Boy injured in wild game trap in Sparta park

City foots emergency room bill, will revisit policy

An expensive incident in one of Sparta’s parks has the city reconsidering its wild game trapping policy.

The Finance Committee Wednesday approved paying a Sparta area woman for an emergency room visit after her young son stepped on a steel wild game trap that was placed in Amundson Park along the La Crosse River.

The $988 bill was to have the trap removed from boys foot. Parks Director Brad Gilbertson told the committee that game trapping has been allowed in city parks and the individual who set the traps had informed the city he was going to set the traps in the water along the river bank.

However, the trap the boy stepped on was set on the ground, which the city was not aware of, according to Gilbertson. He added that DNR Warden Matt Modjeski informed the city that the trapper had all the necessary permits and was trapping legally.

The incident prompted the city to contact all trappers using city parks to remove their traps. A policy revision is expected to be taken up by the Public Safety Committee in July.

In other business, Co-City Administrator/Treasurer Mark Sund sought approval to refinance the Sparta Ice Rink Loan. The 10-year note is due for a $300,000 balloon payment in 2024, but Sund recommended refinancing early to take advantage of current low interest rates.

He said the refinancing would result in a $7,000 savings to the city each year. He will return to the committee with more details next month.

The committee also approved a request for $3,500 from the tourism fund to build a 16-by-9 foot dumpster screen behind Mueller Square in downtown.

Reinhard Mueller made the request, saying the dumpster is an eyesore for what is becoming a well-used city park. The screen will include field stone columns with caps and will be built by the Five Shovelmen, who will provide their labor for free.

The tourism fund, which is financed through a half percent room tax, will have a balance of $2,800 after the $3,500 is disbursed.

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