MOUNT VERNON — The city’s Department of Parks, Buildings, Public Lands and Cemetery maintains the seven city parks, 12 public buildings, nine public areas and Mound View Cemetery under the overall direction of Superintendent Dave Carpenter.
The largest park is Ariel-Foundation, at 199 acres, which is maintained by the department, but operated by the Foundation Park Conservancy, which is responsible for scheduling events and reservations.
At the other parks, Riverside is the most popular park for reservations, 274 in 2018, of which 200 were at Pavilion 1 and 74 at Pavilion 2.
Hiawatha Park had 111 reservations and Memorial Park 54.
June is the most popular month for reservations, with 73 at Riverside 1, 58 at Hiawatha, 27 at Riverside 2 and eight at Memorial Park.
Other parks are Arch Avenue Park, Dan Emmett Park and Phillips Park.
Other public areas maintained by the department are Public Square, Chester Park, Gambier Street Island, Lambton Park, Heritage Center Park, Johnny Appleseed Land, Harcourt Road Island, Chestnut Boulevard Island and South Division Island and Tree Lawn.
Buildings maintained include City Hall, Plaza Professional Building, Municipal Parking Garage, Water and Income Tax Office Building, C.A.&C. Depot building and grounds, B.&O. Depot, Station Break Building and grounds, Main Fire Station, Elmwood Fire Station (which is being sold), Street Department garage, Police Impound Facility, and a new service garage.
At Memorial Park in 2018, three tennis court nets were replaced due to vandalism, the tennis court restroom was remodeled, the main underground power cable failed and was replaced, the shelterhouse was replaced, three trees were removed, the inclusive playground was 95 percent completed, fence repairs were completed at three ballfields and the tennis courts, and ballfield lights were repaired.
At Hiawatha Park, the sidewalk was replaced at the restroom building, five Funbrellas were replaced at the Water Park, the parking lot was sealed and re-striped, new benches were built for the softball fields and the exhaust fan was replaced in the pump room.
At Riverside Park, new fencing was installed around the spectator area at the Pickleball Courts; fence repairs were completed to the softball field, new benches were built for the softball field, two trees were removed and the ballfield lights were repaired.
At Phillips Park new dugouts were built and fence repairs were completed.
The dugouts were replaced at both ball fields at Dan Emmett Park.
At Ariel-Foundation Park, windows were vandalized at the Community Foundation Pavilion. The damaged windows were replaced and additional window caulking was completed. Additional outlets were installed at the Kiwanis Pavilion and garage doors were installed at the Schnormeier Event Center to enable the center to be better utilized during inclement weather.
The center and east lakes were stocked with fish, including a mix of bluegill, crappie, bass, perch, walleye and rainbow trout. Three stockings took place: ODNR stocked trout in the center lake in mid-March, the Knox County Fish and Game Association stocked fish for the derby in early May and in October, fish were stocked in the center and east lakes using funds provided by AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the city.
The west lake dike repair is scheduled for 2020.
Six goose hunts were held at Ariel-Foundation Park in February, September and December, with 67 geese harvested. The city also has an egg addling permit to lower the amount of birds hatched in the park and also uses other methods of discouraging geese from using the park.
More lighting was added to the viaduct bridge, over 100 trees were planted and three trees were removed.
Equipment purchased in 2018 included a replacement generator for the tree watering crews, four zero-turn mowers (two replacing older mowers, one replacing a riding mower and one replacing two walk-behind mowers), a new dump truck to replace a 1994 truck, the ice machine was replaced, and a mid-size tractor with 72-inch mower deck to replace older tractor.
Buildings and Lands
At the Plaza Building, two heat pumps, the cooling tower recirculating pump and the parking garage exhaust fan were replaced, the renovation of the new law director’s office was completed, the flooring was replaced on nearly all of the first floor and doors to the holding cells and drug testing lab were replaced.
At City Hall, new water valves were installed so each floor of the building can be shut off separately and the replacement of the front steps was begun.
Additional security cameras were installed at the C.A.&C. Depot and at the Station Break Senior Center, a broken toilet and two hot water heaters were replaced.
The old Nativity Scene was replaced for the Public Square, with the old one donated to Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
At the Water and Tax Office, bullet-proof glass was installed for the walk-up windows in the lobby, a new transaction drawer for the Income Tax Office was installed and a new communication system for the Income Tax Office was installed.
At the main Fire Station, an air conditioning unit was replaced and an elevator starter upgrade was installed.
A new surveillance camera system was installed at the Impound Lot and roof repairs were completed.
The “Welcome to Mount Vernon” sign at Columbus Road and Harcourt Road was repaired and repainted, with new lighting installed and a retaining wall repaired.
Equipment purchased for Buildings and Public Lands included a replacement equipment trailer, a walk-behind leaf blower and a replacement zero-turn mower.
Sixty-two funerals were conducted at Mound View Cemetery in 2018, with 31 being cremations and 31 traditional. The city also maintains Mount Calvary Cemetery under a $7,800 contract.
During 2018, a new tractor with loader and a new backpack blower were purchased.
The Chapel heat pump and air conditioning unit were replaced.
Local volunteers placed more than 1,700 U.S. Flags on veterans’ graves prior to Memorial Day, which were left in place until after July 4.
Wreaths Across America decorated more than 500 veterans’ graves with wreaths at Christmas time.
The department work closely with the Shade Tree Commission to plant and water trees. Carpenter reported that approximately 200 trees were watered in 2018 and trees planted in the fall of 2018 and spring 2019 will total move than 500. Many will be watered by others, but city crews should have 60 to 65 to water around town and more than 300 to water in west Ariel-Foundation Park.
Carpenter said finding quality seasonal employees continues to be a problem, although the Community Foundation and Ariel Foundation provide funding to hire seasonal employees.
Mount Vernon Municipal Court provides many volunteers throughout the year.
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