The Municipal October 2021

Page 1

The Premier Magazine For America’s Municipalities

October 2021

Parks & Environmental Services

INSIDE: Land Pride Maintaining waterways Bolingbrook, IL Permit No. 1939


Parks adapt to staffing shortages

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Contents 22

October 2021 | VOL. 12 No. 7 |

17 P arks & Environmental Services 18 Focus on Parks &

Environmental Services: Knoxville prioritizes recreation and equitable infrastructure

36 22 Focus on Parks &

Environmental Services: Cleaning up municipal waterways

28 Focus on Parks &

Environmental Services: Amphitheaters across the country strengthen tourism, unite communities Focus on Parks & 42 32 Environmental Services: Parks departments face summer staffing during a time of shortage

36 Focus on Parks &

Environmental Services: And they played on: Youth sports and recreational programs are still a go this year

42 Public Safety:

Washington County-Johnson City EMS personnel cross train to operate fire pumps without sacrificing patient care

46 Fleet Services &

Maintenance: Waco park rangers welcome their first electric car

50 Building & Construction: Covington Plaza portion of sixcity Riverfront Commons project completed

52 Streets, Highways &

Bridges: Would you create a new road to mitigate construction traffic? One Iowa city did

54 Municipal Management:

#ElPasoStrong: How this west Texas town is fighting COVID-19, one shot at a time

56 Municipal Management: Nevada city fights greenhouse gases with technology

50 ON THE COVER The four patented features on Land Pride’s RC5715 Rotary Cutter allow it to tackle tough roadside mowing conditions. This Kubota and Land Pride roadside package is available through a number of cooperative buying and state contracts. Learn more about cooperative purchasing on page 10.

Parks & Environmental Services

INSIDE: Land Pride Maintaining waterways


Parks adapt to staffing shortages


Meet our Staff publisher RON BAUMGARTNER

8 Editor’s Note: Wading through staffing shortages and a lingering pandemic

editor-in-chief DEB PATTERSON

10 From the Cover: Cooperative buying for tight budgets

12 On The Road Again: Winchester editor SARAH WRIGHT

Mystery House, San Jose, Calif.

14 What’s In A Name: Hi-Nella and Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.

40 Personality Profile: First lady: publication manager CHRIS SMITH

senior account executive REES WOODCOCK

Monique Odom serves as director of Metro Parks for Nashville

58 Conference Calendar 59 Product Spotlights 60 Company Profile: Monroe Truck Equipment doubles down on mission to move communities forward

62 News & Notes 64 Guest Column: Bringing the buzz

graphic designer MARY LESTER

back to nature

business manager CARRIE GORALCZYK

director of marketing STEVE MEADOWS

66 Top 10: Best cities for recreation 69 Advertiser Index

mail manager KHOEUN KHOEUTH

WWW.THEMUNICIPAL.COM PO Box 188 • 206 S. Main St., Milford, IN 46542 866-580-1138/Fax 800–886–3796 Editorial Ext. 2307; Advertising Ext. 2505, 2408 or 2489


The Municipal does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does The Municipal or its staff assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publication. The Municipal reserves the right to determine the suitability of all materials submitted for publication and to edit all submitted materials for clarity and space. The Municipal has not independently tested any services or products advertised herein and has verified no claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. The Municipal makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers regarding such products or services. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser regarding any such claims and regarding the suitability of an advertiser’s products. No reproduction of The Municipal is allowed without express written permission. Copyright © 2021.


Editor’s Note

Wading through staffing shortages and a lingering pandemic Sarah Wright | Editor


ollowing a summer of isolation, people seemed in a rush to make up for it. In my area, I do not recall us typically having as many events as what we had in summer 2021. Sometimes, multiple events would be stacked into one weekend, making it overwhelming to pick and choose. Attendance at many events had also boomed. Our local Tour des Lakes bicycle ride, for instance, spiked at more than 400 riders — not shabby in the least for little Syracuse, Ind. The Mudtastic Classic, which the local parks department helms, also drew a record number of more than 300 participants. Both events provided a welcome recreational break and undoubtedly brought new customers to local businesses. Parks make for a healthy community on many levels: emotionally, physically and economically. However, following the pandemic and staffing shortages, many parks departments around the country have had to evaluate not only daily operations but what programs will continue and in what capacity. As of our August press time, Durango, Colo., Parks and Recreation Department decided to shorten Lake Nighthorse’s hours as many seasonal staff members returned to college. Across the country in Massachusetts, Edgartown, facing similar staffing challenges, has made several schedule and facility changes. In this issue, Janet Patterson addresses the ongoing staffing shortage, focusing on two cities’ parks departments — Green Bay, Wis., and Charlottesville, Va. — and their approaches to continuing to provide services


their residents expect during the summer while adapting to a smaller crew. Despite the pandemic, other cities have found their programs taking off. Writer Deb Gerbers shares the experiences of different cities with their youth sports program, spotlighting Springdale, Ark., in particular. The fourth-largest city in Arkansas had more than 2,000 kids play sports in the spring through its parks and recreation department’s programs. For others, visiting greenways and bike paths has been their chosen escape during the pandemic. 2020 was truly the year of the bicycle, and 2021 has proven to be a continuation. In a June 5, 2021, article, MarketWatch writer Andrew Keshner chronicled the bicycle shortage, noting, “Bike sales rose 78% on the year between January and March, after rising 38% during the same period last year, according to Dirk Sorenson, sports industry analyst at NPD Group, a market-research firm.” Writer Beth Anne Brink-Cox is sharing Knoxville, Tenn.’s, massive network of trails, which have been designed for bicycling enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. She also shares the city’s other recreation options. Amphitheaters are another popular source of recreation in many cities, and writer Mary Jane is spotlighting several cities with them. Many of these amphitheaters have brought economic benefits to their communities. Finally, on the environmental side of the spectrum, Denise Fedorow is sharing city efforts to keep their waterways clean. As I type this at the end of August, many questions are swirling, with COVID variants growing in prominence. With COVID cases swelling, it is impossible to predict what responses will be. But one certain fact is parks and other public lands will continue to be a source of solace. Stay well this October, and as John Muir said, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”


