Additional bids under review for playground project

Friday, November 6, 2020

After two years of planning and fundraising, further decisions need to be made before Alta updates its parks with new playground equipment.

Heidi Reetz, chair of the parks department, spoke to council members at the Nov. 2nd Alta City Council meeting about the proposed playground project, a joint venture between the City of Alta and Alta-Aurelia School District. The city’s portion of the project is about $90,000.

ABCreative was to be hired for the project, in part because they offered a sizeable grant, but adequate funds have not been raised yet, prompting organizers to find other solutions.

“They district are waiting for a couple more bids to come in,” Heidi Reetz, Parks chair, said. “If the amount is over so many thousands of dollars, they have to have more than one bid. Nov. 23rd, he superintendent William Walters is supposed to have 2-3 more bids from other companies that they are going to look over and see if they are better than the bid that we got for ABCreative.”

The city’s $90,000 cost is not for any removal of playground equipment, but for all other associated costs. Reetz said there is very little to remove from the Shelter House playground because they plan to keep the blue playground, so all that requires removal is a swing set that can be re-used.

At the school playground, several residents have offered to remove the old equipment at no cost.

Mayor Kevin Walsh is concerned the schools are going to break off with the city in the project which began as a community/school venture. He asked if the schools plan to share some proceeds from fundraising events.

“The PTO plans on splitting the fundraising money that the PTO is raising,” Reetz said. She is unsure if it would be split 50/50 between the schools and the city or another percentage. Fundraising at the schools is on-going.

“It’s going to be so confusing to the community with two playground projects going on at the same time,” Mayor Walsh said.

“I think it already is because I think there was some confusion,” Reetz said. “This has been going on for the last two years and it seems like nobody knew about it even though it was in the papers and we’ve been trying to fundraise together. That’s why we joined together, the city and the schools, to make this so we can make our community better together all at once and have both parks taken care of.”

She is attempting to get a definite answer from the school superintendent, then the city should know more by Nov. 23rd of how this will go forward, she said. An ABCreative representative reminded Reetz that if the playground is not purchased this year, the cost will increase by 6% each year.

Another option Reetz suggested is for the city to take out a 6-year loan to fund the playground project. Alta City Clerk Megan Peterson spoke of the time involved in acquiring a loan. “Anytime the city borrows money like that, we have to go through the bonding process. If it gets decided, I don’t think anything would get done in time by Dec. 15th.”

In other council business:

The council voted unanimously to fill the city council vacancy with Molly Elston. Her term will end on Dec. 31st, 2021. She will fill the position of Wes Bunjes who stepped down from serving on city council in September.

Council members voted unanimously to spend $18,175. to purchase a new computer system for the wastewater plant. Mike Miller with Mike’s Electronics in Alta gave details to the council.

An ongoing problem brought up by Code Enforcement Officer John Stange pertains to complaints of chickens within city limits. “There has been a few residents that have called in about the chickens,” he said. “The Zoning Ordinance and Code of Ordinances does not allow for Agricultural animals within the city limits unless it is in the Agriculture Zone.”

He has attempted several times to contact the chickens’ owners but has been unable to reach them. “I will be contacting the individual again and let them know a fine will be handed out if they do not remove the chickens. One council member suggested fining the owner at least $300. The Mayor said we just need to be consistent, but he believes $300 is too harsh of a penalty. The mayor recommended that Stange attempt to contact the owner once more before issuing a fine. Peterson said that to physically contact someone, it may take a lawyer.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Dec. 7th.