Parks & Rec gets much attention
By Scott Bellile
This year will be loaded with projects and equipment purchases for the city of New London.
The city is doubling its capital projects spending through a one-time influx of dollars from a TIF district closure on New London’s Northeast Industrial Park.
Whereas the typical capital projects fund hovers around $300,000 a year, this year’s will total $675,555. Next year’s budget will return to normal.
The New London Capital Equipment and Projects Committee approved a 35-item list of projects and purchases on Jan. 18. The list will appear before the city council in February for final approval.
Of the proposals, the most discussed was leaf pickup. New London Public Works planned to buy two Tink-brand detachable claws, but committee members debated whether to buy one first and make sure the department likes it.
The committee voted for two because there is a $600 savings on shipping if they are purchased together. One claw totals $15,000 with shipping; two total $29,400 with shipping.
“If you wait for another year, you may see a price increase in the claws themselves, plus you’re going to spend an extra $600 to deliver it,” New London Mayor Gary Henke argued.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt whether they work or not. You know that [they will],” committee member Rob Way agreed. “So I don’t know what time is going to do for you.”
At previous board of public works meetings, board member Mike Barrington advocated for buying and testing one claw first. He changed his stance on Jan. 18, saying he mistakenly believed it cost the same to ship one claw versus two.
New London will switch its pickup method because it witnessed Appleton’s claw system do the job quicker. New London currently uses vacuums, which don’t get at leaves as easily.
Included is the full list of capital projects and equipment purchases, as approved by the capital equipment and projects committee. They are listed by department from highest to lowest cost.
Two of the listed items, election machines and squad cars, were approved at the committee in November meeting.
Two projects for the library were moved to bonding: replacing its entrance ramp and connecting its drainage system to the city’s storm sewer. They will still take place this year, just not within the capital projects fund.
• Flatbed truck ($106,000) – The box on the city’s 2002 flatbed “has been repaired and welded several times and is warped and it’s only a matter of time until it rusts out and is not repairable,” New London Public Works Director Jeff Bodoh stated.
• Two front-end loader Tink claws ($29,400) – These truck attachments will pick up leaves from city streets quicker than the attachable vacuum cleaners do.
• Sidewalk rehabilitation ($25,000) – Removing and replacing or grinding sidewalks that are cracking or trip hazards. Work will focus on the area contained within North Street to the north, Lima Street to the west, North Water Street to the south and Shawano Street to the east.
• Pavement marking paint machine ($8,500) – The paint pump on the department’s 1993 model is wearing down, Bodoh stated.
Parks and Recreation
• Toro lawn mowers with snow blower/sweeper attachments ($55,000) – In 2011 the parks department purchased a cheaper Kubota mower and sweeper whose frequent and expensive breakdowns have “given us nothing but headaches,” Parks and Recreation Director Chad Hoerth stated.
• Newton Blackmour Trail Design ($50,000) – The Newton Blackmour State Trail currently ends at House Road. The plan is to connect it to River Road just south of New London Jaycees Dog Park. The “how” depends on if Granite Valley Forest Products decides to revive a defunct railroad spur near its company. If it doesn’t, the city will remove the rail and expand the trail through there. If it does, the city will engineer an alternative path.
• Hatten Park entrance gate replacements ($26,000) – The red gates on the east and south entrances of Hatten Park will be replaced, possibly with black wrought iron gates to match iron found on Hatten Stadium.
• Ball field groomer vehicle ($25,000) – Parks and Recreation is two years over its goal of upgrading groomer vehicles every 15 years.
• Pick-up truck ($22,000) – The department keeps its trucks on a 12-year cycle. This truck is going on 16 years.
• New London Aquatic and Fitness Center electrical upgrades/repairs ($19,000) – Electrical connections at the pool have corroded or become abandoned over time, requiring an overhaul of the system.
• Cleaning/refinishing tile at Aquatic and Fitness Center ($15,500) – This project will clean dirt from the grout of tiles in locker rooms.
• ADA compliance restroom upgrades at Franklin Park ($14,500) – To complement a separate accessible playground build project this year, Hoerth wants to update the restrooms to meet federal regulations. This will include widening the doorways and eliminating the ledge in front of them.
• Library roof repairs ($14,000) – Hoerth said the library roof is mostly in good shape but the old section contains broken asbestos shingles in need of repair. The copper gutters also need to be sealed, as they have rusted to the point of birds making homes inside the holes.
• Gravel for Hatten Stadium parking area ($10,000) – Vehicles park on the grass during ballgames tear up the lawn. Gravel will reduce the maintenance crew’s workload in the long run.
• Utility vehicle ($11,500) – The start-and-stop motions drivers made while watering plants wore out the engine. Hoerth wants a model with an engine better suited for the motions.
• Carpet replacement for the lower level of New London Public Library ($8,100).
• Pfeifer Park basketball court replacement ($7,000) – The former full-court became a half-court when New London Youth Baseball Association built restrooms. The court is close enough to a baseball diamond that kids have been hit by foul balls. A full-court would be built elsewhere in the park.
• Tile replacement in the activity room at the Washington Center ($6,100) – Hoerth said a mysterious “mold”-like material is surfacing between the cracks of the tile.
• New London Aquatic and Fitness Center cardio machine upgrades ($5,750) – Equipment replacements have become infrequent in the fitness room. Customers have complained of multiple exercise machines being out of order.
• Expand parking on west side of New London Police Department ($5,000) – Grass on the west side of the police department will give way to new asphalt parking spaces. Parking is limited when outside agencies come train.
• Posthole digger for skid steer ($4,600).
• Carpet replacement for the Washington Center senior center office ($900).
• Police squads ($70,600) – A pair of Ford Police Interceptor SUVs will replace two aging squads that would soon need repairs.
• Video cameras ($5,000) – Cameras would be installed near businesses and intersections to help police solve crimes.
• General weather siren maintenance ($3,000).
• Replace air bottles ($40,000).
• Election machines ($44,250) – These machines would submit ballots to Waupaca and Outagamie counties electronically after elections. The current machines contain obsolete parts.
• Yearly computer replacements and license renewals ($35,000).
• Salary survey ($15,000).
• Copy machine replacement at New London Aquatic and Fitness Center ($1,000).
• Replace “Welcome to New London” signage fund ($20,000).
• Update the library’s space needs and building program ($9,600) – New London Public Library will hire an architect to update its space needs report for use in planning for a new library facility. An analysis that was previously performed in 2009 accounted for more population growth than New London is seeing. The study would present the library’s needs for more space designated to teens, meetings and programming. The current library, built a century ago and updated in the 1980s, revolves around bookshelf space.
• New door for cold storage facility ($3,255) – A door to an equipment storage building is deteriorating at Floral Hill Cemetery.