For those who haven’t been in Hamilton’s city parks lately, things have been improving — even in the dead of winter.
Crews worked indoors building 56 new picnic tables and delivering them to the parks. Because there was only enough room for six tables in the indoor work area, some tables were placed outdoors when temperatures were at 10 degrees.
Workers also refurbished 60 other tables, “and the ones that were still in the park that did not need refurbished or new ones, they’ve been repainted,” said Steve Timmer, director of the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, which took over maintenance of the parks’ 1,360 acres in January 2015.
One upgrade highlight is the 54-acre Crawford Woods Park at Hancock and Bender avenues. Its new splash pad water recreation area will open Memorial Day weekend, and it has three new picnic shelters, plus an improved parking lot.
“The supporting posts on a lot of the shelters were completely rotted out,” Timmer said. “Crawford Woods, three of the shelters we demolished. They were not worth, in my opinion, saving. So we built three new ones.”
For all the new shelters in the park system, picnic tables “now have an extension on them for wheelchair accessibility,” to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, he said. “We’re trying to really improve that in the park system.”
Among other improvements:
- Workers installed about 800 cubic yards of recycled wood material at playgrounds, an upgrade from sand, to protect children from injury when they fall. Timmer said a large concrete truck holds about 11 cubic yards of material, “so that’s equal to 72 concrete trucks worth of playground (mulch) that we put out this past season, and we probably have twice that amount that we still need to do.”
- Every restroom in the parks system has been painted; the multicolored hodgepodge of garbage cans have been replaced; and most everything has been painted with earth-tone colors of brown and beige, making it easier to quickly match paint colors if graffiti appears.
City Manager Joshua Smith at a recent city council meeting praised the work Timmer and the conservancy have done.
“I just think Steve Timmer has done an incredible job,” he said. “He wakes up at 2 in the morning and he can’t get back to sleep (thinking about more improvements he wants to make) — not that I don’t want him to get his sleep. I sincerely appreciate that somebody worries about the results that they’re producing.”
Despite all the work, Timmer said he isn’t yet satisfied.
“We spent $158,000 on building repairs, and other repairs … in the system,” he said. “We really hit that hard. We wanted to cut off any additional deterioration. Are all our buildings the way they should be? No. But we’re working on it. We’ll do more this year.”
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