Parks & Recreation Projects Taking Place in 2018
Marshfield Parks & Recreation has several projects in store for 2018. Director Justin Casperson shared more information about some of the top improvements coming this year.
After extensive research and planning by a special committee, last year the City of Marshfield Common Council approved a location for the future pool – the same site that currently hosts Hefko Pool. This was the last major pool decision made so far. After approval, Ayers and Associations was hired to conduct professional surveying of the property. The company is working with Marshfield Utilities to ensure both projects can co-exist.
“There are a couple of balls in the air as we speak,” said Casperson, adding that the next step is fundraising.
“We are getting a fundraising committee together and trying to identify someone in the community that might be willing or wanting to head up the new pool fundraising,” he said. “There’s a design and there’s a site, but there’s no private dollars committed and lot of logistics.”
The department will continue operating the current Hefko until construction begins on the new pool, which will likely be sometime in 2020.
Fairgrounds Softball Field Playground Structure Improvement
The current playground at Marshfield Fairgrounds Park is near the peak of its life range (with playgrounds usually lasting about 12-15 years before requiring significant upgrades or renewal). More of an issue is the mulch surface on which the playground rests.
“Any time we have a large rain event on that property, all of the mulch gets washed away and ends up on the ball fields,” said Casperson. “Ultimately, it’s a safety issue when we can’t have the proper mulch depth.”
Any new surface would outlive the actual playground structure, so the department plans to replace both at the same time.
“We were recommended to replace the playground at the same time as the surface material, to get most return on investment,” said Casperson. “You can’t replace one or the other. So, we’re replacing that playground along with adding a new surface.”
The department is currently evaluating different surface options, with plans to start the project during the softball offseason – sometime in late August/early September – to inflict the least amount of inconvenience on users.
Community Center Management
The biggest change for the department’s staff in 2018 is their new offices in the Second Street Community Center, and managing the activities in the center as a whole.
“It is a huge amount of staff resources that is required to run it,” said Casperson. “It takes a lot of resources to answer questions, provide customer service, do the marketing, and logistics.”
Aside from parking concerns and minor moving pains, the transition has been a smooth one for the department and community.
“Overall, the community and users seem very happy with the building,” said Casperson. “Some individuals find it frustrating because of parking, but we’re going to try to address that this summer by adding new handicap parking.”
In 2019, he hopes to add staff, specifically a Technical Services Coordinator position to assist with customer service and front office management, as well as help with cemetery records management responsibilities (which is now operated under the department).
UW Fields Renovation
The two ball fields (one baseball/ one softball) are currently full of grass and weeds. The department plans to “skin” them and excavate the material so that there is only dirt in the field, and no grass.
“It’s easier to maintain,” said Casperson. “We’ve identified that the community desperately needs more practice facilities. We’re partnering with a lot of the baseball and softball groups, as well as civic groups like Sunrise Rotary to do this.”
Wildwood Zoo Additions
Wildwood Zoo is currently working with Design Unlimited on a new welcome center and cougar exhibit.
“The exhibit would be at least doubled, if not tripled, and have grass- not only concrete like it is now,” said Casperson. “We try to get our animals on a more natural surface.”
As part of this project, the zoo will also be adding ADA accessible restrooms and an animal handling area.
“The welcome center will be a place for people to escape from the elements, and where we’re going to have some educational components,” said Casperson. “We’ll have some sort of small exhibits – fish, reptiles – and in addition to the education component, we’ll have a focus on water.”
The department is working with Groundwater Guardians on creating an interactive feature that educates about water and its importance to society, culture, and the world as a whole. Construction won’t start until 2019, with 2018 dedicated to finalizing design and conducting additional fundraising.
For more information on Parks & Recreation projects, opportunities, and activities, visit ci.marshfield.wi.us.