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BE completing smaller summer projects

By Staff | Jul 30, 2017

Summer projects underway at Putnam Park in Blue Earth include resurfacing the tennis courts and a new trail which will connect the 13th Street ball fields with Putnam Park. Here, two of the city’s summer workers paint the swing set at an addition to the playground.

The city of Blue Earth is planning a handful of high-budget projects in the next year or two, but that does not mean they are not working on some smaller, lower cost improvements to the city as well.

While things such as a new Public Works Building (estimated at over $600,000) and complete upgrade in the city’s wastewater treatment plant (with a $7.5 million price tag), as well as the recently announced 2018 street improvement project for 13th and Moore streets (about $1 million) have garnered all the attention, there are other projects either in the works or being planned which will not cost anywhere near that much.

For instance, the city has been doing a lot of improvements to Putnam Park.

One project recently completed in conjunction with the Blue Earth Area Schools, is a resurfacing of the tennis courts in Putnam Park at a cost of $60,000.

“The project took more time and was more involved than we originally thought,” says city administrator Tim Ibisch. “The surface was peeling away, and had to be removed. But underneath were some large cracks, which were caused by poor sub-base underneath the courts.”

It took extra time to clean out those cracks and try and fill the holes underneath.

“This is not a permanent fix,” Ibisch says. “In a few years we will have to look at a complete remake of the courts, including the sub-base.”

At that point it is possible another court could be added or a whole new location could be found for the courts, he adds.

The city also had authorized looking into painting pickle ball lines on the new courts, and administrator Ibisch says that was done.

“We added the stripes for pickle ball to just two of the courts,” he says. “If that turns out to not be enough we can always add them to more courts.”

There had been concern whether the courts would be “legal” for high school tennis meets, if there were pickle ball lines painted on them. Turns out that is not issue, says Ibisch.

The city is also doing an upgrade to the playground equipment at Putnam Park.

The city had previously replaced a lot of the old equipment with modern style playground play areas.

Now, they are redoing an area behind that new equipment, says Public Works director Jamison Holland.

“We are adding some things like a toddler swing that allows an adult to swing with a child and an ADA approved merry-go-round, and then replacing the pea rock with shredded wood mulch,” he says. “It should be a nice upgrade.”

The city is also putting in a new ‘trail’ along the southside of the tennis courts that will connect the 14th Street softball fields with the pool in Putnam Park.

“There is a platted trail that runs there,” Ibisch says. “It is more or less an alley north of 14th Street, but it is actually a pathway. And we plan to use it as such.”

One more large project is installing a second slide at the Blue Earth Community Pool.

When the pool was constructed 10 years ago, one slide was installed but at the time there was room made for a second slide.

Currently there is a fundraiser going on to try and raise half of the $100,000 needed for the slide and its installation.

“I am sure the city will be kicking in the remaining amount and we will have to budget for that for next year,” Ibisch says. “But, it will make a nice addition to the pool.”