City Council approves contract for renovations to parks

City Council gave the OK for a $440,000 contact for renovations to city parks at its meeting Thursday.

Kiwanis Park’s existing playground and shelter are 25 years old and need to be renovated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project would replace the shelter and playground equipment at the park and add a handicap-accessible path. A zip-line and new playground surfacing would be installed, Parks Superintendent Michael VanAudenhove said.

Outdoor exercise equipment, which costs an additional $30,720, also would be installed as part of the project.

“This will allow it to truly be a park that an entire family can use. A parent can use the exercise equipment while still monitoring their kids,” VanAudenhove said.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the contract, saying Kiwanis Park gets plenty of use and would benefit from the improvements.

“Every time I go by, there’s a handful of people there. It gets a lot of use. To me, that justifies the investment,” Council member Doug Pons said.

Kiwanis Park renovations are included in the fiscal year 2018 capital improvement plan, but the project was put on hold due to the National Softball Association Class A World Series, according to city documents.

At Waller Mill Park, the project would replace shelter No. 1 and add a handicap-accessible path.

The project was advertised as a request for proposal in November 2017 and three proposals were submitted. All Recreation, an Ashburn-based playground equipment supplier, will perform the work.

In other news, Williamsburg Regional Library gave a presentation on its proposed budget.

The library system proposed a $6.6 million budget for fiscal year 2019. An almost 3 percent increase compared to the adopted budget for fiscal year 2018.

User demand for new books, additional copies of books and more e-books accounts for most of the increase, Williamsburg Regional Library Director Betsy Fowler said prior to the meeting.

The library would request $871,852 from Williamsburg, $4.6 million from James City and $609,350 from York. State aid and funds generated by the library, such as late fees and fines, would account for $465,776

Proposed allocations from localities would represent increases of about 1 percent from the city and 3 percent from James City. The York allocation would be almost a 6 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2018.

The Williamsburg library and Stryker Center held 2,560 library and community events, including concerts and exhibits, in 2017, Fowler said.

“The library is a community nexus where people from all walks of life come together to exchange ideas and learn,” she said.

Pons suggested fees charged for library space rental could be tweaked to allow the library to generate greater income.

“There’s a fine balance between how much you charge and if organizations are willing to pay that amount but we’re happy to go back and look at those numbers again,” Fowler said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette