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No more lawn mowers causing traffic jams on city streets

City employees will have a much shorter trip driving mowing equipment used at Celebration Park in the future.

A decade ago, the 83.5-acre park, complete with baseball and soccer fields, bleachers, restrooms, a concession building, play area, trails and parking, was constructed. Included in the design, but not built, was a maintenance building to store the park's equipment.

The City Council approved an on-site maintenance building at Celebration Park at its July 17 meeting. The bid process for the facility should begin within a month, said Steve Ikerd, Parks and Facilities Manager.

When Celebration Park was built, the city ran into financial problems and was unable to build the originally planned on-site storage facility, Ikerd said. When the park was completed the city had some unused money, but it wasn't enough to build a maintenance facility.

That money has collected interest over the last 10 years and has reached $213,362, according to officials, which is enough to construct the long-awaited facility. The cost for the project is expected to be about $195,000, but the city will not know a final dollar amount until it selects a bid, Ikerd said.

"The staff has wanted this building for a long time," said Fred Konkell, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The maintenance building will save money and time and the storage area will also allow for all of the park's maintenance equipment to be stored in one place, rather than four.

"It puts all (the equipment) right there," Ikerd said.

The city currently stores much of the park's equipment off-site at an outdoor maintenance yard at Steel Lake Park and two storage units at Century Square Self Storage, Ikerd said. Large equipment, such as that used for turf renovation, is housed in these places year-round. Some smaller equipment is stored at Celebration Park.

The cost to keep the park's machinery in these facilities is not cheap and an on-site building large enough to house all the park's maintenance equipment will save the city money. The units at Century Square Self Storage cost the city $4,000 to rent per year and use of anything not kept at the park requires advanced planning and a staff member to move the machinery, Ikerd said. About 600 staff hours are dedicated annually to transporting the equipment, amounting to about $12,420 in wages.

Mowers, thatchers and turf renovation equipment, among other items, will all fit in the 32-foot wide by 60-foot long building, Ikerd said. A small city pick-up truck will also be stored there, instead of at City Hall or Steel Lake Park.

"One of the benefits is it will make it easier for staff to report directly to the park," he said.

The storage area will have loft space to keep holiday and special event-related materials, such as those used at the Red, White and Blues Festival. A place for maintenance crews to take a break or eat lunch will also be available in the building. Since the park's construction that has been an apparent need for the building, but recently questions about it appearance have been brought to the forefront.

Some members of the Parks and Recreation Commission have been concerned about how aesthetically pleasing the building will be. The pre-fabricated steel structure will be assembled on-site by the contractor. Other buildings in the park are made of brick, but the costs to duplicate that look are simply too high, Konkell said.

The structure will have a similar shape as buildings in the park now, said Donna Hanson, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director. It will be located near softball field number four.

"We hope can get this started and constructed this year," he said.

A definite timeframe for the project cannot yet be determined, he said. The city must finish contracting with the maintenance building's architect. It then must apply for a building permit and select a bid, Ikerd said. Additionally, shipping for the facility is estimated at between eight to 10 weeks, he said.

Contact Jacinda Howard at

jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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