Improvements planned for London’s parks and pool

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick Brothers Sully Minner (left) and Colin Minner get in some batting practice at one of the ball fields at Merri Mac Park in London. City council recently approved funding for improvements at the park and at other recreation facilities around town.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Brothers Sully Minner (left) and Colin Minner get in some batting practice at one of the ball fields at Merri Mac Park in London. City council recently approved funding for improvements at the park and at other recreation facilities around town.

(Posted June 11, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Some parks and recreation areas in London are set to receive a little extra TLC.

On June 4, London city council members approved the release of $25,000 from the Parks and Playground Fund for improvements to the municipal pool, Merri Mac Park, Cowling Park and a future playground area on the north side of the city.

The Parks and Playground fund is separate from the city’s general fund. The money comes from fees associated with new housing starts.

Of the amount released, $10,000 is for cement work at the bottom of the handicap accessible pool and stairs in the shallow end of the main pool. The cement work was completed prior to the start of this pool season. The stairs will be installed after the pool closes this year because installation requires the pool to be drained.

“We bought a set of stairs for the racing pool and people really enjoyed it, so it made sense to do it for the main pool,” said Steve Hume, safety-service director. “Some people have a hard time getting in and out of the pool. The stairs will really help.”

Another possible pool project involves upgrading the diving boards.

A total of $5,000 has been set aside for dugout improvements, fence repair and ball field repair at Merri Mac Park.

“We want to make it attractive for people to want to spend time there,” said Tony Brake, parks and recreation director. “We need to make the fields safe to create interest to get softball back in town.”

Another $5,000 is going toward develop-ment of sand volleyball courts, a possible pump track and additional parking on the pool side of Cowling Park.

Brake and organizers of the London Fastpitch organization worked together to reconfigure and slightly relocate the park’s ball field. This gave the expanding fastpitch group another place to play and freed up space for the volleyball courts and pump track.

The volleyball courts are slated to go between leftfield and the basketball courts. The pump track, an informal BMX-style bike course, is to go between rightfield and the pool.

“The goal is to get that part of the park complete and into maintenance mode,” Brake said.

The remaining $5,000 is for establishment of a playground area to serve the newer housing developments on the north side of London. As required by subdivision rules, the developer set aside green space for recreation.

“We want to take advantage of that and provide a park for that end of town,” Brake said, adding that the city will work with the homeowners’ association to complete the project.

The city’s plan is to start and/or complete all of the pool and park projects this year, Hume said.

London city council’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. June 18 in council chambers, 6 E. Second St. Council typically meets the first and third Thursdays of the month. They will skip the first Thursday in July.

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