Dear Neighbors- A few weeks ago I provided an update on Liberty Park and promised to provide more information once we entered "the home stretch" of the project. Here are some of the recent project completion updates, information on what is still pending, and some general information.
First, we are planning a "soft opening" on Thursday, July 7th at 7:00pm, with a walk through the park led by the Mayor and myself. We will be on hand to show you some of the work that was completed (some obvious, and some hidden underground), discuss what is still pending, and answer any questions that you might have.
Since I last posted there have been several major accomplishments, including:
1- The paving and parking-space-striping of the old Park Avenue. There are now several parking spaces at the end of the park near Main Street including a designated handicapped spot (everyone is still welcome to continue to park on Main Street as they did before the project), as well as two parking spaces on the opposite side of the old Park Avenue, where it intersects with Lackawanna Avenue by the Scout Cabin.
2- The old deteriorating concrete ramp and rusted railings leading up to the Scout Cabin has been removed and replaced with an ADA-compliant packed crushed gravel ramp (matching the walkways) with a more gentle slope. The Scout Cabin also has a new roof, new gutters, and new lights in front.
3- The weir/spillway and railings at the south side of the park have been power-washed and repainted.
4- The new LED electric light posts are operational, as are numerous LED lights installed as both accent lighting and in the trees on the far side of the pond are installed and operational. The lights will stay on from dusk to dawn. Please swing by one evening to take a look...it is really quite lovely.
5- 1000+ plantings, both in the pond, around the pond, and in the mulch beds are in place. I'm a bit concerned about the health of some of the plants since the contractor is responsible for watering them until they are turned over to the Borough at project completion, BUT the contractor is contractually obligated to replant any that don't survive.
6- The lawn areas have been sprayed with hydroseed, a heat tolerant grass seed. The Borough has concerns about the ground/soil preparation, however, we are not paying for this service until the lawn is fully grown and we sign off after the lawn is 100% healthy and fully grown.
7- The drainage work is completed, including numerous surface drains and "multi-flow" drain tubes used to spread out the water during heavy rains and flooding. We ask the public's understanding that it is literally impossible to remediate all flooding/water-collection in the park since it is located within a flood-plain and the DEP only gave us limited options to deal with the water, but it should be much improved over the muddy conditions that previously existed.
8- The gravel walkways are virtually completed at this point.
9- The old mulch in the Tot-Lot has been removed by our public works staff. A new 4' black aluminum fence surrounding the lot should be installed in the next 2 days, replacing the old chain link fence that was there. The public works officials will then install playground-certified mulch by the end of this week. With respect to the playground equipment itself, our Recreation Commission felt that the existing equipment was still in reasonably good condition, so this equipment was power-washed today and the metal will be painted this week. The Recreation Commission will also consider adding 2 or 3 additional playground pieces of equipment later this year.
10- The inside of the Gazebo (ceiling) has now been painted white and looks quite nice.
11- The trash receptacles have been installed and actually look nice (that may sound like an oxymoron, but it's true!). We are looking to install one additional receptacle near the Tot-Lot after construction is completed.
Now for some of the items that proved to be a problem and/or will be completed after the software-opening:
1- Electric Service for the Fountains- New electric service is planned for the fountains (and future park use). The "pad" is poured by the sidewalk on Main Street and all of the cables are buried. The problem is that for safety reasons we need a locking electrical panel cabinet. This has been on order for months and due to supply chain issues there is still no ETA. We continue to explore alternative options. Once the cabinet is delivered and installed, JCP&L will install the power from an adjacent pole.
2- Benches and Picnic Tables- We ordered additional benches, using the same wood as the existing benches and, again due to supply issues, these will be delivered late. There were a number of other benches removed from the park that have been cleaned and will be reinstalled as soon as we receive the ground-mounting brackets (backordered due to supply chain issues). We are planning on also having one or two picnic tables placed by the Tot-Lot.
3- Flag Pole- We have ordered a new 30' fiberglass flagpole. The pole is backordered for about 2 more months.
4- Fences- For those of you who read my earlier posting, the orange fences are a necessary eye-sore in order to protect the new plants until they take root (approximately 1 year). They will then be removed. We did a test without the fences and the Geese were pulling out the plants within hours of planting them. The black silt-fences that are placed around the grass seeded areas will be removed next week.
5- Geese- Ugh. While we do have fewer Geese than before the project started, we have too many and this poses a nuisance on many levels. We are going to try a remediation system that uses light to dissuade the Geese from remaining, and this system is guaranteed by the manufacturer, but I have my doubts. It is worth giving this method a try before other removal methods are considered.
6- The mulch beds have developed weeds since the early plantings were done, but the contractor is obligated to clean the mulch beds prior to handing the park over to the Borough so this will hopefully be done next week. The Borough will assign a member of its Public Works staff to maintain the park, including the mulch beds, and Goose-excrement removal as much as possible.
7- The new planters at the entrance to the park are "cast" and I'm unhappy with the seams between the two sections. The contractor is working with the manufacturer to figure out a way to clean up this minor issue.
8- The Doggy-Potty bag dispensers have been ordered but will not arrive until after the park is reopened.
9- We have made arrangements with JCP&L to install copper colonial-style lights on the utility poles along Park Avenue (three of them from Main Street down to Lackawanna). These lights will replace the existing standard street lights, but we do not have an installation date from them yet.
10- Water Quality- We are hopeful as the root systems develop for the numerous plants, that these roots will remove phosphates from the pond water and help keep the algae down. Once the aerators and fountains are operational, the movement of the water from these devices will also have a positive effect.
11- We need to figure out how/where to place a holiday tree and decorations in the park. This will be discussed at a later date.
The Council also decided at their meeting last evening to have the official park open-hours as 6:00am to 9:00pm.
OK...that was a lot of information. I hope you can stop by the park next week for the walk-through and I'll try my best to answer any questions that anyone might have.
Councilman Donald Lemma