade and a roller rink in the empty lot because the roads are hard to roller skate and roller blade on. Loads of people like to roller blade. It would be so much fun.

There would be tables to eat at. In the arcade, there would be games and you would have to buy tokens to play the games. You would get tickets and when you get enough tickets you can pick out something you like from the prizes.

If you want to get something in return, you could get some of the money from the games. However, the best thing about building an arcade and a roller rink is that you and your family will have so much fun.

Something I forgot to tell you is that there would be a disco ball that has all different color lights in the roller rink. Sometimes it would get dark, but we could still see.

There would always be music playing like pop, rock, country and other music. Sometimes they could play games like roller limbo. There is a game in which you have two balls and you throw the balls trying to get someone, but you have to throw the balls lightly so you don't hurt someone. So, that's what I think should go in the empty lot.

By Jonathan Menden

I think they should build a swimming pool. It could be an indoor pool. It could have a big water slide. I think they need one because Howard Lake doesn't have one. It could not be very long, so the swimming pool wouldn't be so big. But they could tear down more buildings to make it bigger. So that is what I think they should do with the lot.

By Crystal Jones

I think we should make an arcade out of the empty lot.

I think that we can all use it and we could add on equipment with the money from the machines. Plus this town needs some places for kids to have fun in the area with games, instead of driving about 20 miles. Don't you agree? We could all pitch in to earn the money. It would be fun for parents, kids, and teenagers.

By Natasha Peterson

I think we should have a little park so it looks nice in the summer. People can go and enjoy themselves and have a good time. Do you want people to enjoy themselves? If you do, well, here's one thing you can do to have fun and enjoyment. Kids can have fun and play games and grownups can sit and talk while watching the kids.

By Nash Faulk

I think a basketball court should go in the lot because there are not many activity centers in Howard Lake. The bad thing about a basketball court is some people might not want it there. The good thing is some people might want it there to play on. I want hoops, benches to sit on, a cage around it, and a water fountain. That's what I want to go in the empty lot.

By Tony Horstman

I think we should make a car shop because we wouldn't need to tow your car or truck to a shop in Winsted or Waverly. There would be so many people in Howard Lake that need a car shop.

By Patricia Painschab

If I could redo the vacant lot, I would build a swimming pool. I would build benches for people to sit. I would put in a slide and a diving board. I would plant some trees and some flowers.

By Matthew Schmieg

I would make a McDonald's restaurant so people could eat good food and have fun. The people could buy cheap Chicken McNuggets and get to play in the Play Place. Families would come there and spend time together.

By Alex Mages

I think they should have a basketball court because we need a place to play and we don't have to cross a highway. I think it would cost about $800. It would be a good place to play because moms and dads can drop kids off and go shopping.

By Shanyce Everett

They can build a playground there because there is lots of space. Maybe there might be a lot of space and there can be a swimming pool, basketball court, and a new house. I think that there is a lot of space and my brother and I and other kids can come and play.

By Alix Greenhagen

I would like to build a roller rink with an arcade and a restaurant in the empty lot, because in Howard Lake they need a bit more activity. It can get boring in Howard Lake. People will have fun. You don't have to drive a long way to have fun, and adults, teenagers, and kids will all have fun.

By Kyle Simpson

I would build a restaurant because we hardly have any. I want the restaurant to be a Subway with a parking lot and some trees.

By Christina Schaible

I think we should put a swimming pool in the vacant lot because we have no pool in Howard Lake or Waverly. A city swimming pool would be awesome and fun. In the summer the lake has seaweed and it's green. A pool doesn't have seaweed or algae. Wouldn't it be great to have a pool in the summer?

By Kelsye Jones

I would like an arcade because there is nowhere for kids to get together and talk. It would keep kids off the streets. I know we already have a teen center, but it is above the bar and that is unsafe for kids. There would be a lot of money from the arcade. There could also be a little restaurant with some food and candy, too. There would be bathrooms, too. This sounds like a place I would want to go to. So, this is why I would like an arcade.

By Kevin Lent

They should have a video arcade. I think they should serve food, too. It should be food like hamburgers, french fries, and hot dogs. That's what kids like. All the kids will be playing the games and eating the food. My reasons are because the city doesn't have one and kids like games. It's a place where kids can go to have fun.

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