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New playground equipment will be purchased for first time in 35 years

Staff writer

A long-range plan for replacing playground equipment in the city park was presented Monday to Peabody City Council.

The area will feature four character spring riders and a supernova — a large slanting ring set in motion by children’s play.

Councilman Tom Schmidt submitted a bid from Joel Rodell of PG Playgrounds for $13,797 for equipment only. Safefall material and a concrete ribbon to enclose the area will cost extra.

Members of Peabody Community Quilt group hosted a quilt show and auction two years ago and raised $7,000, which they donated to a playground equipment fund. With additional money available from the estates of Gladys Hart and Andy Shank and some funds from the city, Schmidt said there is enough available to install the first phase of the project.

“The initial bid came in at $10,300 in October of 2008,” Schmidt said. “The one you are seeing tonight is $13,797; almost a $3,500 increase. So, we would like to move on this and get the equipment in.

“It has been 35 years since Gladys Hart left a large portion of her estate to the city for play ground equipment,” Schmidt said. “It is time to start again.”

Council members agreed to review the drawings and bid sheets, and make a decision about spending the money at the Sept. 14 meeting.

Quilt project members were present to hear the plan and it was noted they would be hosting another quilt show and benefit auction in hope of generating more funds for future playground equipment.

Schmidt also assured council members and the audience that only the small merry-go-round would be removed because the bearings are worn out. Other equipment deemed unsafe already has been removed.

Christie McBride, Dinah Richmond, and Bev Wilson made a presentation to city council of funds raised for another community project. The women presented $381 to the council for Christmas lights.

McBride and her husband donated ice cream for an ice cream social at Sunflower Cafe Aug. 15.

Richmond and Wilson are members of Sassy Silk Hatters chapter of Red Hat Society. Members of the group partnered with the McBrides to host the ice cream social. The Red Hat ladies made desserts to serve with the ice cream.

Money raised will help pay for Christmas lights that outline rooftops of the historic downtown district. Almost all of the lights were broken during a hailstorm in July. Christmas lights are supported solely by donations.

In other business:

  • Use of city park was approved for a back-to-school party at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The event is sponsored by a group of parents. Students in grades five through 12 are invited. Peabody police will allow the park to remain open until the event ends at 11 p.m.
  • Jim Rippe of Peabody Planning and Zoning Committee presented a plan to host a training session on Nov. 14 in Peabody with planning and zoning expert David Yearout. Rippe said the committee would invite other communities in the area to participate and perhaps defray some of cost for a speaker. The council approved the plan to host the workshop as presented.
  • One bid for the former city shop was opened from Chris Young, doing business as Greenleaf Prairie Landscaping. His bid for $3,000 was under the $5,000 minimum set by the council in July and no action was taken. The council referred the bid to Peabody Economic Development committee for consideration.
  • The issue regarding the cost of carrying $1 million worth of liability insurance to be able to do contracting work in the city was resolved after a contractor in question found that the cost difference between a $500,000 policy and a $1 million policy was minimal.
  • After considerable discussion, council members approved a 50-cent per hour pay raise for Tammy Whiteside and Cindy Harms based on a request by their department head, Bruce Burke, during their evaluations in the fall of 2008. The vote was split, three to two, in favor of the raise with Steve Rose and Janice Woodruff opposed.
  • Public Works Director Darren Pickens presented cost information for materials to repair Fifth Street bridge. The cost will be $13,112. Most of the labor and heavy equipment would be provided by the county. The council approved the cost and directed Pickens to order the materials.
  • Pickens also noted the pool needs a new cover this year. Council approved $5,742 to purchase the cover from United Industries.
  • A decision was tabled regarding the purchase of a new alarm system for the sewer plant, the replacement of a drainage pipe at the south end of the football field at city park, and the purchase of a valve exerciser for use on water valves.
  • Ordinance 08-2009 will be published to amend regulations governing truck routes and parking areas. Council members tabled a decision on publishing the standard traffic code ordinance and the uniform offense code ordinance.
  • Marty Stevenson and Terry Clover were present to discuss a dispute with the city about whether they were properly notified that the city would clean up their properties in December 2008. No agreement was reached with the council, but Stevenson and Clover will return to present, in written form, what they feel they need to reach an agreement with the city.
  • City Administrator Mac Manning noted the city has maintained an excellent rating from Workman’s Comp insurance since 2001 because there have been few claims.
  • The council went into executive session with Burke and Manning to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.

Last modified Sept. 3, 2009

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