OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.
The completion of the nearly two dozen projects would cost approximately $2 million. Projects both big and small are targeted at improving The Beach Ottumwa, City Hall, Wildwood Park, Ottumwa Park and Memorial Park.
One of the biggest improvements of this year will be a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit for the indoor Beach Ottumwa pool which is estimated to cost $125,000. The Parks Department is looking into applying for grants to lessen the city of Ottumwa’s monetary contribution to the project.
“Call Wapello County Supervisor Parker. He wrote grants for both City Hall and the new jail, and that got half of it paid for,” suggested board member Brian Morgan.
The most costly improvements are the roads and bridges throughout Ottumwa’s 19 parks. Repaving the roads in both the southwest and southeast quadrants of Ottumwa Park and new parking lot at Memorial Park are both on the list. However the most important road improvement will be the construction of a new vehicle bridge that connects the two parts of Wildwood Park, which has board member Robert Beisch “really concerned.” The age and condition of the bridge has caught the attention of both inspectors and the Parks Department board members.
The new bridge is estimated to cost $220,000, however the Parks Department is discussing ways to decrease the price.
“I was told that if we do a culvert with concrete on top of it, it should be less money and less expensive for us,” said Parks Director Gene Rathje. A culvert is a tunnel that carries water under a roadway or railroad. Culverts are traditionally faster to replace and carry lower construction costs.