ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – The city of Ishpeming has announced that the Al Quaal tube slide will not be staffed for the 2022-2023 winter season.
Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini said this is the third season in a row where the tube slide hasn’t had staffing. The tube slide closed in 2020-2021 due to COVID-19 safety concerns. In 2021-2022 the city had a limited number of applicants, which is the same issue the city is facing this season. With 10 positions to fill, only three qualified people have applied since November 2022. Due to a union contractual bargaining agreement, hired staff members must be full-time college students. Cugini said both parties involved are working to find a solution, with possible changes to applicant qualifications.
“I think there’s a willingness on both parties to figure it out. We don’t want to take resources away from the community, but we want to make sure that we’re delivering a safe operation at a reasonable cost which doesn’t distract from the union’s right to work. And so, we’re analyzing those things where both parties want to come to an agreement that is reasonable and fair while delivering a service for the community,” said Cugini.
While Al Quaal is not open with an operational tow rope, staffing or providing sledding tubes, the hill is still open to the public to use at their own risk. There is no fee for personal sledding.
“We’re unfortunately sad that we’re not able to staff the tow rope, but we don’t want to do it as an expense to the community and so we made a decision that is a council action, recommended by a Parks and Rec board and appropriate for the community,” said Cugini.
In a web exclusive clip, Cugini explains the changes made by the city in the hopes of getting more qualified applicants and what the possible solutions are.