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Augusta Council OKs community garden, disc golf course (Mar 5)

Mar. 5, 2015- The Augusta City Council approved two community projects recommended by the Augusta Park Board at Monday night’s council meeting.

Local residents Monica Guilliams and Beau Daigh spoke to the City Council last year asking to create a community garden in the Meadowview Acres area adjacent to Garvin Park. They selected the area because of the availability of water service, vehicle access, parking and available space. The garden plan included rental/lease plots for the public to grow their own produce and a community portion of the garden where items would be planted and produce donated to local community organizations.

The Park Board liked the idea, but a number of details had to be considered. A number of proposals were under consideration for Meadowview Acres at the time and a decision was required on moving forward with the different projects.

Assistant City Manager Cody Sims explained to the council discussion was made concerning by-laws and location. The current Parks Department Facility, formerly the old Butler County shop, in the 1300 block of Ohio St., was proposed as an alternative location and accepted.

“As with Meadowview Acres, all utilities are readily available and with the upcoming Ohio Stree Reconstruction Project, the community garden can be tied into a more impactful project,” Sims continued. “It is more a centralized location and a higher population density.”

With a developing sidewalk network connecting surrounding neighborhoods to Ohio Street, it will result in greater visibility and community support.

“Once the Parks Department relocates to the new Public Works facility after its constructed, it will be a great re-use of the property,” Sims said.

Sims also advised council members while the Parks Department remains at the current Ohio Street location, the community garden will be limited to the north end of the property and as the site is vacated, the garden will be able to expand, potentially including a farmers market in the existing building.

Council approved, 7-0 (Councilor Jamie Crum was absent), the location plan and a final drawing of the design layout will be brought back for approval at a future date.

Disc Golf Course approved

Council members also approved, 7-0, the recommendation of the Park Board for the location and layout of a proposed nine-hole par-three disc golf course in Garvin Park. The course will utilize the park’s varying topography into the difficulty of the course.

Sims advised the council fiscal impact to the City of Augusta will be minimal, limited to routine park maintenance and installation of course equipment.

“Equipment required for the course will be purchased via sponsorships and no city funds will be required for equipment acquisition,” Sims stated.

“I do have some concern about the proximity of the course to the playground area. Some of the discs are hard plastic,” Mayor Matt Childers said.

City Manager Josh Shaw responded, “I’ve got the same concern with Hole #2, but we can work this out and make adjustments.”

Councilor Jason Lowery added, “I’m in favor of this. What a great resource Garvin Park is – this will attract visitors.”

“We need a master plan for Meadowview Acres. Will it be a part of the park system? We just need to establish a plan,” advised Councilor Ron Reavis, who is also a member of the Park Board.

Cemetery Road will be paved next year
Council members also approved, (7-0), to pave the unfinished gravel road in Elmwood Cemetery to connect to 12th St. Council had requested cost estimates for paving the unfinished gravel road located on the east side of the cemetery, and MKEC provided a cost estimate of $34,375 for the construction portion of the project, plus an estimated $7,000 for design and construction engineering services, with a total project cost of $41,375.

Shaw explained because resources were not allocated in the 2015 Budget to pay for the project, council has the option of amending the budget to provide budget authority in order to make the project happen. He also stated another alternative to avoid the amendment process in 2015 would be to consider using budgeted General Fund Reserves to pay for the project and then reimburse the reserves out of the Cemetery Endowment Fund in next year’s budget.

The recommendation to the council was if the project proceeds, it should be budgeted and paid out of Cemetery Endowment Fund 11, which is a dedicated funding resource for the cemetery generated from fees from the sale of cemetery lots. State statute allows only the interest off of the principal amount in the endowment may be used each year without passage of a formal Resolution of the Governing Body. There is currently $99,000 in the fund, which can be used for capital improvements at the cemetery.

The consensus of the council Monday night was to take $42,000 out of the Cemetery Endowment Fund 11 in the 2016 Budget, with no budget amendments or general fund transfers required. No motion was necessary from the council and Shaw will include in the 2016 Budget documents.

Other items of business:
• approval of low bid in the amount of $59,677, and transfer of current Chevrolet 3500 to Santa Fe Lake upon the delivery of a 2016 Ford F-550 from Rusty Eck Ford.
• approval of Planning Commission recommendation to initiate Comprehensive Plan Process to begin. The intensive process is expected to take a minimum of 12 to 18 months to complete. It is the master community plan for community development over the next 15-20 years.
• approval of engineering services agreement in the amount of $29,400 with MKEC for construction engineering services related to the 2015 Street Sales Tax maintenance projects.
• approval of the transfer of found property to the Fire Division of the Department of Safety. In July of 2014 local officers recovered a large amount of property from a forgery case they were working. The property included an assorted tools and small electronics. The value of the items aren’t sufficient to justify the cost of an auction and because the items can be used in fire suppression, rescue, and building/vehicle maintenance related activities, the council was being asked to approve the transfer. The remaining unclaimed items would then be destroyed pursuant to city code and state statute.
• approval of supplemental funding request for Dike Road Project Engineering Services in the amount of $4,250 to MKEC for services completed beyond the scope of work identified in the original agreement for the Dike Road project.

Original: http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20150305/NEWS/150309688/11669/NEWS/?Start=3#sthash.zKj2NHz1.dpuf

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