Parks Officials Review Multiple Projects With Selectmen

Town Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold and Parks and Recreation Commission Chariman Ed Marks reviewed 13 projects, currently underway or recently completed, with the Board of Selectmen on September 3.

Beginning with the Treadwell pool house, Ms Mangold told selectmen that the extensive renovation project was finished before pool opening. She said her staff was pleased with the work done by Pediment Construction Company. 

Ms Mangold said the improvements included not only esthetic enhancements, but added low flow humidity control, work to extend the bathroom use season, reroofing to fix all leaks, LED and T5 florescent fixtures for more efficient utilities, and improved utility efficiency. Fiber optic and security has been improved as well, including the piloting of a fob system for member access to the facility.

She said that a fob entry system will be in place for all who obtain a pool pass for the 2014 season. Ms Mangold was asked about the budget, and she told selectmen that the budget was exceeded due to unforeseen infrastructure work that had to be completed, but was covered by a surcharge fund of fees collected from facility users.  The Capital Improvement Plan projection for the project was $405,000, and her department used approximately $15,000 from a surcharge fund to complete the unanticipated extra work.

Ms Mangold then turned to the adjacent Treadwell sidewalks, a project that was purposefully phased over two years. She said to save money, Parks & Rec did all the site preparation work, and the second phase is being complete now. 

Thanks to a designated 12/14 donation, 26 hearty zelkova trees were planted along the walkways of the Philo Curtis Road park. Ms Mangold said the project was managed by Laura King using that donation from a doctor in New Jersey who wished to remain anonymous. 

The project included the labor to remove the old trees, planting of new trees, and an additional $5,000 for care and custody of new trees.  Funding for this project was split between the surcharge and capital funds at $26,000 each.

New Treadwell basketball courts were completed thanks to a donation from the sports outfitter Nike. Ms Mangold said the courts are now complete with new lights to extend their use after dark. 

She said Parks & Rec crews ran all the utilities for the lights and included spare conduit for parking lot lighting and security needs. 

“This court was scheduled to be replaced with the tennis courts this fiscal year in the CIP,” Ms Mangold said. “This project has been in the CIP for so very long that due to material and project costs rising we will be able to replace all the tennis courts and possibly add a much requested pickle ball court.”

She told selectmen that the Nike donation was not meant to supplant town funding, but to supplement the full project plan that was being engineered smaller than planned prior to the donation to save money. The new tennis courts will be bid this fall, and paid for by $350,000 that has been earmarked through the CIP since 2007.

Ms Mangold also told selectmen that the Treadwell artificial turf replacement is complete, coming in on time and under budget. The turf, with a ten-year life span, cost $500,000 and will be paid for from a designated surcharge fund supplemented by field users. 

The two-phase, $700,000 improvement to the department’s maintenance garage is moving along, with all interior doors and most of the trim, painting, and final work complete. The town will soon be bidding on the HVAC.

First Selectman Pat Llodra asked whether the HVAC work would encompass an adjacent section of the building that is used by the Board of Education. Ms Mangold said she would confirm that the bid included capacity for the entire building and report back.


Oakview Project Complete

The parks officials also announced that after a challenging renovation period, the Oakview Field project on Wasserman Way is complete, save for adding more plantings on a slope and fencing to close in utility equipment. Ms Mangold said the original surcharge budget amount for this project was $48,000 due to the purchase of a small bulldozer.

Without the rental cost of a bulldozer needed for much of the duration of construction, her department saved $20,000. Labor to install sprinklers and irrigation was donated as well.

The Dog Park was next, with Ms Mangold reporting that Parks and Recreation staff did all the initial site work. A previously established endowment covered $171,368  of the development cost, with $50,000 coming from the department’s capital budget for fencing. 

Ms Mangold then told selectmen that the town’s Victory Garden was moved this year because of the new ambulance garage construction beginning. 

“Parks and Recreation cleared and graded the access and the new fence was installed from donated funds to the garden,” she said. Temporary water access was also put in, but a permanent water source is being installed this week, well before the third annual harvest festival, which is set for October 5 at 10 am. 

Stream restoration at Dickinson Park is complete. Parks and Recreation staff planted 300 trees and plants two weeks ago.  Meanwhile, the park’s band shell was finished in time to host two concert series this season

She said the band shell was completed in-house, which included bringing in new electric utilities and fiber optic capability for future security. It was paid for through a Parks surcharge fund and cost $15,000.


New Dickinson Park Playground

The approval process for funding a new Dickinson playground is nearly complete, with the final step being a town meeting to seal final approval for the work on September 16.  Ms Mangold said the project completion date will be weather dependent, but she hopes to open the playground in the late spring or early summer of 2014, in time for the start of the local camp sessions.

High school lighting improvements began last month and are 80 percent complete, the parks officials said. Work should be complete by the end of this week. That project was also covered by the Parks surcharge funds at $250,000.

The final report was on the Watertown Pee Wee field. Ms Mangold said Parks and Recreation crews completed all of the rough work and fill work. Concrete apron and prep work for the retaining wall was also begun by parks crews and then volunteer masons participating through Babe Ruth finished the retaining wall. 

“They also did grading with donated sod and irrigation with Parks and Recreation assistance,” Ms Mangold added.   This project was paid for by a combination of surcharge funds and donations. 

According to her report, the project cost request was $68,000, but because of the department’s purchase of the a bulldozer, renovation costs were trimmed to $48,000.  This was covered by the surcharge fund and some donated materials and labor from industry professionals. 

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