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Park board role was a learning experience for student

Jonathan Nutzmann has more government experience at 19 years old than most people twice his age. The college freshman has spent the last 3 1/2 years on the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Commission as the student volunteer. At one point he was one of the longest-serving members on the commission.

"It was a great opportunity," said Nutzmann, who gave up the position in March.

Nutzmann said he gave up the position to let another Rosemount High School student have the opportunity. He said he also wants to concentrate on his studies.

"It was a great experience for me and I want someone else to have the opportunity," he added.

Nutzmann, a 2008 Rosemount High School graduate, started as the parks commission student volunteer in 2005. He heard about the position from a teacher and applied. After an interview with parks and recreation director Dan Schultz he got the position.

As a member he actively participated on the commission, although he did not get to vote. He attended all the meetings, read the packets and provided input, which was his favorite part.

"I liked influencing what goes into the community," said Nutzmann.

As a member of the board Nutzmann got to add his two cents on a number of topics including the planning of the recreation complex that will be built on land donated to the city by Flint Hills Resources on Akron Avenue and the recently built soccer complex that was built on the Dakota County Technical College campus.

While most of his experiences on the commission were good, Nutzmann was also exposed him to the frustrations of getting things done when on a government body. Nutzmann said there were times when the parks board would make a recommendation to the city council and the council wouldn't follow through on it.

"I have an appreciation for how much bureaucracy goes on, even at a local level," said Nutzmann.

While on the board Nutzmann impressed those he worked with. Schultz told the city council that, "(Jonathan) has been a valuable asset to the commission due to his active participation."

He added, "I can't say enough about the work he's done."

Nutzmann received a plaque from the city council May 5 thanking him for serving the community and helping to better shape the future of Rosemount.

Schultz said he was trying to get Nutzmann to go into a parks and recreation related field. That's not for Nutzmann though.

A student at the University of Minnesota, Nutzmann is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in computer science. Depending on how things go he said he might add a math minor as well.

Nutzmann said he enjoyed his time on the board and will consider serving on boards and commissions in the future. Although he doesn't think he'll ever run for office.

"I liked having my voice heard and it's definitely something I'll consider doing in the future," said Nutzmann.

Rosemount High School student Stephen Sawyer has become the new student volunteer on the commission. He attended his first meeting in April.

Nutzmann said his advice to Sawyer is read the packets and speak up.

"At first I was intimidated but I got to know the members of the board and felt comfortable," said Nutzmann.