From The Cover

Right-of-way and roadside mowing can be accomplished with Land Pride Rotary Cutters from 10 foot to 20 foot. This 10-foot model features a single-wing offset design that allows the tractor to stay on the more level portion of the shoulder.

Cooperative buying for tight budgets By DEE WARREN | Land Pride Marketing Manager

Photos provided by Land Pride

In today’s world of tight budgets and lean staffing, it is imperative that procurement agencies make the most of their grounds maintenance budgets with reliable equipment at reasonable costs. Procurement managers know that requests for proposals (RFP) are time consuming to issue and review, and simply negotiating your best deal is not how government works. That’s where cooperative buying has a place in a grounds or roadside maintenance department. Generally speaking, purchases in these departments are bigger ticket items that can be a budget buster if you’re not mindful of the process. By using cooperative buying, procurement managers for grounds maintenance departments looking to purchase a rotary cutter, a seeder or a wide area mower can spend less time soliciting bids and more time actually doing the tasks associated with grounds maintenance. Many states and many more cities, counties and municipalities see that value and are utilizing a cooperative purchasing agency to maximize their time and their dollars. 10   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

How does it work? A cooperative purchasing model allows a manufacturer like Land Pride to respond to an RFP that covers a large group of buyers, and it allows a large group of buyers with similar interests to leverage their buying power to get government discounts on products. By using a cooperative model, government agencies save time and effort because the process is simplified for the seller and buyer to their mutual benefit. A prime example of how cooperative purchasing works involved a state department of transportation that worked with Land Pride on a recent purchase. The fleet manager inquired how Land Pride

could help supply rotary cutters for their roadside maintenance. He was looking for a solution that saved him time and money while still getting the brand that he and his crew wanted. Land Pride suggested using the competitively bid Sourcewell cooperative-buying contract that Land Pride was awarded — using that contract would simplify the buying process. In a matter of days, Land Pride quoted the contract price on the rotary cutters that the manager wanted. The contract price was bid competitively, reviewed and awarded in very much the same way a procurement manager would do. Once awarded, this state agency was able to request a quote following the discounts as outlined in the Sourcewell contract. The state reviewed the quotes and issued purchase orders, and Land Pride built, shipped and invoiced the state. Within a few weeks, the process was complete. Why cooperative buying? Once a manufacturer like Land Pride responds to an RFP and is awarded a contract by a designated public agency, members that the cooperative represents can purchase any number of products at a substantial discount. Not every state, city or county has a need for a fleet of folding rotary cutters for roadside mowing, and that’s OK. Many times, the manufacturer has the ability to offer their complete product line on the contract. In the case of Land Pride, that’s over 500 products that can be purchased by member agencies across the United States. And cooperative buying is not just for states, cities and counties. With education budgets in many areas shrinking fast, cooperative buying can stretch dollars farther — for that reason, many school districts participate, too. The BuyBoard is a cooperative located in Texas and has a large number of schools and universities as members. For them, Land Pride’s BuyBoard contract has been very beneficial. An example of how cooperative buying helps schools can be found in one Texas school district that contacted Land Pride in need of an overseeder and core aerator to care for their sports fields. After talking to the grounds maintenance manager, Land Pride recommended an all-purpose seeder because there would be times that they would be seeding new turf as well as overseeding existing turf. The district was grateful for the direction in the buying process, was very pleased with the price and had both pieces of equipment for use in their fall maintenance program. Customer service Enhanced customer service is one thing that sets cooperative buying apart from the traditional bid process. When soliciting bids, a decision on the equipment that will be purchased has been made. Sometimes that may not be the best solution for the task. A municipal golf course approached Land Pride for a contract price on a commercial zero-turn mower for fairway maintenance. Being a return customer, Land Pride knew that the golf course owned a compact tractor and suggested that a Land Pride All-Flex Mower would cut their fairway and cut their mowing time. After reviewing the quote, the superintendent realized that the AFM4211 was indeed the way to go. A purchase order was issued, and they soon had their mower at a substantial discount.

Land Pride’s all-flex mowers are ideal for golf course maintenance, recreation areas, and sports complexes. With widths from 11 foot to 22 foot, they are popular among agencies with open spaces to maintain.

All-purpose seeders from Land Pride are versatile seeders that can tackle seeding for new construction or overseeding sports fields or parks. Available from 48 inches to 84 inches, they can fit a variety of municipal applications. Cooperative buying has options There are many cooperative buying groups that government agencies can be a part of. Land Pride offers contracts with several — Sourcewell, Omnia and BuyBoard are a few — but with so many cooperative contracts available, buyers can choose the one that best meets their buying needs. Organizations like Sourcewell and the BuyBoard make sure everything is transparent. They maintain all of the paperwork, and they are solicited, evaluated and awarded by a public agency that is bound by laws regulating the process. Everything is available for public review. Buyers will have to do their homework, but they can certainly be confident that manufacturers like Land Pride are here to help with the process.  For information, visit OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  11


On The Road Again

Winchester Mystery House San Jose, Calif.

