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Two Fraser parks to receive upgrades

LED project to save city money in long haul

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 11, 2020

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FRASER — A couple of city parks are on the agenda for upgrades this calendar year.

At press time, Fraser Public Works Interim Superintendent Nick Schaefer said the city was in the midst of getting pricing and quotes for vendors and contractors, in terms of upgrading equipment at Somerset and Pompo parks at a price clip between about $225,000 and $250,000.

Costs include materials, installation and warranties. There are free lifetime playground inspections for safety compliance.

At a City Council meeting in December, Fraser Parks and Recreation Director Christina Woods said her department was tasked last August to look at what the city had and what it needed. She acknowledged that the parks weren’t touched “in a very long time.”

Following multiple meetings with the Parks and Recreation Commission, an action plan was designed for “longevity” in an endeavor anticipated to “provide real, immeasurable change.”

That included identifying immediate needs, addressing different demographics throughout the age scale, and designing a long-term investment around at least 30 years.

“This is our chance to really get that ball rolling,” Woods said in December.

Harrington and Boris parks, in addition to Somerset and Pompo, were identified as “at-risk parks.” However, at the prudence of council, two parks were committed to this fiscal year and two others are expected for next year.

“We decided to go south to north,” Schaefer said, referring to hitting parks on the south end before moving north the next time around.

Some residents, like Thomas LaDuke, are skeptical of the costs associated with these park improvements, while other aspects of the city — like road infrastructure, for example — are maybe more urgent matters.

“I took a look at this and there was no plan,” LaDuke said. “It was, ‘Let’s replace some stuff, we have some extra money to spend.’”

In hindsight, he said spending $500,000 and change over the long haul would have made more sense. He wondered why the parks were ignored when a pre-recession budget existed.

He said members of council will ultimately have to justify approving funds for such improvements.

“I just don’t see the justification of spending that amount of money and saying it will be great for the city,” he said. “Maybe it will be, but there’s been no plan other than to replace some equipment.”

Also, upgrades at tennis courts at Pompo and Steffens parks will approximately cost an additional $35,000. Schaefer said the goal for those are May or June.


Transition to LED
Park upgrades will come on the heels of an LED project that concluded in 2019. For roughly $137,787, the insides and exteriors of all city buildings were modified to LED. Over 2,000 light bulbs and fluorescent tubes were replaced, along with over 350 light fixtures.

That included changing a total of 64 lights at the Steffens Parks baseball diamond, for purposes of reducing energy costs and improving visibility.

Schaefer said the project will save in excess of about 480,000 kilowatt hours annually, as well as about $36,000 annually.

“Saving on kilowatt hours and energy also results in saving trees and releasing CO2 gases into the atmosphere,” he said. “I highly recommend anyone looking into a project like this to save cost and energy.”