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Stevens Point scrambling for winter sports workers

Stevens Point Parks and Recreation is struggling to get more employees to help run its winter activities. This shortage could mean cuts to some family favorites.
Help Shortage For Winter Recreation 12/8/2021
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Stevens Point Parks and Recreation is struggling to get more employees to help run its winter activities. The shortage could mean cuts to some family favorites.

Iverson Park is home to activities such as sledding, skating, and the toboggan run. But the city of Stevens Point said their seasonal staff levels are at about 20 percent of where they should be.

“It’s not from a lack of attendance, there’s plenty of people that still use the facilities,” Stevens Point Parks and Public Lands Superintendent Scott Halvorsen said.

The worker shortage is not unique to just big businesses. Now it’s impacting whether or not there will be a full season of winter recreation in Stevens Point.

“We’ve been noticing a decline the last few years in interest and this year, in particular, has been really severe,” Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen said normally they have about 10 people staffing their warming houses, toboggan runs, and other sports areas. Now, they have just two seasonal workers.

“That will probably be enough to open up the facility, the warming facility, allow people to use the restrooms, but our toboggan runs won’t be able to open with that minimum staff,” Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen said typically high school and college students snap those jobs up, making it even more concerning living in a college town. He said even wages are being bumped up from $11.40 an hour to $14.50, but still no takers at a place he believes is second to none.

“It’s just a great place and environment to be working at. A lot of happy people, kids, families, people just having fun,” Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen hopes to open the park up by Christmas. NewsChannel 7 also talked with the city of Wausau, and while they’re not experiencing a worker shortage, they’re still not fully staffed yet either.

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