ABOVE: The sprawling estate of the Winchester Mystery House is dominated by the main building, which takes up 24,000 square feet of space. Except for a couple outbuildings, the structure is all under one roof. (Photo LEFT: The house contains stairways to nowhere, such as this one terminating at the ceiling. (Photo provided by Winchester Mystery House)


By RAY BALOGH | The Municipal

The haphazard and befuddling layout of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Calif., is as intriguing as the mystifying and beleaguered psyche of its matriarch, Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester.

The numbers regarding the sprawling mansion tell only part of the story: • The house’s footprint measures 24,000 square feet, the equivalent of a square of land with each side stretching more than half a football field. • The house contains 160 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and six kitchens; 10,000 windows; 2,000 doors; 52 skylights; 47 stairways; 47 fireplaces; and 17 chimneys. • The structure originally towered seven stories, but the top three floors were rendered inaccessible by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Many of the rooms were later dismantled. • Except for a brief hiatus after the earthquake, construction crews worked on the house for 38 years, from 1884 until Sarah’s death on Sept. 5, 1922, earning it a nod from the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest continuous house construction. But the impetus for renovating and expanding the original two-story, eight-room farmhouse reveals the deeper, sometimes macabre and often baffling tale of a woman inwardly tortured by the instrumentality of her wealth. In 1862 Sarah, then 23 years old, married William Wirt Winchester, the only son of Oliver Winchester, who invented the Winchester repeating rifle, known as “The Gun that Won the West.” Oliver passed away in 1880, leaving his substantial fortune to William. William died of tuberculosis three months later, leaving his legacy of just over half a billion dollars in today’s money to Sarah. Interest and stock dividends provided her an income of nearly $27,000 per day. William’s death was the second in Sarah’s household, the couple having lost their only child, Annie, when she was barely six weeks old. To find either solace or an explanation for the personal tragedies in her life, Sarah, a devotee of the paranormal and numerology, who then lived in New Haven, Conn., consulted a medium in Boston. Supposedly channeling William, he urged her to settle out west and continuously build a residence for herself and the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. According to some historians, Sarah imposed upon herself the incessant premonition that the moment she stopped construction she would die. And so she built — and never stopped building — without any master plan, all with the tandem motives of providing a peaceful resting place for the departed spirits and thwarting the demons she felt were chasing her. So, although the construction materials, appointments and furnishings were elegant, the house’s design was deliberately haphazard. Sarah spent her grief-filled life alternating between her roles as hostess and fugitive. She directed construction crews to prepare two areas specifically to entertain the ghosts. Many nights, at the stroke of twelve, Sarah proceeded to the dark and windowless Blue Room, announcing her arrival to the spirits by ringing a bell and offering her ethereal guests elaborate dinners. On the other hand, she availed herself of all 40 bedrooms, never sleeping in the same room two nights in a row, and she kept only one working shower among the 13 bathrooms, all to stymie the malevolent spirits she was convinced sought to avenge their deaths from the Winchester family’s violent commercial enterprise. The labyrinthine halls and stairways were also designed to confuse the spirits. Doors open into solid walls, staircases lead to ceilings without egress and skylights are placed where sunlight never shines. Past one door’s threshold is an 8-foot drop into a kitchen sink. One step through another door results in a two-story plunge into a garden next to the house. As riddled as her life was with mourning and depression, Sarah still appreciated the beauty of nature. She kept immaculate gardens and orchards on the 161-acre estate, and the property’s landscaping team now

One of the doors in an upper room opens to the floor below. ( Sarah Winchester slept in each of the mansion’s 40 bedrooms, but never in the same room on two successive nights, in order to hide from malevolent spirits she felt were looking for her. (

tends a multitude of original trees, 10,000 hedges and hundreds of varieties of flowers and other plant life. Ever obsessed with the number 13, Sarah left a will with 13 clauses and signed the document in 13 places. She left her estate to her favorite niece, Daisy Merriman, who served as her personal secretary and lived with her for 15 years. Sarah wanted Daisy to preserve the house as a haven for the spirits, but Daisy wanted nothing of the sort. The house was appraised for a paltry $5,000, given its unfinished construction, earthquake damage and impractical design, and was purchased by a local investor at auction for $135,000. Five months after Sarah’s passing, the home’s lessees, John and Mayme Brown, opened the Winchester Mystery House for public tours. In the 98 years since, more than 12 million visitors have toured the mansion, and a not insignificant portion of them have reported wisps of paranormal activity. Winchester Mystery House, which offers a variety of tours and operates a gift shop, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (though closing times may vary). It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The mansion is located at 525 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose, Calif. For more information, call (408) 247-2000 or visit OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  13


What’s In A Name

Hi-Nella and Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. By RAY BALOGH | The Municipal Five of the municipalities in New Jersey have hyphenated names. One of the boroughs is known as a “town that shouldn’t exist,” and one’s name was adopted to avoid confusing postal clerks.

