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Last phases of city park projects on schedule

Franklin Park restrooms still to be decided by council
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Leader photo by Carol Ryczek The foundation is set for improvements at Smalley Park in Shawano, shown here earlier this month before a Shawano Ski Sharks performance. The shelter, storage and restrooms are expected to be completed by Oct. 15.

Construction of a new storage and concession building at Smalley Park for the Shawano Ski Sharks is running on schedule, according to Park and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks.

“They’re on track. They’re on timeline,” Hendricks said at a park and recreation committee meeting last week.

Footings and walls for the new structure are in place and basement storage for the Ski Skarks has been excavated.

The existing building will remain in use for the time being.

“We have not run into any significant obstacles,” Hendricks said, and soils at the site have not presented any problems.

“We’re not having to pump a bunch of water out, things we thought we might run into because of how close we are to the water table area,” he said.

A new asphalt path has been put in connecting the beach to the Ski Sharks area and wrapping around to the parking lot.

The project is expected to be completed by Oct. 15.

Meanwhile, Thursdayz at Franklin Park appears to be doing well, according to Hendricks.

The city has been promoting the redeveloped park as a tourist draw for downtown Shawano with movies, music and other events.

“We’ve had two events and one rain out,” Hendricks said.

An estimated 300 people attended the first event last month, according to Hendricks.

“As we get more events going, people will become more accustomed to what it is,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks also said nonprofit groups that have set up as vendors for the events have had reasonably good sales.

“They’re happy with what they have seen coming in,” he said.

The park is now fully developed expect for the adjacent restroom facility that will be on the Shawano Common Council’s agenda Wednesday.

The commission last week chose Cerveny Construction of Shawano for the project from a list of four bidders at a cost of $159,850.

The restroom will be constructed in the parking lot west of the senior center on Washington Street adjacent to Franklin Park.

The building will include a men’s room with a water closet, urinal and lavatory, and a women’s room with two water closets and a lavatory.

The facility would be operated from the spring through fall and shut down during the winter, with plumbing systems designed to be shut down for the season.

It will also include minimal heat and a ventilation system, according to the design contract.

The city borrowed $1.85 million in 2017 for improvements to Smalley and Franklin Parks and a splash pad at Memorial Park.

Those funds have been enhanced by $218,000 from the state DNR, $50,000 from the Shawano County Tourism Council, $25,000 each from the Shawano Ski Sharks and Pevonka Trust, $20,000 from the Bleser Foundation and $1,000 from Mary Ponzenelli.

All total, the city had a total of $2.19 million in revenue for its park projects, of which $2.11 million has either been spent or is committed to uncompleted projects like the downtown bathroom.

The remaining $78,835 will be held for unforeseen events or changes to ongoing projects, and any remaining balance will be up to the Shawano Common Council to determine how best to use.