City parks looking for $1.1 million in improvements

The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is planning to spend about a million dollars on park improvements.

The vast majority, about $790 thousand dollars, will be to replace equipment and irrigation at the city’s golf courses.

The city owns Greenbelt and Par 3 golf courses but until last year the courses had been under private management. When the city took the courses back over last October, workers found that the equipment was in need of repair and maintenance, said Mark Jones, head of the city’s parks department. That includes still using equipment that was damaged in the 2008 flood. He said the city workers have been piecing together equipment from pieces and parts just to get the work done.

Jones said the city will have to spend thousands of dollars to  upgrade the equipment, which will make it harder to make money on the golf courses. But some of the equipment will also have uses at other city facilities.

Jones said the money will come from a combination of reserve funds above the¬†amount recommended by the state board of accounts and from the park’s capital improvements funds. Jones said the city has built up a large reserve because the department’s budget was shrunk over recent years and empty positions were not filled.

His request included:

  • Replacement of golf course equipment — $550,000
  • Replacement of 16′ mower — $83,000
  • Replacement of irrigation at Par 3 Golf Course — $240,000
  • Stone repairs at city cemetery — $7,000
  • Trash enclosures – $7,000
  • Fire protection at Hamilton Center — $20,000
  • Capital equipment — $70,000
  • Paving, overlay, seal coating and striping — $45,000
  • Resealing the gym floor at FFY — $35,000
  • Sidewalk repairs — $10,000
  • Fence repairs and replacement — $25,000
  • Replacing small pool’s play structure — $6,000
  • Total: $1,098,000

City Council gave its first approval of the plan Tuesday night. Councilman Frank Miller was the only member of the council to vote against the the plan, questioning the wisdom of investing in a shrinking sport and competing with top-notch local private courses. Jones said he believes the parks department has a plan in place to be successful.

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