An aerial view of Hi-Nella’s water tower and surrounding residential and commercial properties depicts a quiet, attractive community generously dotted with greenery. (Photo by Hi-Nella The Borough of Hi-Nella (its official name) was created along with four other municipalities on April 23, 1929, from a now-defunct township. The name’s origin is somewhat in dispute, with some alleging Hi-Nella derives from the Lenni-Lenape Native American phrase meaning “high rolling knoll” or “high ground.” Others assert the name is an eponymous tip of the hat to Nella Parker, whose husband, Lucious, developed Hi-Nella Estates just before the borough’s formation. The municipality shouldn’t even exist, according to the Newarkbased newspaper, Star-Ledger, because of its diminutive geographical area, small population, dearth of government employees and its use of a double-wide trailer as a municipal building. Then-Mayor Meredith Dobbs defiantly responded to the newspaper article that all efforts to compel Hi-Nella’s consolidation with any adjoining municipality would be “declared dead on arrival.” The bell-curved census of Hi-Nella started with 160 residents in 1930, climbed to its high of 1,250 in 1980 and dropped back down to 856 in last year’s count. The town’s population grew nearly eightfold during its first half century of existence. The governing body is composed of a mayor and a six-member borough council, the state’s most common administrative arrangement. The council serves as the legislative body; the mayor presides over the meetings and votes only to break a tie. The voting populace is relatively independent, with 45.5% of the total registered as unaffiliated. Hi-Nella is a non-operating school district, with children pre-K through eighth grade attending the nearby Stratford School District and high schoolers attending Sterling High School, which serves three neighboring districts. Hi-Nella embraces only 0.22 square miles, all of it land, and no interstate, U.S., state or major county highways cut through the borough. The only numbered routes are minor county roads. For more information, visit 14   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

One of the charming and functional commercial strips in Ho-Ho-Kus features offerings of food, drink, flowers, printing and copying and other professional services.(Photo by

Ho-Ho-Kus Ho-Ho-Kus tips the scale at 4,003 residents, according to the 2020 census, down slightly from the 4,086 a decade ago. According to its website,, the town “hosts a diverse population, representing a multitude of backgrounds, religious beliefs and recreational pursuits.” Unofficial theories abound about the origin of the borough’s name. The official version posits, “the most likely origin is a contraction of the Delaware Indian term ‘Mah-Ho-Ho-Kus,’ (or ‘Mehokhokus’), meaning ‘the red cedar.’” Others speculate the town’s name derives from: • An Indian word for running water, a cleft in or under the rock, or hollow rock. • The word “hohokes,” describing the whistle of wind against the bark of trees. • The Chihohokie Indians. • The Dutch “hoog akers” (high acorns) or “hoge aukers” (high oaks). • Indian words “hoccus” (fox) or “woakus” (gray fox). • “Ho,” meaning joy or spirit, added to “hohokes.” The name did not originally contain any hyphens. Their addition occurred by council resolution in 1908 submitted to the New Jersey secretary of state’s office for two reasons: • To distinguish the borough from Hohokus Township. • To avoid confusion by postal clerks, who sometimes sent the borough’s mail to Hoboken, N.J. Subsequent efforts to change the name or its punctuation have failed, and the town’s website boasts, “Today every man, woman and child in this historic town is proud to live in a community whose spelling is not duplicated anywhere on earth.” Ho-Ho-Kus is an affluent community. Its ZIP code is ranked 268th of the nation’s 41,000-plus ZIP codes, placing it squarely in the top 1% in the United States. REPLACE IT! AT-IN-3002 Approx.



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Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

54 miles Knoxville, Tenn., has more than 54 miles of paved greenway and more than 60 miles of soft surface trails, putting it on good footing as bicycle usage increases.

Read more about Knoxville’s recreation options on page 18.

$100 million Tuscaloosa, Ala., built its amphitheater for $18 million in 2011; it has resulted in over $100 million in private investment around it.

Parks & Environmental Services

Focus on:

328 tons

The tonnage of aquatic plants that had been removed in 2020 from Silver Lake in Portage, Wis.

Read about more cities amphitheaters on page 28. Learn how cities are keeping their waterways in good condition on page 22.

2,000 Over 2,000 kids played sports in the spring of 2021 through Springdale, Ark.’s, parks and recreation department’s programming. This is up from 1,921 in 2016 and 1,916 in 2018.

Find out more about cities’ youth sports programming on page 36.

85% The National Recreation and Park Association’s “2021 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey” found park and recreation agencies typically cover this percentage of their full-time employees’ health insurance premiums. Source: research-papers/salary-survey-results/

.1% to .2% The Colorado Springs City Council approved a 20-year extension of the Trails, Open Spaces and Parks sales tax while also increasing it from .1% to .2% on a $10 purchase.


$1 Million Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s, ReLeaf initiative raised more than $1 million in private funds to replant after the 2020 derecho. Source: cedar-rapids-releaf-initiative-raises-over-1m-in-private-funds-to-replant-after-derecho/


M Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

Knoxville prioritizes recreation and equitable infrastructure By BETH ANNE BRINK-COX | The Municipal

2020 and 2021 could be called “the years of the bicycle” for many reasons. What does that mean? Sheryl Ely, with Knoxville, Tenn., Parks and Recreations, is known for her philosophy of moving neighbors to nature. She said, “The city of Knoxville has many opportunities for bikers, over 54 miles of paved greenway and over 60 miles of soft surface trails. These are open to pedestrian and bike travel. Several of our linear greenways created transportation for traveling to work.” Ely said, “COF partnered with a nonprofit group, The Legacy Parks Foundation, to open an adaptive trail at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park. LPF provided adaptive bikes and wheelchairs for public use on these trails. COF, in partnership with other partners, created mountain bike trails, a bike park with pump tracks, ramps,


playground and a greenway at Baker Creek Preserve, part of the Urban Wilderness.” Urban Wilderness has more than 50 miles of trails and greenways, lakes and quarries, five city parks and a 500-acre wildlife area. Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park has one of the best views in the city to see the Smoky Mountains. There is a scenic overlook platform with signage identifying each

