Friday, November 18, 2016

By Small and Simple Things...

In my faith tradition, there's a scripture that says "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." In local government we do a lot of big things, but from day to day we do a lot of seemingly "small and simple" things that collectively make a community great. In this post I want to bring some attention to some of the recent "smaller" projects of our Public Works Department. And the best part: by doing some of these projects with staff expertise rather than contracting them out, we saved lots of tax payer money! #StretchingYourTaxDollars

Ballfield Renovations and Groomer Equipment
The three big items when it comes to baseball and softball field renovations are infields, backstops, and lights, and each year we try to tackle these improvements at several fields. This year we are renovating 2 infields, replacing 2 backstops, and replacing lights at one field. We are also purchasing infield groomer equipment that will allow us to better care for the infields during and between seasons. Below is a picture of a field getting its infield renovation a few weeks ago. This field had previously gotten new lights and backstops, and is now a first class facility!
Renovated infleld, lights, dugouts, and backstop. 
Recreation Complex Bathrooms
Last year we completely demolished and rebuilt two restrooms at the Complex, and we are currently performing major renovations on a third (expanding the footprint, installing all new plumbing, new roof, new garage door, etc.). And to top it off, by doing most of the work with our own staff rather than contracting it out, we are getting it done for less than half the cost! #StretchingYourTaxDollars
New bathroom near the tennis courts. 

New bathroom near the high school soccer fields. 

Bathroom renovation underway near the t-ball fields. 

Recreation Complex Painting Projects

Sometimes a new coat of paint makes a world of difference. In addition to the new bathroom buildings in the Complex, our Parks Division staff has been repainting other bathrooms, picnic shelters, and concession stands to put our best face forward.

Jaycee Football Building, Before and After.
Repainted Soccer Concession Stand.
Repainted Dudley Park Bathroom.

Repainted Dudley Park Picnic Shelter.

Recreation Complex New Soccer Goals

The Parks Division bought eight new sets of soccer goals (16 individual goals). These are both lighter and easier to secure to the ground, so they are easier and safer to move and to play around.
New Soccer Goal and Net at the Complex.

DIY (Do It Yourself) Salt Brine Mixer
We don't have to worry about snow and ice yet (knock on wood!), but when winter hits this year it will be easier to pre-treat the streets with salt brine (a salt water mixture) to keep ice from adhering to the streets, because our crews built their own mixer. For about $1,000 in materials, they built a mixer that would have cost over $10,000 to buy commercially. #StretchingYourTaxDollars
Salt Brine Mixer Built by Public Works Staff

Downtown ADA Improvements

We recently completed a project to replace or install 23 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant sidewalk curb ramps. These ramps not only allow individuals in wheelchairs to travel more easily, but also people with less severe mobility impairments, parents pushing strollers, and young children on bikes.
New wheelchair ramp near AT&T Building on Front St. 

New ADA curb ramps near Municipal Court at Front St and New Madrid St.

Street Sweeping

The Street Division replaced our old and unreliable street sweeper with a new model this year. Not only is it more efficient (it picks up about 4 times as much debris in the same amount of time), it can also travel at normal speeds when not sweeping, so it can travel to work areas and to dump sites much faster. It also has a suspension (unlike the old sweeper) so it's easier on the drivers. Not only that, many of the parts such as hoses and valves can be replaced from any hardware store instead of having to buy an expensive specialized part.
New street sweeper right after its daily cleanout.


Public Works recently completed the demolition of 16 unlivable houses and one commercial structure as part of our efforts to clear dilapidated buildings. These demolitions were 100% funded by CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds at no cost to the city. #StretchingYourTaxDollars
The gravel lot above used to be inhabited by a termite infested dilapidated
building which was demolished by Public Works using grant funds. 

Airport Terminal and Operations
The Public Works Department created an Airport Division this year and took over operations of the airport. We also completed construction of a new terminal building and are preparing to demolish the old building.
The new airport terminal building is now compete and open for business. 

DIY Animal Cages

Code Enforcement and Animal Control Officer Jamie Williams designed and constructed the cage below for use by the Animal Control Division. In the past Jamie has also designed and constructed specialized skunk traps that keep both the caged animal, and any humans nearby, safe and happy. #StretchingYourTaxDollars
Animal cage designed and built by our own staff. 

Upcoming Projects

This year's budget contains funds for several other Public Works projects and purchases that we are looking forward to, including purchase of 4 sets of standard bleachers and 2 sets of deluxe bleachers, new mowers for the parks, new mosquito fogging equipment, a snow plow blade for one of the pickups (for use in tighter spots than the dump trucks can fit), a trail link between the Complex and the former Bootheel Golf Course, paving a parking lot at Lincoln Park, and building maintenance at the animal shelter.