City reinvesting savings from park district projects into other Park and Rec improvements

The city has completed most of the park district projects that were included in the first year plan.

There were some savings in that first year, that Park and Recreation Director Steve Herrig told City Commissioners during a Nov. 4 meeting that would be reinvested into other park district projects.

Jaycee Park improvements nearly complete, funded by park district

Projects for the second year are also in the works and the Park and Rec department estimates more cost savings.

Over the summer, the trail in Elks Riverside Park was rehabilitated and staff is awaiting the final walk through with the contractor to close out that project.

Park and Rec progressing with park district projects; trail repairs; pandemic changes

Restrooms for Oddfellows Park were also included and this spring, commissioners approved a $151,208 contract for a precast concrete restroom from CXT, Inc., an L.B. Foster Company of Spokane.

That project won’t be completed until spring 2021 because site work needs to be completed, Herrig said, but the structure has been purchased.

The precast restroom will replace the aging restroom in Oddfellows Park and include an accessible stall, four stalls and two sinks on the women’s side; and an accessible stall, two stalls, two urinals and two sinks on the men’s side, according to Park and Rec.

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It will also include an ADA drinking fountain unit on the exterior of the building.

The existing restroom is not handicap accessible; includes two stalls and two sinks on the women’s side; and two stalls, two urinals and one sink on the men’s side.

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Park and Rec has $37,000 in savings for tree work due to when those laborers were hired during the budget year and those funds will be reallocated into an ADA sidewalk from the trail to the new play structure in Grande Vista Park, Herrig said.

They’d planned some irrigation upgrades this year, but only received one bid, so will push that project out to bid again in January, he said.

With savings on park district projects, staff working to complete additional projects this year

Some of the savings from projects during year two will be reinvested into the estimated $80,600 project to replace the roof at the Community Recreation Center.

Staff had planned to request downtown tax increment financing for the project, but instead opted to use the savings since downtown groups had said they wouldn’t support the Rec Center project after approving TIF funds for the $6 million façade and roof project at the Civic Center.

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Projects planned for the third year of the district include trail replacement in Grande Vista Park; replacing/repairing the pond wall in Gibson Park; adding an ADA restroom in Lions Park; resurfacing basketball courts and adding ADA sidewalks to play structures.

Herrig said staff intends to request Community Development Block Grants for the ADA sidewalks to play structures in parks that are in areas identified as low-moderate income areas, under the rules by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They’ve identified 10 parks that are not in those areas that will need park district funds.

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During the Nov. 4 meeting, Commissioner Rick Tryon said he hears often that the parks don’t look great and wondered why.

Herrig said that some of those parks have irrigation issues that the park maintenance district projects aim to improve and getting parts for repairs was an issue this year.

Park district projects continuing, some completed this year

“We’re not doing anything different than the past,” he said, but there were 4-5 weeks of hot weather with little to no rain and COVID-19 slowed things down.

The plan is to switch irrigation systems from manual to automatic to better regulate water usage and reduce needed manpower to turn irrigation on and off.