ABOVE: Fort Dickerson Park offers a scenic view of Augusta Quarry. The park has 4 miles of multi-use natural trails, which wind through the woodlands from the top of the quarry cliffs to the pool below. (Photo provided by Knoxville, Tenn.)

mountain peak. Sharp’s Ridge is home to many songbirds, and birdwatchers often frequent the park to view them. The Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society holds many group hikes at Sharp’s Ridge for the pleasure of bird-watching. Ely continued, “We are currently working on a greenway addition at a new destination — Gateway Park — which will have additional amenities and a connection to downtown. The pandemic increased efforts to utilize parks and greenways. We saw an increase in workout groups, some of which became businesses when jobs were lost.

Alex Haley Heritage Square is best known for having the only 13-foot high bronze statue of the author. It was designed by sculptress Tina Allen and cast in bronze in New York City. (Photo provided by Knoxville, Tenn.)

Baker Creek Preserve has three pump tracks for kids, beginners and advanced riders. (Photo provided by Knoxville, Tenn.)

Teenagers who were social distancing had a dance party. They parked their cars in a circle, sitting on the hoods or tops while playing music for one person at a time to dance in the middle. Others brought volleyball nets for quick games. Knoxville experienced an increase in skating, tennis and pickleball as well. The only downside was increased littering and lack of staff to assist with events and programs.” What kind of events and programs? Ely answered, “Events such as the Tour D-Lights with light-decorated bikes, traveling a predetermined route through the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. We hosted the USA Pro Cycling Championships for cyclists across the nation! And we now have a program called Smart Trips, focusing on alternative transportation, and Bike Walk Knoxville does a biking event where you can walk or bike with election candidates and city leaders.” Improvements continue steadily. In February, the city invested $1.6 million to build sidewalks along Old Broadway, providing pedestrians and cyclists a safe detour around dense traffic. Another project will improve Kingston Pike, benefiting all who walk or bicycle that stretch. New sidewalks installations are planned for Coker Avenue. Atlantic Avenue will see 3,000 linear feet of new sidewalks

in a mostly state-funded project. In July, construction began on the $1.6 million Northwest Greenway Connector. When it is completed in spring 2022, the NGC will link 8.9 miles of connected pedestrian options to another network of sidewalks to walk or bike to the park. The list continues. Design work will soon begin on a new 2-mile greenway in East Knoxville. When completed, this will connect Harriet Tubman Park with the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. KGBA is 47 acres of walking trails, display gardens, unique and historical horticulture, distinctive stone walls and timeless buildings. “This greenway will be a game-changer,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “It will connect destinations and give East Knoxville residents a new and healthy way to safely navigate the city. Multimodal amenities, such as this, make Knoxville more equitable and more sustainable.” Eighty-five city parks, some with names you might recognize no matter where you live: Alex Haley Heritage Square, Babe Ruth Park, James Agee Park and William Powell Park. There are parks for golfing, such as Knoxville Municipal Golf Course, Whittle Springs Golf Course and Williams Creek Golf Course. For baseball enthusiasts, there are Maynard Glenn Ballfields and Holston-Chilhowee   OCTOBER 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  19

continued from page 19

Williams Creek Golf Course is a popular recreation site in the city of Knoxville, Tenn. (Photo provided by Knoxville, Tenn.)

Young riders make use of one of Baker Creek Preserve’s pump tracks. (Photo provided by Knoxville, Tenn.)

Ballfields. There are parks for fitness and others with swimming pools, some indoor and some outdoor. Music lovers will enjoy the Everly Brothers Park and The Cradle of Country Music. Ijams Nature Center and Ross Marble Quarry are particularly family-friendly, with more than 300 acres of woodlands southward of the Tennessee River. It contains habitats and exhibits, the Museum of Appalachia, which has a general store and a restaurant serving country kitchen lunches each day, and miles of natural trails. There is also the Navitat Canopy Adventure, a climbing crag, and access to a quarry lake as well as the river for paddling and fishing activities. Another way to experience nature is the River Bluff Wildlife Area, which is more primitive, with Civil War history and unmarked trails. Access is available by trail only from Scottish Pike, and you can see some wonderful views of downtown Knoxville from the bluffs above the Tennessee River. Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department offers 13 shelters that may be reserved for an upcoming event —whether a birthday party, a family reunion, baby or bridal shower, wedding or even a business lunch. Knoxville and Knox County have also made a commitment with PetSafe to make the city the “Most Pet-Friendly Community” in the nation. PetSafe has donated funding to go toward the construction

of several dog parks. And efforts are being made to work with downtown restaurants to allow dogs in their outdoor dining areas. PetSafe Concord Dog Park is laid out on almost 4 acres and features water fountains and a dog shower. And Dogwood Park features a puppy playground with two hill structures and a puppy jump. Specifically dedicated to children with special needs is the Ashley Nicole Dream Playground, Knoxville’s first totally accessible playground. The park opened in 2005 and is located in Caswell Park. It accommodates wheelchairs, walkers and runners, cyclists, skateboards and rollerblades. There’s also a shelter that can be reserved for fun occasions. Once the site of the 1982 World’s Fair, World’s Fair Park now features miles of lawn and acres of flowers, as well as cascading waterfalls, streams and all the natural beauty you could want. Festivals, performances, conferences and meetings are welcomed here, and there is also plenty of space for quiet rest and moments of peaceful thinking. The park is also the home of the Knoxville Convention Center and the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall. Throughout Knoxville, bicyclists will find picturesque trails to take, while park enthusiasts have a variety of recreational options available to them. The possibilities for enjoyment, exercise and just plain fun are endless.

