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Portage Parks and Rec offices moving to new quarters

January 25, 2018 GMT

Portage Parks and Recreation Manager Dan Kremer says he isn’t quite ready, yet, to pack up the contents of his desk – not to mention all the sports equipment stored in the back room – to move to new digs.

But that move is happening soon, and city officials say it’s about time all park-related employees worked under the same roof.

Starting Feb. 1, the offices of Kremer and Recreation Coordinator Mike Percy will be relocated from 806 Silver Lake Drive to the former water utility offices (now the parks maintenance offices) at West Slifer Street and Airport Road.

Most of the move will happen Jan. 31, Kremer said, which means he and Percy may be unreachable by phone throughout that day.

But Kremer said he thinks the public will like the new location, because it will have a lobby and reception desk, where they can be more comfortable when they come in to sign up for parks and recreation programs.

He’s also fairly sure it will be a much more satisfactory situation for himself, Percy and the three full-time maintenance employees.

“It will be much more efficient for staff meetings, going over task lists and planning our long-term work,” Kremer said.

City Administrator Shawn Murphy said the park maintenance employees, and their equipment, were moved to the old water offices this summer, when their dilapidated facilities on the Columbia County Fairgrounds were torn down.

The relocation will offer additional space for parks and recreation operations, including space for employee training. However, it will not have a community room, as the existing facility does.

Kremer said the karate classes that were held at the Silver Lake Drive building already have been moved to the lower level of the Portage Municipal Building at 115 W. Pleasant St. And, he said, other city facilities, including City Hall, could be used as space for public presentations and programs, as could facilities owned by the Portage Community School District.

The Portage Youth Association owns the building on Silver Lake Drive and has allowed the city to use it for its parks and recreation offices for many years. The association, which oversees the Girl Scouting program, will get the building back, Murphy said.

The community gardens next door – operated by the University of Wisconsin-Extension Columbia County Master Gardeners program – will remain where they are, as the community garden property is not city owned.

Kremer noted some renters of garden plots paid their rental at the Parks and Recreation offices, and the proceeds were forwarded to the Master Gardeners. It would be up to the Master Gardeners, he said, whether a similar arrangement could be made in the new facility, which is about 2 blocks south and 1 block west of the garden plots.