Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
By Margie Wuebker
Play area for handicapped may open early
  NEW BREMEN - The proposed Sunshine Park, a handicapped accessible playground, may be ready earlier than expected next summer.
Kristin Hough, who is spearheading the New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotary Club project, told village council members Tuesday night that fundraising efforts are ahead of schedule. Consequently, the ribbon cutting may come as early as June instead of August as initially planned.
Council provided land at Bremenfest Park for the playground, which will be equipped with handicapped-accessible swings, climbing walls, balance beams and water fountains. The site lies between a conventional park and an existing parking lot. Other nearby amenities include shelter houses, shade trees, ball diamonds, restrooms and a handicapped-accessible swimming pool.
Hough and fellow Rotarian Kathy Trejo reported all but $39,000 of the projected $225,000 cost has been collected through donations or in-kind offers. The amount includes $36,000 to finish the park and $3,000 for a fence separating the parking lot from the playground. Rotarians plan to sell colorful butterflies to attach to the wrought iron fence to defray costs.
Grants and rebates from vendors have shaved approximately $50,000 from the overall price.
"We plan to purchase playground equipment within a week," Hough said. "Now we're looking for a building or even a barn to store everything until spring."
Trejo outlined some of the extra items still needed for the project - an arbor, specialty pavement, plantings and benches.
Approximately 40 trees will come from the village's tree nursery at the present mulch site, lessening landscape costs. The village plans to repave the parking lot and designate parking spaces for the handicapped at an estimated cost of $150,000 and provide up to $10,000 in site improvements such as excavation, the gravel base and a water fountain.
Completion of the parking lot work should come in the spring.
Council also accepted a plat for a 5-acre tract of land in the Bunker Hill Subdivision - the future home of Brookside Laboratories Inc. - and conveyed the parcel to the Community Improvement Corporation. The CIC will handle the sale of land to the business, which plans to construct a building next year.
In a related matter, council also rescinded earlier legislation involving Brookside and the Community Reinvestment Area, with Mayor Jeff Pape explaining "We put the cart before the horse." Such action must follow and not precede land purchase.
In other business, council members:
• Gave third and final reading to a resolution of necessity for the proposed First Street reconstruction project between state Route 66 and the alley east of Jefferson Street and for the Washington Street reconstruction project between First and Monroe streets. The work will be done next year.
• Reminded residents looking for jobs of an open house 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Tri Star Career Compact building located on McKinley Road in St. Marys. Pape said there are more than 100 job openings for skilled workers in a 30-mile radius of New Bremen.
• Learned trick or treat is 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday and Cider Time is Sunday, with participants asked to meet behind LaPiazza at 1 p.m.
• Reviewed national coverage of the Pumpkinfest as carried on the Weather Channel and in the New York Times.
• Authorized the village administrator to seek bids for a dump truck for the parks department. The new vehicle, which replaces a late 1990s model, will be used for snow removal in the downtown area.
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