“Why replace the sidewalk... when it just needs some maintenance?”



ha We can fix t



M Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

Cleaning up municipal waterways By DENISE FEDOROW | The Municipal


hether you live on the East Coast, in the South, the Midwest or on the West Coast, if there are municipal ponds, lakes or beaches within city limits, at some point, you’re faced with how to clean or maintain those resources. Invasive plants, waterfowl or careless acts by residents or visitors all can turn a beautiful water feature into a smelly swamp if not maintained. The Municipal spoke to officials in several cities about the steps they’ve taken or plan to take to protect their water resources. In Sebastian, Fla., officials worked on an integrated pest management plan adopted at the end of August. Sebastian has several stormwater ponds, stormwater conveyance canals and ponds in city parks. City Manager Paul Carlisle said, “With every body of water in Florida, the problem is overgrowth of vegetation, and trying to manage that is always a challenge.” The city’s completed integrated pest management plan for the stormwater system employs manual or organic methods, with the use of chemicals, herbicides and fertilizers being only as needed and in the least invasive way. In Garden Club Park, the city put in probiotics and upgraded aeration. Carlisle said three tests of soil and sediment on the bottom of the pond were conducted so the city will have control data moving 22   THE MUNICIPAL  |  OCTOBER 2021

ABOVE: Prairie Meadow Pond in Plano, Texas, was restored in 2019 using the hydraulic method where the silt is sucked out of the pond’s bottom and into geo bags. The muck is then hauled away while clean water is released back into the pond. Natural Resources District Supervisor Kym Hughes said this type of dredging is not as disturbing for the wildlife. (Photo provided by Plano, Texas) forward, and it is expecting results soon. The city plans to launch another round of testing. Carlisle said workers also spent hours and hours manually removing 30,000 cubic feet of vegetation from canals and redoing the water features to better channelize the water. All the outfalls have nutrientreducing baffle boxes installed to filter the water before going into the Indian River Lagoon. Stormwater Treatment Park in Sebastian is a series of interconnected ponds, dams and weirs that provide stormwater surge and treatment while also serving as a wetland habitat. The integrated pest management plan was developed by a subcommittee of members from the natural resources board, three local scientists from the Florida Department of Agriculture and city staff members. Carlisle said the committee held public meetings. “It was a collaborative effort with a lot of input,” he said, adding the IPM “stresses more organic and more manual mitigation other than chemicals as a first resort to control vegetation.”

For example, the city uses aphids to attack potato vine and released alligator weed flea beetles in the system to control alligator weed. Carlisle said Sebastian is the only city in Florida to create an integrated pest management program. “The council wants to make sure our waterways are taken care of. Flood control is the main benefit, and we want to maintain (them) in a smart, educated, balanced approach.” He noted Park Department Leisure Services Director Brian Benton is working with the city’s environmental specialist on these plans. In addition, Sebastian has implemented programs for businesses, which offer stormwater credits to add rain barrels, swales, additional retention ponds and impervious parking lots. Carlisle said he looks forward to continuing to clean up and maintain local waters. “We’ve been pretty proactive.” In Plano, Texas, having clean water sources to keep wildlife healthy is a priority. Kym Hughes, natural resources district superintendent for the city of Plano, said the city hasn’t experienced a lot of invasive plants in its ponds, but it has been dredging a few because the sediment gets so deep it creates algae blooms and makes the water unfriendly to aquatic life. The city contracted with American Undercover Services for hydraulic restoration (dredging) of the ponds. The company sent a certified scuba diver to the pond’s bottom with a hose that basically “vacuums” the water, muck and sediment into large geo bags that are 30 feet wide and 100 feet long. The muck and organic matter stay in the bags and are hauled away, while clean water is filtered through and returned to the pond. There are 12 ponds in the Plano park system. Haggard and Prairie Meadow ponds were restored in 2019, while Shawnee followed in 2020. Hughes said staff monitor sediment levels every three to four years. If necessary, the ponds are put in a rotation to be restored. Plano also has sediment studies conducted so officials know how much muck there is and how deep it is. Hughes said the city wants some plants to grow for wildlife, but when the sediment gets too deep, it creates an aquatic environment that is not good for wildlife. According to Hughes, dredging the pond in this manner “doesn’t affect the wildlife as much as other types of dredging.” Removing all that sediment on the pond bottom “turned out to be helpful — there’s a lot more distance between the surface and the bottom, making it harder for sunlight to penetrate to the bottom where some invasive plants use it to grow.” She said the city also uses a blue or black aquatic dye to block some sun waves from reaching the bottom. They’ve started documenting the silt levels. The ponds’ maintenance is contracted out, and they pick up trash in the pond and the surrounding buffer zones, test ph levels and measure the dissolved oxygen levels. They measure the DO levels to ensure the oxygen level is good, which is necessary for the fish. The city also has fountains and aerators in the ponds to help with that. Signs have been posted stating “don’t mess with wildlife” and “don’t feed ducks and geese,” according to Hughes. “People are more concerned about the wildlife,” she said, to the point that the city had to build a rock ramp in one pond so turtles could get out since it had concrete sides. Plano established “conservation buffer zones” around each of the natural edges of ponds and creeks and in naturally occurring wooded

