Tag Archives: Ames Park

Two years later and the geese are still handing the City of Northfield its ass

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I blogged about the lack of progress in the City’s effort to control the problem of Canada geese shitting in Ames Park, Riverside Park, Babcock Park, and Sesquicentennial Plaza.  I suggested a solution (Border Collies), other suggestions emerged in the discussion thread, and the Northfield News drew attention to the problem with an article, editorial, and letters to the editor.

Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon
But as you can see from these photos of Riverside Park this week, the problem is worse than ever. Are condo owners at Village on the Cannon pissed? Not only are the geese spoiling their ‘front yard’ and adjacent walking trails, they are likely hurting the sales of condos. Ironically, on their association’s home page, they feature a photo of the geese on the Cannon River. Oy.

Geese shit in Ames Park Canada geese in Babcock Park Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza
It’s just as bad in Ames Park and in and around the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge in Babcock Park. It’s especially bad on Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza. I wonder if Ray ‘Jake’ Jacobson knows what the geese are doing to the granite pavers surrounding his ‘Harvest’ sculpture?

I waved Northfield Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) chair Nathan Knutson over to my corner office at GBM yesterday and told him I had just taken photos of the problem. He said the issue came up at the PRAB retreat recently and that they were considering what to do.  I don’t see anything about it their recent minutes and agendas but I hope this blog post will help focus attention on the problem.

Advertising banners again proliferating in Ames Park. Streetscape Task Force, whaddup?

Advertising banners in Ames Park
There are now four signs/advertising banners in Ames Park at the corner of 5th St and Hwy 3. Even the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store has gotten into it. Heh.

I blogged about this back in May, 2009:  Advertising banners in Ames Park: what are the guidelines? In the comments attached to that post, one citizen reported that they’d asked City Hall about it:

The answer was that there was no charge for the space and the rules were pretty informal — an honor system of sorts. You just needed to let them know when you would put the sign up and how long you needed the space. It was understood that you’d secure it safely and take the sign down right after the event. It was also understood that the space was for community events like the hospital book fair and not private business advertising.

Looks like one business is advertising, not that I’m objecting.

Mayor Mary Rossing commented:

The Mayor’s Streetscape Taskforce will be meeting again, with new and returning members in the mix, mid June. This is one of their charges. A permanent kiosk has been talked about as we continue to work to add amenities to the downtown and gateway areas. They will be looking at many potential projects and prioritizing and making recommendations to the council. All projects need to be in place (or in progress) by the end of 2013 as this is the end of the master development funds.

So if this was one of the charges for the Streetscape Taskforce two years ago, can someone update us on what was decided, if anything?

Let’s use a Border Collie to solve the geese problem now

shoreline, Ames ParkI optimistically blogged about the Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park last December: The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working.

And then in April, I took this photo of workers removing the fencing along the west side of the Cannon River in Ames Park. I sent this email to City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess:

Hi Katy, I see the fencing along the Cannon River downtown was removed this morning. The plantings didn’t grow? What’s plan B??

I never got a reply but she evidently forwarded my email to Street/Park Supervisor T.J. Heinricy who wrote:

The fence in Ames park was removed per the recommendation of Bonestroo Inc.  They were the contractor hired to do the install.  I asked them this Spring about the fence removal.  The gentleman that did the install did a very detailed inspection.  The planting’s are doing just fine and are thriving.  That was their assessment.

Alas, the problem is now worse than ever.

geese in Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park
I took these photos last night.  The geese use the canoe ramps and the bank next to the Ames Mill fence that’s not city property to enter and exit the river. And the plantings are NOT thriving everywhere as Bonestroo contended. There are many spots that look like this:

shoreline, Ames Park

Nfld News:

City Administrator Joel Walinski said it will take time to see the full effect of the new shoreline, which looks much better than it did two years ago, he said.

