VALPARAISO | The Valparaiso Parks Department has a priority list of projects it wants to do in 2013 but only enough money to do about a third of them.
"Last year we were at this same point, but we kept plugging away," Valparaiso's Parks Director John Seibert said, adding the department continued to find money to do other projects than it originally had funds for.
Seibert said the department has about $315,000 in needs for the coming year with only about $185,000 in funds, but about $30,000 or $40,000 of those funds are committed to completion of the drainage improvements at Bicentennial Park.
The top project on the list is replacing the Kirchhoff Park playground equipment at a cost of about $30,000 followed by $5,000 for technology replacement, $2,000 for work on the floor at the Butterfield Pavilion at Fairgrounds Park and two new tractors for a total of $44,000.
Seibert said the concrete floor at the Butterfield Pavilion is 40-50 years old and should be replaced because it is cracked and heaving in places so it is a tripping hazard. Instead, the ridges will be ground down so the furniture doesn't have to be strategically placed to prevent people from tripping.
The next item on the list is $10,000 for cosmetic improvements to the tennis courts at Bicentennial. These also need completely replaced, but putting in two new courts would cost an estimated $150,000. He said the board might have to decide soon whether it is worth it to keep the courts unless a donor can be found "who wants the courts named after them."
The department also is completing several projects started in 2012, only some of which are funded. A major one is lifetime wellness equipment for Fairgrounds at a cost of $120,000, including the cost of an instructor. Seibert said the city will know soon if it will get a grant to fund this project. If not, it won't be done, he said.
Additional funds also are needed for the Bicentennial drainage project.