A fountain in the middle of Russell Creek Pond in Plano, Texas, helps keep the dissolved oxygen levels in the water to a suitable level for wildlife. (Photo provided by Plano, Texas)

Stormwater overflows at Stormwater Park. (Photo provided by Sebastian, Fla.)

areas to prevent soil erosion caused by heavy rains, severe floods and severe compaction from heavy machinery. According to the conservation buffer zones document Hughes provided, “This zone slows down erosion because the turf and indigenous foliage are allowed to grow and spread, thus increasing their ability to make food and establish a more extensive and substantial root system. This increases plants’ ability to hold on more tightly to soil particles when flood waters come through.” Other benefits include trapping sediments, enhancing water infiltration rates, filtering fertilizers and pesticides, promoting fish and wildlife habitats and protecting biodiversity. The plan also states vegetation should not exceed 18 inches at any time, and that ragweed be controlled with frequent inspections. Access lanes may be made where deemed necessary and appropriate for patrons to access the ponds or creeks and signage be placed in those areas. Hughes said she’s been with the city for 20 years, and the city has “come a long way — we try to be as environmentally friendly as we can.”   OCTOBER 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  23

continued from page 23

The City of Portage, Wis., has developed a lake management plan and an aquatic plant management plant for Silver Lake — an important water resource for the city. (Photo provided by Portage, Wis.)

Portage, Wis., embarks on lake management plan and canal restoration The city of Portage, Wis., lies between two rivers — the Fox River, which empties into Green Bay and then Lake Michigan, and the Wisconsin River, which empties into the Mississippi River and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. Portage also has Silver Lake within the city limits — a 70-acre lake — and last year, officials updated an aquatic plant management and lake management plan. That plan was done with the assistance and cooperation of the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point and the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources.


City Administrator Shawn Murphy said, “The impetus is to preserve and protect the water quality of the lake overall now and in the future.” Park and Recreation Manager Toby Monogue said officials held open forums to educate the community.

Murphy said the city enlisted the help of Columbia County Land and Water Conservation to file grants and received $50,000 to conduct a survey and help develop a plan. Monogue added the plan has two parts: lake management and aquatic plant management. Implementation is ongoing. The plan has recommended the city put in retention basins as well as sump catch basins, which allow for the settling and coagulation of solids, etc. Murphy said there are some shoreline zoning restrictions like no one can build or have septic systems right up to the water’s edge; however, Monogue noted there should be more shoreline restrictions. Recommendations for property owners include educating them about why they shouldn’t mow up to the water’s edge in order to leave a buffer to keep phosphorous from running off into the lake. The buffer also deters waterfowl from coming ashore. “This plan helps residents learn best practices like putting in plants buffer strips or other material to help mitigate runoff and deter wildlife from sitting on lawns,” Monogue said. The lake has two lobes or basins. One is shallow with naturally occurring aquatic plants, while the other is deeper by the beach and is used for water skiing, boating, etc. Monogue’s department harvests the weeds on the lake, using a cutting map the Department of Natural Resources approved for what can and cannot be cut. He said seasonal employees harvest the weeds from mid-May through mid-September. “They’re on the lake about three days a week for seven hours a day.” He reported in 2019, they had removed 320 tons of aquatic plants, and in 2020, they had removed 328 tons. Employees don’t remove every weed; some aquatic plants are needed, so the cutting is primarily to provide boats with better navigation of the waters. Monogue also worked with the Fish and Wildlife Department on a goose abatement program, and the city received a permit to oil eggs in the geese nests. He reported this is the first year they’ve done this. Workers use 100% corn oil and spray the eggs, which causes them not to hatch. It tricks the geese into sitting on the eggs that will never hatch. Monogue said it takes a couple of years for the program to work because the geese are birds of habit, meaning they return to the nests year after year. After a couple of years of no hatchings, geese will supposedly change sites. Monogue said a couple of individuals who live on the lake volunteered to oil the eggs, and they found two nests with about 15-18 eggs. There may be more nests in inaccessible areas due to thick cattails. Restoring a historic canal The canal in Portage connects the two rivers and was developed in the mid-1800s. It was closed up and abandoned in the early 1950s, leading it to fall into disrepair. The canal was a heavily industrialized site for manufacturing facilities, which discharged runoff into the canal. “So it’s heavily polluted,” Murphy said. Since it’s a state waterway, the city partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to clean up the canal. They’ve been dredging out sections of the canal’s bottom, which are polluted with heavy metals and bacteria. Murphy described the muck as looking like chocolate

Silver Lake Beach in Portage, Wis., has a beach area that the city has committed to preserve with its lake management plan and aquatic plant management plan. (Photo provided by Portage, Wis.)

Silver Lake in Portage, Wis., has a beach and recreation area that is enjoyed by residents and visitors. (Photo provided by Portage, Wis.)

