BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Rhinelander’s city parks have been a topic of conversation the past six months or so. How the parks should be utilized and who should make the decisions has been discussed at city council and committee meetings, letters to editors and even comments on social media.
A task force charged with among other things, gathering opinions and thoughts, furthering discussion and prioritizing suggestions had its first public engagement event last weekend at Rhinelander Chamber’s Home and Lifestyle Show. Myles Alexander, Community, Natural Resources and Economic Development Educator with UW-Extension Oneida County, leads the volunteers who make up the Rhinelander Parks Public Engagement Task Force. He said he was pleased with their first efforts.
“We handed out information, and task force members had some pretty in-depth conversations with people,” said Alexander. “Even if they didn’t stop or talk, it’s important that more and more people know the task force is in action.”
Home Show attendees were asked to complete a parks survey; Alexander said 88 were returned. Also important to the task force is for people to learn to talk amongst themselves and understand each other’s priorities.
“Most people are familiar with speaking out at public hearings or meetings,” Alexander said. “People will know what will work once they hear from each other. It’s important to have those conversations.”
Anyone living in Oneida County can take the survey, by visiting this website. First-time users will need to register, which Alexander said is necessary to document participation.
There will be more public engagement opportunities for the task force, with the next event slated for April 18 and 20 at Rhinelander High School.