My topic this week is the constant tug of war over remodeling City Hall and the pavilion.
Every time people start to ask about remodeling City Hall or the pavilion, the excuses are always the same, we are looking to move City Hall or the pavilion needs a master plan. In the meantime, nothing is accomplished and the facilities are left to deteriorate even more creating a real necessity for getting rid of the property because of the rundown condition. The city can never make a final decision either way so it can move on with the projects.
The pavilion has become a unique gathering place for events and a great economic tool for the city. Every weekend should be filled with a pavilion event to bring people downtown. With thousands of people coming to the park, there is a need to have enough restroom facilities to accommodate a large group of visitors so they don’t have to leave the festivities in need of a restroom. The situation is especially important when you have children attending the events. There are restrooms at the front of the pavilion, but they are not enough to accommodate a large group of people and unsightly port-a-potties are out of the question.
Almost a year has passed since the state assessed the pavilion urging the city to step up their plans to get something done at the facility. Small steps have been taken regarding maintenance issues but nothing has been done to address the major issues. The pool remains a health issue with stagnate water that has to be treated and monitored. There is a safety issue with keeping the public away from the pool area. Heavy-duty fencing is presently surrounding the pool and the outer perimeter is roped off by steel cable with signs, but is that enough to exempt the city from any liability? Roping off parks due to liability issues should only be a temporary fix and not a permanent solution to a health or safety issue.
Waiting on a master plan should not keep the city from at least obtaining an estimate on how much it would cost to remove the pool completely from the park because of the safety and health issue it presents. Filling the pool in with dirt is not an option because there is no where for the ground to drain and it will become a wetland.
Once again, the Foundation has come to the rescue donating money towards the city’s matching money to at least patch or fix the roof and get the restrooms up and running for the upcoming events. The issue needs to be front and center in order to bring people down to the park. The roof cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further where the water is allowed to invade the actual structure of the roof itself. The city just spent $18,500 on a parking study and it is about to spend $14,000 on a pergola and we can’t even get the needed repairs done to the pavilion.
Until next week, lack of any kind of maintenance will give the visitors a bad impression that the city lacks pride in its parks.