Last May bird-watching opportunities this week

Published 1:01 pm Saturday, May 13, 2017

The last bird watching sessions for May will be held from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evening.

This program is co-sponsored by the Austin Audubon. Meet in the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center parking lot with fellow birders for a hike on the trails.  Binoculars will be provided upon request.

Nature center

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Returning this summer at the nature center will be the Summer Senior Specials.

For those patrons age 55 and older you are invited to join the free coffee or tea, cookie, nature program and the optional 45 to 60 minute guided tour of the nature center trails on the access vehicle.

Pre-registration is required. Call the center at 507-437-7519 or email  Program dates are 10 a.m. June 15, 22, July 13, 27, Aug. 3 and 24.

The nature center also offers the trail access tours by advanced reservation during the spring, summer and fall based on the trail conditions. For more information on this service please contact the center.

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Interpretive building is now open.  The new building has something for all ages.

We are sure you will enjoy the new exhibit display.  Summer programming is currently underway as well.  Sign up at the Interpretive Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Trail hours at the center are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It’s a great way to unwind, walk and take in some nature.

Red Bike Program

Red bikes are out for your use.

Bikes will be in racks located by the Municipal Pool, Twin Towers, East Side Lake, west side of Ellis Middle School, Wescott Athletic Complex, near Hormel Corporate North intersection, Noon Lion’s Pavilion, the corner of Main and 11 Avenue Northeast, Ankeny’s Mini Mart on 14th Street Northwest and east of the Spam Museum.

Something new this summer: the red bikes located in the rack east of the Spam Museum will have locks on the bikes.  A key can be checked out from the Spam Museum during their open hours. After your ride is complete lock the bike back up at that rack and deposit the key in the lock box provided at the rack.

“Ride — Respect — Return”  We hope everyone enjoys the bikes!

Summer programming

Park and Recreation summer program sign up is underway. Our office is at City Hall, 500 4th Ave. NE and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  You may also find all our information on the city website at

Riverside Arena

Riverside Arena schedule:  We will have summer ice. Think about renting the arena for a skating party, call our office for details. It’s a great place to cool down this summer and still get the benefit of some exercise.  Make sure to like us on Facebook so you receive up to date information.

Riverside Figure Skate Club Spring: Watch for their summer ice schedule.

Adult Open Hockey: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.  Cost is $6 per person for each event. Must be 16 . Goalies are free.

Public skate: 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. May 23 and 30; 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. May 28.  The cost is $4 to skate plus $1 if you need to rent skates.  Watch for Friday nights during the summer.

Stick time:  Tuesdays in May from 5 to 6:15 p.m.

Free goalie clinic:  6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 16; 4:30 to 6 p.m. May 28; 1 to 2 p.m. June 4 and 4:30 to 6 p.m. June 11.

Weed ordinance

Did you know that Austin has a weed ordinance?  Now that we have had some nice sunny weather the grass will begin growing quickly. You can find the ordinance in its entirety on the city website.

City code section 10.13.  The following is the first statement of the ordinance: “It is unlawful for any owner, occupant or agent of any lot or parcel of land in the city to allow any noxious weeds as defined in Minnesota Statutes Sections 18.77 and 21.72 or grass growing upon any such lot or parcel of land to grow to a greater height than 8 inches.”  The City has also adopted the Administrative Citation which can be used for those properties that have repeat violations.

To report a lawn violation the grass must be 8 inches tall. Keep in mind that dandelions are not a noxious weed and will not count if the grass is not also in violation.  Call our office at 507-433-1881 to register a complaint so the process can be started. Properties are first checked for violation, certified letters are sent to the owner of the property, there is then a waiting period of 7 to 10 days. The property is re-checked and if it is still in violation the property is turned over to a private mowing company to be mowed.  Thank you in advance for your patience.