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Apr 29

Beyond the Obvious Benefits of Recreation

Posted to Park and Rec Staff Blog by Jessica Abrahams

Author: Jessica Abrahams, Administrative Technician

Recreation has always been a part of my life.
  I’ve enjoyed participating in organized recreation throughout my life, from playing sports in school to participating in various sports leagues as an adult.  I also enjoy leisurely recreation and spend much of my free time hiking, biking, kayaking and being active outdoors as much as I can.

Recreation is beneficial for obvious reasons such as improving physical health, reducing stress, having fun, and increasing self-esteem.  I have personally experienced these benefits of recreation; however, there is one benefit that I believe is more important than all of these: recreation brings people together!  When my now 16-year old daughter was in elementary school I met one of my best friends at my daughter’s Park and Rec volleyball games.  My friend’s daughter was also participating in the program and we were both there, watching our daughters play. My friend introduced herself to me, we started talking and ever since then she has been a great friend of mine.  The next time you’re at your child’s game or practice, put your phone away and get to know the person next to you, they might just end up becoming a new friend!

Another benefit of recreation is it makes you feel like a part of the community.  After I finished college, I got a job in Fairmont, Minnesota.  I moved there not knowing anyone.  When I first moved there, I remember thinking I was just going to stay just for a short time and look for an opportunity in a larger town.  I ended up joining a softball and volleyball team where I met new people while being able to participate in activities I enjoy doing.  I only stayed in Fairmont for a couple of years but by the time I left I actually didn’t want to leave!  I definitely felt different about the town from when I had first moved there; I felt a part of the community and it was hard leaving people I had gotten to know.

We should definitely look past the physical benefits of recreation, especially during this time; in a time when it seems like we are being torn apart, recreation is still bringing people together.  The next time you’re watching your child play a sport, try talking to the person standing next to you; you never know when you’re going to meet your next great friend.  Or, try signing up for one of our adult sports leagues and have some fun while meeting new people.  I can attest that recreation can help improve the quality of your life in many ways!

Park and Rec Updates:

  • Summer Registration: Registration begins May 3 for T-Ball, Mini Sluggers, Summer Camps, Track, Lacrosse, Hockey, & TR Friday Camp.  Registration begins May 17 for Summer Swimming Lessons – Session 1 and Tennis.  Visit our website for more information on each program and to register.
  • Adopt-A-Park: Parks and Recreation has a new volunteer opportunity for you! Volunteering for the Adopt-A- Park is a chance to assist the Parks Department to maintain a clean, beautiful area and communicate any issues associated with a specific park, trail or open space. Any questions please contact Jesse Wilker (507-774-7086) or MJ Knudson (507-774-7364).
  • Brooktree Golf Course: The Golf course is now open! Schedule your tee time on Brooktree’s website or call the Club House at 507-444-2467.  The Broken Tee Restaurant is also open, you do not need to be a Brooktree member to enjoy the Broken Tee’s food on the best patio in town! Visit Brooktree’s website for more information on the course and restaurant.
  • River Springs Water Park: Season passes are now available!  Passes can be purchased at the Parks and Recreation office. An ID card will be issued to you for unlimited access during lap swim, water walking, morning and afternoon water aerobics, tiny tot time, and open swim. Individual Season Pass: $85.00 Family Season Pass: Includes three people $180.00 ($20.00 for each additional person)
  • Adult Bean Bag League: Grab a partner and sign up for our Adult Bean Bag League.  Rec league plays Wednesday nights and competitive league plays Thursday nights.  Just $20 per person and no equipment is needed!

Stay Connected:

May 07

Engineering Updates 5/7/2021

Posted to Public Works - Engineering Updates by Anna Schwichtenberg

City of Owatonna Engineering

Construction has begun and various projects can be seen around The City of Owatonna. Please slow down and use caution when approaching a construction zone.

We thank you for your patience as these projects are completed.

2021 Construction Projects:
2021 Project Location Map

2021 Truman Avenue Project Phase 1 (Main Street to Phelps Street): 
Items of work completed this week include: removal of an existing sanitary sewer manhole, removal of existing storm & sanitary sewer pipe, removal of existing pavement from Main St. to Academy St., common excavation for underground sanitary & storm sewer work, installation of proposed sanitary sewer service connection, installation of proposed sanitary sewer main, and installation of proposed sanitary sewer manhole structure at Main St. & Truman Ave

Items for the week of 5/10 will look similar to last week's activity including: removal of existing sanitary/storm sewer pipe, common excavation for sanitary and storm sewer work, installation of sanitary sewer main, service connections and manhole structures. 

Temporary ramps are in place where existing pavement has been removed at these sideroads to allow access across Truman Ave., but drivers are encouraged to take alternative routes if possible to avoid construction activities on the project site.  All other sideroads at Truman Ave. along the project are fully accessible for traffic & pedestrians.  For residents needing to access the cul-de-sac at the East end of Academy Street, a temporary access lane is in place at the East end of the cul-de-sac connecting to Main St.    

