Brownstown Park Board prioritizes projects through 2021



Part of a playground feature being boarded up for safety reasons makes it high on the project priority list.

The Brownstown Park Board spent time during a meeting earlier this month compiling a list of projects it would like to complete this year and in 2021.

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The list was lengthy, so during a second meeting, they prioritized the projects.

In the end, it was determined replacing the playground feature is No. 1.

In November, the slides were removed on the plastic feature near the indoor shelter house because of some sharp edges. Pieces of plywood were placed over the openings to prevent people from falling through.

Replacing the play feature at the pool also is a high priority for the park board, but since the playground equipment is used more months out of the year, members agreed it should be at the top of the list.

Both features are 20 years old and could cost around $100,000 apiece to replace.

“Those are the two big-ticket items that we really need that extra bond money to go toward because we’re not going to get that money in our budget to fix those things. We’ve got boarded-up playground equipment, so that’s obviously a need,” President Brian Wheeler said.

“I’d like a place for kids to play,” Vice President Paula Workman said.

The board agreed the play feature at the pool is No. 2 on the priority list.

“It’s 20 years old, and it’s probably not going to last much longer,” Wheeler said.

No. 3 on the list is a mower for the park employees to use. Park Superintendent Kevin Hanner said it’s used every day during the warm-weather months. The board estimates a new mower to cost between $6,000 and $6,500.

No. 4 on the list came down to a parking lot expansion or concrete maintenance at the pool.

While more parking is needed through the week with summer youth leagues going on and the adult softball league reforming, board Secretary Rachel Johnson said she’s not sure if parking could be expanded.

People aren’t parking in the gravel lot near the park entrance because they worry foul balls or home run balls could land on them or their vehicle. Johnson and Hanner both said they have seen multiple softballs land in the nearby pond, and a foul ball recently hit a child at the pond.

Wheeler said he hopes a change in fencing and netting around the softball field will help with those issues.

Pool Manager Jamie Temple said the concrete at the pool needs fixed.

“Some of it needs replaced, but some of it just needs raised up and leveled back up,” she said.

After some discussion, the board agreed concrete maintenance was the higher priority. Adding parking could cost around $100,000, while concrete work could cost half that amount or less.

Other expensive projects include adding sidewalks between the lower and upper baseball fields and dredging the pond.

Hanner said for the latter project, it would cost around $40,000 just to move equipment in to do the work. He said he’s not aware of the pond ever being dredged. One year, he said it was attempted, but an excavator sunk near the shallow end of the pond.

“It’s just soft. You can’t even get the mower close to it,” he said.

Brownstown Town Councilwoman Sharon Koch, who serves as a liaison to the park board, said that area of the park is worst after a big rain.

“The amount of water that goes down that grass right here to that pond is amazing,” she said.

Hanner said one time after several inches of rain, the water from the pond rose so high it reached the leisure pool.

Other items on the park board’s project list are lighting improvements, a security camera system, two pickleball courts, shuffleboards, concrete cornhole boards, natural landscaping slides, handicap steps into the big pool, a rock wall for the pool, retaining walls, planting new trees and adding a debit and credit card reader at the pool.

Hanner said he has had to call law enforcement because of vandalism in the bathrooms and outside doors, so he started locking the doors when he leaves for the day. Police officers also are trying to drive through the park as often as possible, he said.

Wheeler said lighting and a security system may help.

“If you improve your lighting a little bit, it gives you a little bit better visual of who’s up here doing things,” he said. “It would definitely be a big help to our town officers if something does happen.”

The board may be able to use money from park budget for the security camera system, Wheeler said.

“We have a decent amount of money in operating supplies and equipment. We’ve kept that down this year,” he said. “There could be a lot of different park additions that could be lumped into other smaller projects.”

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