Though winter is typically a slower time for park departments, the Washington Parks Department is busily working on several projects to benefit the Washington community this spring and summer.
The city pool will have a major overhaul, as a new splash pad will be installed and the leisure pool will be resurfaced.
Darren Dunkle said the contract is still being finalized, but work should begin soon on the new splash pad at the Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex.
The area, which features several different spray water features, will replace the wading pool near the concession stand at the complex.
To meet ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements, a ramp into the wading pool would have been needed, which would have required much of the decking to be torn out.
By contract, the splash pad must be completed by May 10. Westport Pools was contracted for the $60,000 project.
This year, the leisure pool also is being resurfaced.
Because temperatures need to be ideal, crews won’t begin installation on the resurfacing until about April. Like the splash pad, the completion date for the resurfacing is set for May 10.
Schilli Plastering was contracted for the $35,763 project.
The pool will open for its regular season beginning May 25.
“We like to have the pool completely ready to go one week before,” Dunkle noted. “By putting the deadline of May 10, even if the project went over a little bit, it still gives us plenty of time before the pool actually opens.
As the parks director, Dunkle serves as the staff liaison to the Urban Forestry Council and is the community forestry manager.
The council has been working with a landscape architect to develop a concept plan for Phoenix Park for new amenities as well as landscaping, Dunkle said.
The council also has applied for Washington to receive the “Tree City USA” designation. If approved, this will be the eighth year Washington has earned the designation, though results won’t be known until about April.
An Arbor Day celebration is in the works, which will include tree plantings at Phoenix Park. Details will be announced at a later date.
The development of a recommended tree list, primarily intended for internal city use, is being developed. The list will be a compilation of appropriate trees to be planted in various areas including medians, formal and informal areas of parks.
Once it’s completed, residents, as well as the engineering and planning departments will be able to use it as a guide.
Dunkle said the department is still looking for an appropriate space for a dog park in the city.
“We haven’t given that up,” he said. “We are still looking for an adequate site for the park.”
In addition to other projects, Dunkle still is working on the parks department’s master plan, which should be finished by the next full board meeting.
If and when the plan gets adopted, the park commission will work on developing strategic action plan to carry out the goals in the master plan.
The park board has been working to make sure the parks plan reflects what is in the city’s comprehensive plan.
Dunkle also has attended the first America in Bloom committee meeting, which met to identify projects it would like to do this year and to review the judges’ evaluations and how the city can improve in certain areas.
“We’re still in a drought condition, but I think we’re in a little bit better position than we were last year,” Dunkle said, noting that some projects, even though they’re being identified as America in Bloom projects, are projects that the parks department wanted to complete anyway.
Projects may have been identified by the Urban Forestry Council, city council, parks commission or parks department.
A subcommittee on fees and charges is making progress, Dunkle noted.
At the next committee meeting, this Thursday, Feb. 21, the subcommittee will be ready to discuss its suggestions with the committee. From there, fees, rules and regulations will move to the full park board and then to city council for approval.
Dunkle said the subcommittee is not necessarily looking to raise fees, but to make adjustments and create a consistency in the policy.
The subcommittee has looked at square footage and capacity of each building or rental area, as well as pavilions and other amenities available.
“We had some fees that just really didn’t make sense for the usage,” he said.