The city of Waupaca hopes to avoid any future delays in South Park’s renovation by having archaeological surveys done of all areas included in the park’s master plan.
“I think it makes sense to get it all done, so we don’t have to go through the process again,” Aaron Jenson, the city’s director of parks and recreation, told the Common Council during its Nov. 5 meeting.
The council unanimously approved hiring AVD Archaeological Services, of Union Grove, to do the work at a cost of $2,592. All council members were present.
Earlier this fall, the city was set to begin Phase I of the overall park renovation project when it learned it had been approved to receive a grant for Phase II.
However, with that notification came the requirement that an archaeological survey be conducted when something “historic” came up on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ database.
City Administrator Henry Veleker thought the Hutchinson House might have been the “historic” site.
DNR grant staff then became aware an archaeological survey should have actually been required for Phase I as well.
As a result, the city could not begin the first phase of the project until such a survey was completed.
In an effort to conduct the survey as quickly as possible so as to not adversely affect the timing of the project, the city reached out to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Anthropology to do the survey.
The school did the work at a cost not to exceed $3,000, and in its survey, did not find any archaeological sites overlapping those parts of the master plan, Veleker said.
In addition to surveying the area of the park where Phase I work is taking place, the school also surveyed a portion of the park where Phase II will take place, such as around the parking lot.
The $339,148 grant the city received for the first phase of the project is a Wisconsin Stewardship Grant.
The city is matching that grant with $230,000 in private donations and a donation of city land valued at $59,295. The remaining balance of $49,853 is being covered by city in-kind labor and materials.
The first phase of improvements for South Park includes a new pavilion, new playground equipment, picnic tables, waste and recycling bins, utilities, lighting and a fishing pier across from Bowersox Park.
Phase I work is underway in the park.
Jenson said the footings for the new pavilion are being poured, with the goal being to get all the concrete poured before it snows.
Plans call for the new playground equipment to be ordered before Jan. 1 and then be installed next spring.
Bids for the playground equipment will be opened at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.
Local elementary students played a role in choosing what the new playground area will look like.
This fall, Jenson visited with elementary classes.
Posters of individual playground pieces and of playground structures were put up for the students, and they then voted for which pieces they liked most.
“The kids were great,” he said. “It was a fun process.”
While the city cannot get everything each student wanted, Jenson said the city was able to included much of what the students liked in its Request for Proposals.
Veleker said city residents may follow the progress of the first phase of the project by visiting the city’s website at www.cityofwaupaca.org where updates will be posted.
The second grant the city is receiving – for Phase II – totals $94,240 and includes a federal recreational trails act grant of $45,000 and a state stewardship grant of $49,240.
That grant will fund 50 percent of the total cost of the second phase of the park project, which is $188,480.
The second phase of the overall park renovation will improve the parking lot, install lighing in the lot and throughout the park, and undertake shoreline restoration and trail upgrades.
The local share of this portion of the project is proposed to be funded as follows:
• $38,435 from a land donation from the city.
• $24,600 from private donations.
• $19,205 to be determined.
In an Oct. 28 letter from the DNR in which it notified the city it has been tentatively selected to receive two grants for Phase II, the DNR states that before the DNR issues the grants, it will review the project to make sure it meets all federal laws, state statutes and administrative rules.
The survey by AVD Archaeological Services will include lower South Park over to the boat landing, as well as the proposed construction projects shown on the third and fourth phases of the South Park Master Plan.
Jenson recommended including the areas of the park where the third and fourth phases are proposed so those areas are also surveyed, if the city receives funding in the future for those projects.
He told the council the cost of the survey is reimbursable through the grant.
Jenson also said he reached out to about five different firms in the state to obtain quotes for the survey.
With many of them pressured to get work completed before the freeze, AVD was the only firm able to fit the work into its schedule this fall, he said.