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The ramp and pier are closed!

‘I don’t know how much clearer we can be’

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:22 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:25 p.m. CST

PRINCETON — Once again, the public is asked to stay off the ramp leading to the fishing dock at the Zearing Park pond.

Elaine Russell, park district executive director, said the ramp and pier is closed and will remain closed until further notice. People should not be crossing the barricade, she said.

“I do not know how much clearer we can be than to have a barricade and chain across the entrance,” Russell said. “It saddens me to think people think they are so special as to not heed the warning of danger.”

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, the cement bases under the ramp leading to the dock are heaving up at different levels, which has essentially twisted the ramp, pulling at all its seams and joints. The pier itself is fine, but the ramp is not and has been closed since April. Much of the damage was due to the freezing and thawing throughout the winter months.

At this week’s Princeton Park Board meeting, Russell and Superintendent of Parks Keith Scherer reported they had met with Chamlin and Associates engineer Kevin Heitz, along with representatives from Liebhart Construction Co. that had installed the fishing pier, to discuss the problem. It was determined the responsibility of the construction appears to complicate the current issues; Chamlin and Liebhart will work together to repair this issue, Russell said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the Princeton Park District Board is closing in on a final budget and appropriations ordinance for the new 2014-15 fiscal year. A public hearing on the tentative budget is set for 4:15 p.m. Sept. 2, with official approval of the budget at the meeting following.

She and the park board are optimistic when it comes to the new tentative budget, Russell said.

“We tightened our belts when necessary, and everything we did several years back has proven to provide us with money in the bank and the means to pay our debts,” she said.“The 2010 through 2012 years were a rough three years. But those were the years that taught us a pattern to follow financially.”

That focus meant the district worked with estimated revenues, knowing if those revenues were not met, sometimes the district could not purchase the things it wanted at the beginning of the budget year.

“We constantly have to make sacrifices in order to maintain a tight budget. I always state we cannot always obtain our wants, but we have done a great job of keeping up with our needs,” Russell said.

Looking ahead to coming expenses, Russell said repairing of parking lots is a huge project. The board had approved the Metro Center parking lot work last year and must continue completion on that. Another upcoming project is to seal the path at Zearing Park and to expand the Zearing Park maintenance shed. Also, the Metro Center needs to have one of its two air conditioning units replaced.

“The list is endless, but with proper maintenance we continue to maintain as best we can,” Russell said.

Until payment is completed in 2024 on the 40-acre addition at Zearing Park, there will be little change in the district’s revenue source, Russell said, adding that knowing the financial limitations with both expenses and revenues will keep the district on track into the future.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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