Parks department at $500,000 worth of improvements

Bumps and cracks on Franklin’s trail system, bridges with stripped paint and shelters showing their age will be fixed or improved within the next two months.

The Franklin parks department is planning a list of 20 projects with a total price tag of about $500,000 that officials want done before summer.

Much of the work has been put off for years, Parks Director Chip Orner said.

For example, the Active Adult Center on East Adams Street has not been repainted in more than eight years, Orner said. Three bridges on the Greenway Trail throughout the city have not been painted in 10 or 15 years, he said. And mowers and utility equipment that should only be used for about three or four years have not been replaced since 2008, Orner said.

Tree roots have cracked through the pavement on about five Greenway Trail paths, and now those bumps are making it unsafe for bicyclists, Orner said. Since the trail was installed more than 20 years ago, pavement repairs haven’t been made, he said.

Drought and pests, including the emerald ash borer, have killed many of the trees in the cemetery and along the trails, Orner said.

This week, the Franklin city council approved $500,000 worth of upgrades, with about $250,000 from the city’s rainy day fund and the rest from the parks department reserves, Orner said.

“Normally we wouldn’t spend this much money,” Orner said. “Now we’re trying to play a little bit of a catch up.”

Employees will tackle the laundry list of improvements as soon as this week, Orner said.

He hopes the majority of the projects will be completed within the next two months, Orner said. One project that will be left until after summer is repainting the pool at the Family Aquatics Center, since that is typically done at the end of the season, he said.

“We always have to remember that for a community the city the size of Franklin, we have a large parks system,” Orner said. “We want to keep them in excellent shape, and as close to new as we can.”

At a glance

Franklin Parks and Recreation is replacing, removing or repairing nearly 20 items during the next two months. Here’s a look at the projects they’ll be working on:

Purchase new vans, mowers, trucks and other utility vehicles: $178,000

Tree removal and replacement: $55,000

Replace shingles and gutters, paint the building and seal windows of the Active Adult Center: $40,000

Renovate cemetery maintenance facility: $40,000

Re-coat the water slide and play structure and paint the bottom of the pool at the Family Aquatic Center: $35,000

Greenway Trail repairs and maintenance: $30,000

Renovate the restroom and sunset shelter at Province Park: $27,000

Replace heating and cooling unit in the racquetball courts in the recreation center: $20,000

Replace ladder and accessible chair lift for people with disabilities at Family Aquatic Center: $13,400

Replace chemical room doors at Family Aquatic Center: $10,000

Replace umbrella tops at Family Aquatic Center: $10,000

Greenway Trail bridges painted: $9,000

Replace floor scrubber at the recreation center: $8,600

Replace carpet and tile at the Active Adult Center: $8,000

Resurface basketball court in Schmidt Park: $6,000

Install a playground attachment for children with disabilities in Province Park: $6,000

Replace shade structure at Province Park playground: $4,000

TOTAL COST: $500,000

SOURCE: Franklin Parks and Recreation Department