Construction on one of two new picnic shelters in Blue Earth is moving full steam ahead and it could be completed soon.
However, work on the second one has yet to get started.
One new shelter in Putnam Park, near the swimming pool, is beginning to take shape.
The walls and the roof are both on the cement slab, and finish work has begun on the inside.
The City Council voted to proceed with the shelter project this year as it is intended to replace one that was removed when the new swimming pool was built five years ago.
"We had two bids for the project," says City Administrator Kathy Bailey. "Hinrichsen Construction of Blue Earth was the low bidder."
Bailey says the Park and Rec Committee was pleased with the fact that Brad Hinrichsen planned to use several local sub-contractors on the project.
"Rob Wolf Construction was doing the wood construction, the dirt work was done by Sunken Construction and the concrete and electrical were also locally supplied," she says.
Bailey adds the other bid was from an out-of-town company and also was a higher bid.
Hinrichsen was also the successful low bidder for the other picnic shelter which will be located in Steinberg Nature Park.
"We are waiting for the state plumbing inspector to OK the plans for that shelter," Bailey says.
As opposed to the shelter in Putnam Park, the one in Steinberg Park will have restroom facilities in one end of the structure. That involves construction of a septic tank system and the need for a permit from the state plumbing inspector.
The two shelter buildings are being funded in different ways, Bailey explains.
"We are paying the approximate $80,000 cost of the one at Putnam Park out of profits from the municipal liquor store account," Bailey says. "We had enough in the account to totally pay off the liquor store building bonds and pay for the shelter."
The shelter at Steinberg Park is being funding half by a grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and half from the legacy gift from Vera Steinberg.
Bailey says the DNR grant has a stipulation that the project be completed by October of this year.
"I am not sure what happens if it isn't," she says. "So hopefully we hear soon from the state plumbing inspector. It will not take very long to construct the shelter once we have the go-ahead."
The new picnic shelter is not the only project underway at Putnam Park this summer.
The tennis courts in the park were recently repaired and resurfaced.
This was a joint project between the city and the Blue Earth Area School District.
"The school district has been in charge of getting the work completed," Bailey says. "We have agreed to split the cost 50/50, but they are using funds to pay for all of it this year, and we will be reimbursing them for half from our 2013 budget."
Bailey says the city has had their share of the approximate $20,000 cost in the 2013 budget all along. But the school's budget started July 1, while the city's begins Jan. 1.
"It was just a bit of timing for getting the work done and also paid for," she says.
A contractor was busy applying a black coating overlay to the entire tennis court area last week.
Next, several coats of a blue material were applied for the actual court areas. That was followed by coats of green for the border areas around the courts themselves.
The entire project was completed in just a couple of days.
Blue Earth Area High School tennis coach Terry Barnes says the resurfacing of the courts was critical and could not be postponed much longer.
"This is something long overdue and I am glad to see it is getting done this summer," Barnes says.
These are not the only projects scheduled for Putnam Park.
In addition, the city plans on doing some resurfacing work around areas of the pool walking concrete surfaces which are having some cracks forming.
That work is expected to be done the second week of September, after the pool closes for the season.
Cost of the project is approximately $6,950.