Parks, bathroom issue discussed at council meeting

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

The Sharp Farm will be the location for a new park

Prior to the swearing in of new member of Milford City Council, Larry Passwaters spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting regarding a park planned on the Sharp property the city purchased several years ago. Passwaters was concerned about the amount of concrete and parking planned as well as the fact that the city needed a new trash truck that he understood had been deferred. Passwaters also felt that council members no longer met with constituents, stating that he would rather see the city return to the “good old boy” methods they used in the past.

“I want to address some comments made last week prior to the meeting. As far as commenting that we don’t get together with constituents, to the new people, you need to realize that’s not totally true. You’ll be getting a lot of calls,” Councilman Dan Marabello said in response to Passwaters at the most recent meeting. “As far as the comment on the park, and not getting the refuse truck, saying the money we had on the park could be used for the truck. We have a capital budget that’s very refined and we put money away every year so we will always have money in advance. We’re very proactive in our planning. So, I didn’t think that comment was called for. And as far as the park where the gentleman referred to, we have to have roads, concrete roads or whatever. As you heard from the park’s director, we’re going to have tried to get the best design possible.”

Councilman Marabello was referring to the Parks and Recreation Director’s report given by Brad Dennehy in the meeting who stated that he was working with the design company who was creating the plan for the new park.

“Mark and I met with the lead designer on that just recently, and he is working on coming up with probably three different potential proposals. What could occur once those are back is an open house so people can come and give their comments,” Dennehy said. “I’d imagine they are going to look at an area of land we purchased several years ago to see what we can do with it. I hate to give council a timeline, but I’m optimistic we can have that in the next couple of months so we can organize a public session and people can come and give us the comments.”

During the report, discussion also centered around public restrooms after Councilman Jason James asked about the new restroom planned for downtown.

“We got promised some federal funding and anytime you deal with federal funds, it’s not as easy as when we deal with state funds,” Dennehy said. “At the state level, you can just call and get an update. We have a tentative date, I think next year, that this will be funded, but we need to get a commitment from them. The design and infrastructure issues are resolved, and we are just waiting on funding.”

Dennehy also explained that they were having some issues with the bathroom at the Can-Do Playground in Silicato Park.

“It’s amazing how much abuse a public restroom can take,” Dennehy said. “We are hoping to address some problems out there that will allow us to lock down the restroom using a timer lock system. The system will lock the bathrooms at nine o’clock at night and it opens at seven in the morning when people are on the trails.”

Councilwoman Madula Kalesis questioned how the timer would prevent someone from just breaking into the restrooms.

“It seems that what happens is that people just come in and throw stuff inside and flush things down the toilet,” Dennehy said. “The way it’s constructed, it’s precast concrete and the outside of it is basically bomb proof. Inside, it is all stainless steel and there’s no way to really smash that. What we do is we have a faucet and hose that we use to just wash the whole thing out. But, today, when we went in there, we found three boxes of spaghetti thrown around. I don’t know why you would want to go to a public restroom and throw boxes of spaghetti, but that is what we are dealing with. Most of these issues occur after hours, so we think the locks may help.”

Councilwoman Kalesis stated that she heard several people complaining about the bathrooms being locked.

“When I get a call at six o’clock that the bathroom has been destroyed, the only option we have is to lock it up, even if we have practice going on there,” Dennehy said. “If I have to bring crews in, by the time they get there and get it done, practice is over. We have dealt with that by putting to porta-johns out there that we rent. We’ve talked to the guy doing the door locks about cameras, but to get them out there we also need internet out there, which is a whole issue in itself.”

Councilman Nadia Zychal asked about glass at the dog park as she had heard from others it was a problem. She questioned whether there were cameras there.

“There’s two parts to that. That original sight was a dump, believe it or not, and when the city got ahold of it, it was a staging area for school buses,” Dennehy said. “When they came in and graded it, but never put topsoil down but no irrigation system. When I inherited it, we tried to rebuild it by putting in irrigation. The problem was that the digging exposed some of the items buried, so it is not a case of people coming in and smashing bottles.”

Dennehy continued, stating that there was a pretty active dog park population.

“They email or call me extensively, probably three or four times a week,” Dennehy said. “We had a crew putting in new topsoil this morning along with new stone. We’re actively monitoring that area. It is one area where I’d like to get cameras but we don’t have a lot of issues.”


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