Spruce Up Austin looking ahead to 2017

Published 5:01 am Monday, January 16, 2017

While the wind is cold and the days are short it gives us time to start planning for our spring and summer projects.

Spruce Up Austin’s “Deeply Rooted in Austin’s Future” is a great partner to the city of Austin Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department.

This organization began its journey in 1990 and became a 501(c) 3 in 1998. They have beautified and planted many trees throughout the public green spaces within our Community.

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Did you know the U.S. Forest Service calculated that over a 50-year lifetime one tree recycles $37,500 worth of water. At the end of 2015 SUA had planted a total of 2,689 trees in our parks and public green spaces.

You do not have to be a board member to join in on a maintenance or planting project. There will be opportunities again this spring and summer to help out, starting with an arbor day planting, an educational class along the Tree Trek, Yard of the Month and the Yard and Garden Tour. More details will follow as the planning unfolds. If you are interested, you can send a message through their web page at www.spruceupaustin.org and they also have a Facebook page.


Those of you that like to play pickleball, we will have open gym again at Ellis Middle School on Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting this Wednesday and going to March 8.

The cost is $2 per person per time. You can pay at the gym. For more information, you may contact Jake at Parks, Recreation and Forestry or jakes@ci.austin.mn.us.

Warming houses

Warming houses at the ice rinks Kaufman, Galloway and Skinners Hill hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday.  On Tuesday our hours switch 6 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday at Kaufman Park. The weekend hours for all three — Kaufman, Galloway and Skinners Hill will be 6 to 9 p.m. Friday  and Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Check out the safety tips on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources site regarding ice on lakes and ponds before you venture out on them.

Cross country skiing

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is taking another shot at renting skis. They have groomed the trails which broke up some of the crusty snow and has gotten some tracks set along the prairie. Trails are fair and skiable. They will be directing renters to the best trails.

Stay tuned as we approach the date for the Dammen Cross Country Ski Race which is coming up from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 28.  Go to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center website, click on ski race and you can download a registration form.  Register by Jan. 20 for a discounted entry fee.

Profits from this event go directly to the Kevin Dammen Mentorship Fund which benefits our Nature Play and Summer Nature Adventure Programs.

Packer Arena schedule

Public skate: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday Jan 21. The cost is $4 to skate plus $1 if you need to rent skates. Make sure to like us on Facebook so you receive up to date information.

Riverside Arena schedule

•Stick Time: 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. Cost is $6 per person or purchase a five-session punch card for $25 and save $1 on each session.

•Adult Open Hockey: 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Cost is $6 per person each event. Attendees must be 16; goalies are free.

Austin High Hockey home games: Boys JV and varsity vs. Red Wing, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Austin Bruins: 7:05 p.m. Friday, vs. the  MN Wilderness.


Austin High School will offer open dome times for moms and little ones from 9 to 11 a.m. on the following dates: Jan 24; Feb 7 and 21; Mar 7 and 21; Apr 4 and 18. The cost is $2 per child or $5 per family. This is great opportunity to get out and run off some cabin fever during the winter months.