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Winter months take toll on Zearing Park

Public should not use the pier

PRINCETON — The fishing pier at the Zearing Park pond in Princeton is closed for now due to damage from the winter weather.

At Monday’s meeting of the Princeton Park Board, Superintendent of Parks Keith Scherer reported on the damage, saying the cement bases under the ramp leading to the fishing dock are “heaving up” at different levels. The heaving has essentially twisted the ramp, pulling at all its seams and joints. Much of this is due to freezing and thawing throughout the winter months, Scherer said.

On Tuesday, Elaine Russell, executive director, said the pier has been closed with a chained barricade, and people are asked to not use the pier. The pier itself is in fine condition, but the entire ramp has been effected.

“This was an extremely harsh winter, and unfortunately, the Zearing Pond pier took a beating. The pier is currently closed to the public while the engineers and park district determine how to repair the damage that has occurred,” Russell said. “To the displeasure of the park district, individuals are still ignoring this signage and going onto the pier. We do ask that they be aware this is dangerous until we determine how to repair the ramp.”

Russell said she and Scherer have met with engineer Kevin Heitz with Chamlin & Associates, who is in the process of contacting the original contractor for a meeting to discuss the park district’s next step.

In other business at Monday’s board meeting, Russell reviewed several funds within the proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget, which she described as a “holding steady” budget.

“During the past four years we have held true to reducing costs and always living within our means. We have found a monthly financial guide that allows board and staff to follow revenue versus expenditures through our 12-month fiscal. We know how much cash in bank is required each month and what average expenditures should be. This method has kept our financial path into our future solid,” Russell said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board discussed possible contribution requests to be presented to the Shoemake Foundation. Each year the park district staff comprises a list of items needed at the Metro Center which are not in the budget but would enhance the facility. The Shoemake Foundation is then able to choose projects most suitable to its mission statement, Russell said.

In past years, the Shoemake Foundation has purchased everything from cardio and weight room equipment, a walk-in freezer, a sauna update, and installed handicap door handles. The foundation has also purchased Metro Center pool sound baffles, rental tables and chairs, replaced gym and fitness room flooring, bought computer equipment, upgraded the heating and A/C; replaced boilers and so much more, she said. 

“The Shoemake Foundation’s support of the Metro Center is wonderful,” Russell said.

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