Today I met with Charles Kirk, Victor Gardens Gables Association Liaison, and Chris Petree, Public Works Director for the City of Hugo. The meeting was informative and productive. We discussed a list of neighbors questions and suggestions. A general summary of Chris Petree’s comments appears below and is indicated in red.
Sprinkler Irrigation in Parks: Val Jean Park and Arbre Park’s sprinkler irrigation have not yet been turned on as of today (June 5, 2007). As part of the turnover process of the Parks, CPDC must show the City that the sprinklers (and other items) are in good working order. An irrigation contractor has been notified, but must be paid to demonstrate the start-up process, and allow the City to inspect the system before CPDC turns it over. Mr. Petree will work with Mr. Hempel to resolve the payment issue, then schedule the start-up with the irrigation contractor.
Val Jean Park Fountain: Repair drinking fountain in Val Jean Park. This issue is tied into the turning on of water sprinklers in the Park. The drinking fountain is connected to the same water source. It also must be demonstrated to the City that the drinking fountain is working before it is turned over to City control. It will likely be addressed when the irrigation systems are started.
Tennis court - Consider adding a device to prevent wide opening of the tennis court’s doorway to physically prevent bicycles from entering. Mr. Petree confirmed a thought that was previously addressed by Dave Hempel, of CPDC. The American With Disabilities Act prevents the installation of such a device as it would limit access for the mobility impaired.
Tennis court - Consider adding signs to tennis court prohibiting bikes, skates & scooters, which damage the court’s surface. Signs will be ordered within a week. They will be installed by the City when they arrive.
Tennis court - Consider adding “dogs prohibited” signs in the tennis court as dog waste has been found inside the fence and on the court itself. Signs will be ordered within a week. They will be installed by the City when they arrive.
Tennis court - Fix latch on tennis court door. Again, before the tennis courts are turned over, they have to be in working order. It is CPDC’s responsibility to repair the latch.
Arbre Park - Rake mulch near bleachers and playground equipment & repair edging near the playground. Mr. Petree said that these issues will be addressed next year. He expects that a budget will be approved to make improvements in 2008. The changes/upgrades will likely include:
Removing existing plastic edging, and install new concrete curbing around the playground equipment. This provides a more permanent fix, and is done citywide in many of Hugo’s parks, including Val Jean Park. When curbing is installed a section will be included to connect to nearby sidewalks, which will make the Arbre’s playground handicap accessible.
The level of wood mulch will be raised to a level originally intended, but never completed. The mulch will cover the base structures that support the playground equipment.
The wood chips mulch under the bleachers will likely be removed and replaced with crushed rock, to reduce maintenance hassles.
Consider adding a drinking fountain to Arbre Park. No fountain will be installed in Arbre Park at this time. The cost of adding a new fountain would cost thousands of dollars to install - too expensive to recommend to the Parks Commission for approval. As we have experienced with the drinking fountain in Val Jean Park, maintenance issues are also a major problem.
Check safety issues on playground equipment and discuss adding a step for small children. Loose fasteners and handrails will be repaired. Mr. Petree was surprised that this had not been done, as the playground equipment vendor told him it was supposed to be completed already. He will be following up to make sure it is properly fixed. A new step has already been ordered and will be installed when it’s available. The higher wood mulch level, expected in 2008 will also help this situation.
A large, rotting Cottonwood tree in Arbre Park needs attention. Sadly, there are a few trees that will need to be taken down in Arbre Park. The dead and dying trees present a safety problem. Mr. Petree will consult with a local tree company, and schedule removal of some of the trees. This is another issue (similar to irrigation) where Mr. Petree will need to negotiate with CPDC to pay for the removal of the trees.
Signs - Repair leaning stop sign at Garden Way and Arbre near the postal station in Arbre Park. Many of the neighborhood's signs were installed in the winter. Many of the neighborhood’s signs will be re-installed properly by the City this summer, using a more reliable method.
Consider adding “Children at Play” signs. Mr. Petree said that numerous studies have concluded that these signs has the opposite effect. To prevent a false sense of security for children and their parents, these signs will not be installed.
Consider adding “Teeter-totter” graphic sign in close proximity to playgrounds. The City will install the more graphic teeter-totter signs inside the Parks, where they belong. They will be installed when the other street signs are re-installed.
Consider adding “Speed Limit” signs on key roadways, especially on Garden Way & Victor Hugo Blvd. Again, it is believed that this has an opposite effect. The speed limit is regulated by the State of Minnesota. The speed limit along these roadways is 30MPH, far faster than what most are currently driving. Adding 30MPH signs could actually increase the average speed of drivers on our streets. Mr. Petree has encouraged the Washington County Sherriff to step up its patrols of our neighborhood. Residents are also encouraged to contact the Sherriff’s Department regarding speeding problems. Although there is some pass-through traffic, much of the “speeding” is done by residents themselves. Please slow down.
Barricade sign on the east end on Garden Way: This sign will be removed and replaced by the citywide standard of 3 smaller yellow & black diamond shaped signs. The new signs will be more permanent than the snowplow-damaged barricade signs.
Additional asphalt on V.G. streets: Determine schedule with City on the final layer of blacktop on some of our streets. The final layer of asphalt on some of Victor Gardens’ streets will coincide with other public works projects, like the completion of the sanitary sewer lift station near the Ryland Homes on the East side of Clearwater Creek.
Are there any city-related issues which prevent CPDC's completion of the "Welcome to Hugo" monument? With the County and City’s major upgrades along the Frenchman road corridor this summer, the City is very interested in completing the “Welcome to Hugo” monument. Mr. Petree will work with Dave Hempel & CPDC to move the project forward. For your reference, a pdf copy of notes made during a meeting to discuss the turnover of Victor Gardens parks can be viewed by clicking here.