The 2.2-acre Fireman’s Park on South Milwaukee Street is undoubtedly the busiest park in the Village of Fredonia
With that in mind, officials are hoping to keep those park users — especially youngsters — out of harm’s way when the expansion of the nearby fire station takes place.
For the past two months, the Parks Committee has refined plans that would relocate the children’s playground to the south side of the park, near the Department of Public Works building. A basketball court already exists in the area.
The Little League baseball field would be retained on the north side of the property, and it would be linked to the relocated playground by an eight-foot-wide paved trail.
The relocation is important because the fire station is on the northeast corner of the park. Not only will the proposed expansion project reach into some of the parkland, the parking pattern for firefighters and park users will also be altered.
Committee members were divided over whether the playground move would mean the facility would need to be made compliant with the requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Trustee Jill Bertram, who chairs the committee, said regardless of the requirements of the federal law, the village should look into meeting ADA standards.
“If we are going to do this, let’s do it right,” Bertram said.
Officials said a greater concern will be to make sure the relocated playground is accessible to the parking area, since parents and grandparents bringing children to the park may have mobility issues.
Public Works Director Roger Strohm said relocating the park amenities would cost about $80,000, but that expense could be reduced by about $15,000 if most of the work was done by village crews.
The most expensive component of the project would be the relocation of a small bridge over a nearby creek, which Strohm said would cost about $20,000.
Paving the connecting trail would cost another $17,000, but he said the Ozaukee County Highway Department could be contracted for that work.
Disassembling and moving the playground equipment is expected to take the village crews about five days, at a projected cost of $10,000.
Strohm then suggested tapping volunteers as a way to further reduce costs.
“It could be a community-build project, but we would need someone to come forward and offer to organize it,” he said.
“It probably wouldn’t work if we were the ones trying to drive it.”
Bertram then suggested an alternative approach.
“Because this would be done because of the fire department project, I wonder if we could roll it into that loan?” she asked.
When the subject was brought up at last week’s Village Board meeting, Village President Don Dohrwardt resisted adding to the anticipated cost of the fire station expansion project.
“I would like to see if there is a way we could pay for this using money from our general fund instead of borrowing,” Dohrwardt said. “I think we could find $65,000 somewhere in our budget.”
Because a park is involved, Strohm said there is a likelihood that grant money could be available.
Again, Dohrwardt resisted, noting that grants come with strings attached.
“For such a small amount of sum, I would hate to give away jurisdiction over the park forever,” he said.
The village does have about $19,000 available in its Park Fund.
Although no decision was made on how to fund the work, trustees voted to approve the proposed park alterations.