The Washington Parks Department had a very busy year in 2018.

Between the Phoenix Park Tennis Court being resurfaced, replacing the fountain at Lions Lake, hiring a new parks director and moving offices, there was no shortage of work to be done. 

The Washington Lions Club purchased a larger fountain to replace the old fountain, which was no longer working, for Lions Lake.

The new fountain is a 10 horsepower, three-phase motor with six variable LED RGBL lights.

The Lions Club agreed to purchase the fountain for $27,500 in May 2018. The fountain was installed by the parks department in July.

“Thank you, Lions Club,” said Robin Peirick, recreation coordinator.

The year also included moving to a bigger office at city hall to provide more space for the maintenance staff’s equipment.

Previous Parks Director Darren Dunkle asked for a new maintenance facility to be included in the half-cent capital improvement sales tax, but the request wasn’t included.

The department moved into the lower level of city hall Oct. 1. The department had been located at 1220 S. Lakeshore Drive since 1973.

After talks ensued of using either the pool house or the basement of the auditorium as an office space, it was decided the cost would be less to remodel the space at city hall.

Disc Golf Course

Disc golf course made its way into the parks department system last year.  

“We’ll be continuing that through spring this year,” said Chad Owens, foreman. “We’re getting ready to set the holes here when the weather allows us to.”

The disc golf course is located at Burger Park. 

Owens also said new roofs were installed at the riverfront pavilion, Main Park pavilion, Optimist Park and Firehouse No. 3 shed.

The department is finishing up the last roofing bid, he said, which should be done this month.

Trail Work

Work on the new western portion of the main riverfront trail took place in 2018.

“We still have a couple things to finish on that project,” said Owens, including putting up signage and trash cans.

“I would say we’re about 85 percent complete,” he said.

The parks department will put prairie drop seed in the big field off the riverfront trail either this month or next.

This past year, the department also completed its annual tree planting throughout the park system with about 80 trees.

Tennis Courts

Additionally, the tennis courts at Phoenix Parks were resurfaced in October, which Owens said took about a month to complete. 

The city entered into a contract with McConnell & Associates for $40,375 to repair all of the courts.

A sewer line at the Water Works building also was replaced by the parks and water departments.

The water at the South Point Bark Park was turned on in July thanks to the efforts of both departments.

City Pool 

The Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex shut down three weeks before the season ended in 2018 after experiencing problems with the main pump.

“We’re currently going out to bid for the new pool pump to replace the main pool pump,” Owens said.

The valves at the pool have been replaced.

“The pool will be open this summer,” Peirick said.

The past year also included the hiring a new parks director after Dunkle took a job with the city of Fenton in October.

The city of Washington announced in December that Wayne Dunker, Fenton, would assume the position. He started Monday.  

New Year Goals

There are preliminary costs and drawings for installing a new playground in the Main Park.

Owens said the project will be funded partially by the half-cent sales tax.

“One of my goals in Miller-Post (nature reserve loop) is to continue working on trails and add signage,” he said. “We have the signage, we just need to install it.”

Owens also hopes to complete the western portion of the riverfront trail, disc golf courses and continue the process for establishing a new pool. 

Peirick added the department is planning to start dog obedience classes.