I’m extremely doubtful that the current solution will work in two years.  The Nfld News editorial mentioned using dogs, specifically Border Collies. Lots of businesses doing this (example, here) and even the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese recommends using Border Collies:

Border Collies (BC) are specially trained herding dogs that are extremely effective for keeping geese out of areas where they are considered a problem.  Border collies are the method of choice for large open areas such as golf courses, airports, parks, school ground recreation fields, corporate parks, etc.

Results are immediate. Usually requires aggressive initial use (several times a day for 1-2 weeks) until geese get tired of being hassled and stay away. While the wolf-like gaze of Border Collies is incredibly frightening to geese, these dogs will not harm them or children.

Tearing down the Ames Mill dam might solve the problem but that project appears to be stalled.

So why not get/rent a Border Collie and solve the problem NOW, before DJJD?  Couldn’t the Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) could take the lead on this initiative?

Update 7/16 8:30 am:  Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail between Riverside Park and Babcock Park:

Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail

Update 7/18 7:15 am: Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza:

Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza

Photo album and video: downtown Northfield fireworks

I took photos of the crowd that gathered downtown last night to watch both fireworks shows (Ames Park at 10 pm; Sechler/Sechlar at 10:15 pm).  The Ames Park display, while smaller and shorter, was amazing because it was sooooooo close—heart-pounding explosions right over your head.

See the album of 8 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow: Continue reading Photo album and video: downtown Northfield fireworks

Yes, Virginia, there is a flea market. In Ames Park. On the 4th of July. Every year.

Ed Kuhlman Maggie Lee Sarah and Joan Spaulding
It’s not on the schedule of events. It’s not mentioned in the Nfld News article nor mentioned in Ross’ blog post. It’s not listed in the July NEG nor on the Northfield.org round-up of weekend happenings.

But I confirmed with Ed Kuhlman this morning that there will again be a big flea market in Ames Park on Sunday, the 4th of July, beginning mid-morning and going most of the day. These photos are from the 2004 flea market.

 Northfield 4th of July flea market in Ames Park Northfield 4th of July flea market in Ames Park Northfield 4th of July flea market in Ames Park

Revolutionary! A Brit brings 4th of July fireworks to downtown Northfield

Dan Freeman, Patty Henry 4th July 2010 Norman Butler 
4th July 2010 posterI took this photo of Dan Freeman and postal worker Patty Henry in the doorway of Monkey See Monkey Read yesterday afternoon, pointing to the 4th of July poster in the window.

Dan’s been doing fundraising once again for the 4th of July fireworks and this year, he’s got two fireworks shows for us citizens.  (See the PDF poster for the complete schedule of events, including a change of times for the Kiddie parade and Kiddie carnival.)

Norman Butler, proprietor of Butler’s Steak & Ale, the Contented Cow, Chapati, and the soon-to-opened Pan Pan, has bellied up to the patriotic bar with a donation that, according to this article in the Nfld News,

was substantial enough to fund an additional fireworks show in Ames Park on the Fourth of July, Freeman said. The additional show, scheduled for 10 p.m., will not replace the regular fireworks display that Freeman has helped organize since 2002. Instead, the Ames Park show — limited in its size and height because of safety regulations — will precede the larger annual show, which launches from Sechler [sic] Park this year, Freeman said.

Ross Currier has a complete rundown of 4th of July weekend events in his NDDC blog post, Fireworks Mark Busy Weekend in Downtown.

The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working

Geese south of 5th St. bridge Geese north of 5th St. bridge Pedestrian trail in Ames Park, free of goose poop
All year, there’s seemed to be considerably fewer Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park than in previous years. Last week was no exception. The big flocks were landing south of the 5th St. bridge. Note the lack of goose poop on the walking trail in Ames Park.

Continue reading The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working

Give feedback to the City Council on their skatepark deliberations: Online open mic, straw poll, or both

img-19211 I’ve posted all of the Northfield City Council member deliberations (written and audio) about their vote last week on locating the skatepark in Ames Park. It’s now time for your feedback, and we’re giving you two choices: 1) Online Open Mic; 2) Straw Poll. (continued)

Continue reading Give feedback to the City Council on their skatepark deliberations: Online open mic, straw poll, or both