2021 Bridge Street: Bituminous pavement was removed at the beginning of the week. Subgrade excavation began May 5th. Stormsewer work is expected to begin the week of May 10th. A Detour Map is available here

2021 N Cedar Streetscape: The downtown streetscape project is moving into final plan development stage. The project is currently advertising for bids, due May 26th and is expected to be awarded by City Council in early June.  A video of the Streetscape Improvements Visualization is available on the project webpage.

26th Street & State Ave Roundabout: Steele County and the City of Owatonna will be constructing a roundabout at the intersection of 26th Street (County Highway 34) and State Avenue (County Highway 45).A Virtual Open House will be held until May 9th.
  • Washington County Roundabout U is a website created to provide guidance and information on a variety of topics related to the use and design of roundabouts. It also offers instructions for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
  • Roundabout Resource: The Local Road Research Board publishes a wide range of transportation-related educational materials. The roundabout videos found on their website may be useful for those with questions regarding the use and reasoning for these traffic control measures. 
Public Works
Street Department: Pot hole repairs continue around town. The tree crew is preparing to plant boulevard trees. 

WWTP: When you experience slow drains or sewer back-up, it is important to call the Wastewater Treatment Facility (507-444-2452) in addition to calling your plumber. We will inspect the City sewer main and determine if the blockage is in the mainline or the private service line. 

To sign up for various department notifications, use the Notify Me feature on The City of Owatonna Website.

To submit a Public Works Maintenance Request, please call 507-444-4350 or fill out  an Online Public Works Maintenance Request Form.

May 05

West Hills Social Commons Happenings

Posted to West Hills Social Commons Blog by Jessica Abrahams

West Hills Social Commons
West Hills Social Commons is now open! Our hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00am-4:00pm. Below you will find the schedule for the next week.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Monday- May 10

Wednesday- May 12

Friday- May 14

8:30- Sewing

9:00- Weight Training

1:30- Bunco

9:00- Weight Training

1:00- Billiards

1:30- Players Choice Dice Game

9:00- Weight Training

11:00- Yahtzee


1:30- Bingo

Book Club– Third Monday of the Month at 1:00pm
Calling all avid readers! Adult Leisure Pursuits has a book club! Join the Book Worms at West Hills Social Commons to discuss the monthly books.

  • May 15- Tamarack County– William Kent Krueger
  • June 21– The Icecutter’s Daughter– Tracie Peterson
  • July 19– The Secret of Pembooke Park– Julia Klassen
  • August 16– The Book of Lost Friends– Lisa Wingate
  • September 20– This Tender Land– Will Kent Krueger
  • October 18– Where the Crawdads Sing– Delia Owens
  • November 15– The Winter Sister– Megan Collins
  • December 20– Skipping Christmas– John Grisham               

AARP Safe Driving Class
AARP Safe Driving Classes are cancelled through September 1, 2021.   AARP classes can be taken online at Use the code Drivingskills for a discount.

Dawnlight Senior Bowling Highlights:

  Pins Over Average:

   Monday, April 26:

     Game 1:  Jim Harlicker 213 ( 67); Rod Fletcher 245 ( 49)

     Game 2:  Marty Speikers 216 ( 36); Myland Vroman 193 ( 25)

     Game 3:  Dave Linders 180 ( 45); Willie Peterson 192 ( 39);

                     Marty Speikers 211 ( 31); Judy Johnson 163 ( 30);

                     Myland Vroman 194 ( 26); Rod Fletcher 221 ( 25)

     Split Conversions:  Judy Johnson (2-7-8; 2-7 twice; 3-10);

                     Rod Fletcher (4-5-7); Judy Drevlow (3-10);

                     Dennis Branstad & Marty Speikers (each 5-7);

                     Arlene Gleason (3-10)

   Friday, April 30:

    Fifth Frame Strike Jackpot:  Jerry Drevlow

    Pins Over Average:

      Game 1:  Paula Burshem 244 ( 50); Delores Boyer 201 ( 43)

                      Chuck Newgard 194 ( 33)

      Game 2:  Reuben Ebeling 205 ( 48); Marty Speikers 212 ( 31)

      Game 3:  Mike Dettmer 258 ( 64); Marty Speikers 217 ( 36);

                      Chuck Newgard 189 ( 28)

      Total Pins Over Average:  Marty Speikers 616 ( 73)

     Split Conversions: Delores Boyer (2-7 twice); Mike Dettmer (5-7);

                       Judy Drevlow (5-7 & 3-10); Rod Fletcher (4-5);

                       Marty Speikers, Sharon Hassing, 

                       & Reuben Ebeling (each 3-10's)

  Lots of good bowling; come and join the fun and prizes!