Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Frustrated park board offers to pay for shelter near pool

July 13, 2006

With the city's new swimming pool into its second month of operation, the De Soto City Council continues to tweak its operation while looking to complete facilities that serve the pool and the Community Center.

In a slight adjustment of the pool's operating policy, the council last Thursday agreed to allow visitors who want only to tour the pool to enter free. In making that decision it was agreed the $2.50 charged resident seniors didn't represent a hardship on seniors wanting to watch their grandchildren swim.

The council also approved the low bid for the city's 2006 Community Development Block Grant project that is to make improvements of facilities associated with the pool and Community Center.

As originally conceived a year ago, grant money was to pave the new parking lot west of the Community Center, install 8-foot-wide sidewalks from the new parking lot north of the pool to 84th Street on north and south of the Community Center and a asphalt recreation path from the pool to Lexington Avenue. Finally, the grant money was to pay for new shelter for a small park near the pool.

The city learned last fall it wouldn't receive the $100,000 in CDBG funds it anticipated and had received in the previous years of this decade. Instead, it was to get $50,000. With that, the council agreed to pour the pad for the shelter house for an estimated $15,000 and accept a De Soto Parks and Recreation offer to provide the additional $30,000 to complete the actual structure.

The problem was the lowest of three bids for the CDBG projects from LRM Industries of Lawrence for $91,000 wasn't low enough. City engineer Mike Brungardt said the city had the $50,000 in CDBG funds and $20,000 in matching dollars for the project.

That left out funding for the 20-foot by 20-foot shelter pad and associated sidewalk, which LRM bid at $8,443 as an alternate in the bid. The council gave Brungardt the authority to negotiate with LRM on the remainder of the work.

In discussion, Councilmen Tim Maniez and Ted Morse said the bid seemed out of line and that the city could do the work or hire someone to pour the slab at a much more reasonable rate.

Mayor Dave Anderson reminded the council of the park board's desire to see the shelter completed and of past council decisions that have delayed its construction. He asked City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle to carry the news to the park board at its Monday meeting.

Park board members were, indeed, frustrated when learning of the latest delay. Park board member Nancy Cook noted last fall's agreement was the park board's commitment to get the shelter completed.

Board members Ron Crow and Barry Thierer said they had been asked about the shelter, which was to give those at the senior center a place to watch children in the pool. Thierer said installation of $9,000 of stored playground equipment that was to be placed near the shelter was also delayed.

After discussion, the board supported Cook's proposal that the park board seek approval to bid the shelter and install the playground equipment as a step toward using park department money to get the site built.

"We need to figure out what the actual cost is, and we as a park board can go ahead and just do it," she said.

Guilfoyle said he thought the council would go along with the recommendation.

Finally, parks and recreation director Jay Garvin said the tot and family slide arrived Tuesday. The items were added back into the pool design when it was assured its construction would exhaust the contingency fund.

Brungardt, who is on vacation this week, is seeking bids for their installation, Garvin said.

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