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NL man challenges Little Crow Ski Team's use of Neer Park

NEW LONDON -- A New London man told the City Council on Tuesday the city is allowing the Little Crow Ski Team to use Neer Park more than it should.

Floyd Olsen of New London argued to the council that Little Crow Ski Team's extended use of Neer Park in the summer prevents other New London residents from using the public park and has led to the destruction of the "natural beauty" of the area.

Olsen contested the property's deed does not permit Little Crow Ski Team to use the park for 3½ months of the summer. The city grants the ski team's extended use each year through park permits, he said.

According to Tribune archives, John and Alice Halvorson handed over the property deed of Neer Park to New London in 1920.

Mayor Bill Gossman credited Olsen for addressing the council. However, he said the ski team's use of Neer Park "doesn't seem to be a violation of the (property) deed to the council."

Councilman Kevin Dittbenner said he also remembered a time when the park was in rough shape and the ski team helped clean it up before using it for its practices and shows.

"That doesn't look like a park now," Olsen said before leaving the meeting. He continued saying it was "utterly ridiculous" to see what was happening to the park.

According to Tribune archives, the non-profit Little Crow Ski Team has used Neer Park for practices and shows since 1985. The Tribune previously reported about the team meeting with some of the park's neighboring residents in 2002 to address any concerns over the team's use of the park and neighboring Crow River.

In other business:

- City Clerk Trudie Guptill reported the board's suggestions for revisions to the 2009 budget panned out well. Even with the anticipated Local Government Aid cuts factored in, the city projects a surplus of $16,000 by the end of 2009.

- The City Council went over New London's joint-powers agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources regarding the reconstruction of the New London Dam. Based on discussions, both parties will need to renegotiate the contract terms regarding maintenance of the dam.