Park commissioners received a report from Scott R. Triphahn, president of W-T Engineering, Inc., the district’s engineering firm, and approved the tentative first year plan for capital improvements to the park on June 8. First among the needed improvements is making fixes to the administration building’s veranda and making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Year one, maintenance and rehabilitation of the main building, on the outside we are starting to see failures,” said Triphahn, adding he recommended the park begin working on the veranda overlooking the pool.
In addition, repairs for year one include fixing the gutters and downspouts and “taking care of things that if we don’t do, they will fall apart,” Triphahn said.
If approved, the capital improvement plan calls for rehabbing the veranda on the second floor of the main building making it usable space. The changes include adding a pyramid-shaped cap to the top of the veranda’s rail and raising its height to make it safe.
Looking ahead, Triphahn told commissioners, year two would be perfect to do an addition and to make the building ADA compliant.
Triphahn suggested the park look at constructing a two-story, 4,500 square foot addition, where the outdoor restrooms currently sit, facing the parking lot for the main building.
The addition would be a large lobby and serve as the main entrance to the building.
In the proposal, the current entrance, the turret where the staircase for the building now sits, would be gutted and turned into an elevator shaft.
Over three years, the project is estimated to cost between $750,000 and $800,000.
“The funding source for the addition would be the $1 million left in bonding ability,” Triphahn said. The money is a holdover from the recent park referendum.
In total, the capital improvement plan Triphahn is working on suggests the park spend approximately $267,000 a year throughout the five-year plan.
Also discussed were several, relatively inexpensive projects that represented opportunities for growth in the district and to help make the park more resident-friendly.
Among these was rehabbing the exterior of building four.
“Building four doesn’t look like it is going to disappear anytime soon,” Triphahn said. “The building is used by kids, camps and daycare, we would urge you to make it separate from the maintenance building by taking out the color [which currently matches the maintenance building’s] and making some murals, something where people would pull up and know they are going to day-camp.”
Also suggested was the creation of a circuit around the park for people to do laps and for people to walk their dogs.
“One of the trends is working with dogs,” Triphahn said. “A leash path [could be made by] adding sidewalks, we can create some nice trails, a place where you can post maps, rules for dogs and waste stations”.
Another opportunity spoken about was the often-discussed skate park.
“It is such a small user group, but very passionate,” Triphahn said. “The biggest cost is the concrete pad. I put $73,000 in the budget to so something originally estimated at $200,000. I put in a 50 by 50 pad. $200,000 didn’t seem like a great idea for a small group.”
Like Triphahn, the commissioners also seemed to be struggling with fulfilling the wishes of a passionate group and finding the money and space for completing the project. In particular, the group seemed divided on where to locate it, with some suggesting the skate park replace the existing basketball courts.
“They only get used if we have organized games. You are using it 10 weeks for a limited amount of people,” Commissioner Joseph Byrnes said, adding that often when there is trouble, it is happening at the courts.
In addition, Park Director Dave Novak pointed out, the organized basketball games run by the youth commission have been moved to the Field-Stevenson courts this summer.
McDermott, however, said she opposed removing the courts.
Byrnes suggested not eliminating the courts, but moving them into an area inside the park where “people can’t do dastardly things. Stuff goes on back there because it is out of the way.”
Triphahn suggested the commissioners consider tearing down building five once the main building is rehabbed and made more usable and moving the courts to that part of the park, a suggestion McDermott said she was more comfortable with.
Triphahn seemed optimistic that he could get all of the discussed projects done.
“We can do it all, I can get the roof done, infrastructure changes, part of the skate park, building four and the dog walk. But I’d like the get the specs down so that the day the pool closes we start.