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Sep 27

Parks & Recreation Maintenance Projects

Posted on September 27, 2021 at 3:35 PM by Jason Sticken

The Parks & Recreation maintenance division has been hard at work all summer!  Much of what the maintenance crews do is very visible to the public, yet there is just as much going on behind the scenes.  We’d like to share a bit of what we’ve been up to the last couple of months.

Let’s start with some of our more visible projects:

Central Park Fountain Rehabilitation – the fountain was last rehabilitated in 1977.  The spray ring was not working at full capacity and the top had not worked in many years.  Repair was becoming more difficult as parts became outdated and unavailable.  A capital improvement project funded mainly by a grant from The Owatonna Foundation made rehabilitation this year possible.  The fountain got new life and the area got a new handicap accessible (and doggy accessible) drinking fountain too!  You may have seen the paint begin to peel, and we are working with the manufacturer of the paint to resolve the material failure.  We are thrilled to have this iconic piece of Owatonna history working fully again!

Lake Kohlmier Playground – we are thankful to have been chosen by Lowe’s to be one of their national #100Hometowns anniversary community rehabilitation projects.  After a volunteer day with Lowe’s employees, the old playground has been removed and we are anxiously awaiting arrival of our new play equipment!  The project is slated for completion in October.  Through additional funding from Steele County Recreation and a generous memorial, we are also able to add three handicap accessible picnic tables, an accessible grill and an accessible (doggy accessible too) drinking fountain near the playground.

Dartt’s Park Maintenance Shed – the current equipment storage shed is being moved out of the floodplain.  The new storage is along the left field fence.

Ash Tree Removal and Replacement – work continues to remove and replace unhealthy ash trees in the city.   The DNR grant provided the parks with a tree inventory and funding to remove and replace trees.  Note: we have not found EAB in our parks, but are being proactive through this process.  So far 80 trees have been removed and replaced with other species.

Morehouse Chalet – the old shingled roof has been replaced with a new, metal roof.  Additionally, the old furnaces have been replaced with new, more energy efficient models.

Athletic Fields – fields are maintained and marked throughout the city.  Where kids play, the crew has been there!  This year, the city is using Ultra Friendly Britestripe, the world’s first EPA recognized field marking paint.  The cost difference is minimal and the paint is brighter than what was previously used!

Some things you may not have noticed:

West Hills Campus – screens have been built to mask the unsightly appearance of garbage dumpsters.   Additionally, campus-wide recycling is now available and West Hills tenants are encouraged to participate.

West Hills Social Commons – a more energy efficient rooftop air unit has been installed.  Remodeling of the second floor is now complete.   Come and visit our Recreation Team at the social commons!  Nikki, Drake, Dani & Tom have moved into their new offices.  Note: the main entrance to the building is now on the north side of the building.

City Office Card Access – Conversion to employee card access for offices and building access is ongoing.   This is a more efficient and safer for our employees!

Some things we hope you see:

Brooktree Golf Course is running a fall special as long as weather allows the course to stay open this season!  Now that we’re getting some rain and sun, the course is in amazing shape, and who doesn’t love fall golf?!

Colors are starting to pop throughout our parks!  Enjoy some time in nature and soak in the vibrant colors during these fall days.  Kaplan’s is especially beautiful this time of year.   Always feel free to share with us via Facebook or e-mail ( your favorite park pictures!