This is a before photo of the historic canal in Portage, Wis., which shows all the overgrowth and murky water before it was dredged. (Photo provided Portage, Wis.)


continued from page 25

This aerial photo of the historic canal in Portage, Wis., shows ongoing dredging operations. The City of Portage has partnered with the state to clean up this canal and make it a recreation destination. (Provided by contractor Entract LLC)

pudding. Once dredged out, the muck is properly disposed of and then capped off with sand cover to dissuade aquatic plant growth. Murphy said Portage put in new sides along the canal and a trail “so it’s a more user-friendly destination.” The canal is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places with the National Park Services. Portage improved a mile-anda-half section last year, and this year improved another mile, cleaning out trees, plants and garbage. “It’s been more like a swamp than a river. Cleaning up and reestablishing the channel and flowing water will keep it cleaner,” Murphy said. Portage has also installed a path with benches and lighting, allowing it to be a recreational destination. It was an expensive

endeavor, costing $9 million for the one-mile section, which the city is installing this year. Murphy said the state is picking up $7.2 million of that cost. The total length of the canal is almost 5 miles, and the city has restored 2.5 miles. There are gates and locks in the canal prohibiting boats from using it to get from one river to another, but canoes and kayaks can access restored areas. Murphy said, “We’re blessed to have the river within corporate boundaries, but we don’t have a lot of management or control over its use because it’s a state waterway.” He said the city does own a boat landing, and it monitors the water levels of the river because, after snows and severe storms, the runoff impacts the community. Murphy said officials worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to construct an engineered levee in 2008 to protect the 4 miles of shoreline. “That effectively removed 400 properties from being located in a flood zone,” he said. For other municipalities looking to improve their waterways, Murphy said they relied heavily on experts at the University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point Center of Surface Water Education, but he suggested, “Look at the trends — how much phosphorous is in the water now compared to 20 years ago? Are the phosphorous levels creeping up?” Monogue said the city of Portage is unique in that it doesn’t have a lake management district. “So more fell on the city’s responsibility to do a study and the harvesting.” Murphy agreed, stating when the city did the survey early on as part of the lake management plan, there was strong support for putting in place features and structures, “but not strong support to create a lake management district to help fund some of those things.” Murphy suggested city officials “take a step back and see what you currently have and where you are.”

A closer look at Portage’s lake management strategy Silver Lake in Portage, Wis., is a groundwater drainage lake comprised of two connected basins residing in a kettle pothole, and it’s believed to have been formed 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. Some of the suggestions offered in the lake management plan for improving the lake include: creating fish and wildlife habitats, native plantings, preventing runoff, rock infiltrations for runoff from roofs, rain gardens, etc. Goals listed in the plan include: • Water quality that remains below the state’s phosphorous criteria and sufficient dissolved oxygen to support the fisheries; • Have healthy shorelines that protect water quality and provide essential habitat by restoring approximately 1,000 feet of shoreline in the next five years; • All shorelines around Silver Lake will be conducive to limit the geese population on the lake; • Local citizens and lake users will be knowledgeable about the aquatic plant community in Silver Lake and take appropriate action; • Strategies will be implemented to support healthy fisheries in Silver Lake, and when there is a balanced fish community, they’ll know it’s a success; • Recreational opportunities on and near Silver Lake will protect a healthy ecosystem and safety of lake users; • City of Portage will use all available media to inform, educate and advocate for Silver Lake; • And keep the Silver Lake Management Plan updated with current information.



M Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

Amphitheaters across the country strengthen tourism, unite communities

Amphitheater staff in Tuscaloosa, Ala., used the time during last year’s shutdowns to perform routine maintenance and upgrades, ensuring it was ready to go for this year’s season. (Photo provided by Tuscaloosa, Ala.) By MARY JANE BOGLE | The Municipal

After months of shutdowns, quarantines and separation, communities across the country were searching for opportunities to bring people together — and amphitheaters were just the way to do it. From north to south, east to west, Americans came together for more than just outdoor entertainment and Independence Day celebrations at amphitheaters this summer. They came seeking relief from the isolation and a new sense of belonging in their communities — and they found it in a big way. Wilmington, N.C. Hailing from the nation’s East Coast, Wilmington opened its amphitheater this year, and the new venue is already claiming a top spot among amphitheaters in the state. Five years in the making, this award-winning amphitheater offers stunning views of the river and has enjoyed sell-out crowds all summer. “The park bond went on the ballot in 2016,” said Kevin Spears, Wilmington city councilman, “and the city is already reaping the benefits. Wilmington is always in the running for one of the best riverfront cities in the United States, and the new amphitheater adds to Wilmington’s beauty and intensity.” Partnering with talent and entertainment company Live Nation, the Wilmington amphitheater is drawing large crowds and increasing tourism in this coastal town. “Any time you bring something new like that to town, people catch on quickly,” Spears said. 28   THE MUNICIPAL  |  OCTOBER 2021

Harrisburg, N.C. Jim Spina, director of parks and recreation in Harrisburg, had only been on the job for two weeks when the city opened its new amphitheater, complete with a large stage, an area set aside for mixing boards and an orchestra pit. “Harrisburg is part of fast-moving and ever-growing community,” said Spina. “With that growth came a need for increased and expanded services.” It’s something the city’s new amphitheater has provided in abundance. In just five short months, Harrisburg has brought in a symphony, tribute band and even the Grand Funk Railroad. The Independence Day celebration alone reached over 13,000 people. And while the concerts have all been free, thanks to investments from taxpayers, state grants and local contributions, the return has

been worth it. Food trucks, breweries and local restaurants have all profited from the increased tourism. “Our focus is to bring people to Harrisburg,” said Spina. “We want to appeal to people who might be looking for a new place to call home.” Tuscaloosa, Ala. The amphitheater in Tuscaloosa is another example of a municipality investing in an entertainment venue in order to attract tourism and create opportunities for the local economy. Built in 2011, the amphitheater cost $18 million and has resulted in over $100 million in private investment around it. “To see the amphitheater become an economic magnet, creating so much private sector investment around it, is very exciting,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. Turning the amphitheater bowl into an ice-skating rink during Holidays on the River and creating sponsorship opportunities with Coca-Cola and Mercedes Benz, with VIP experiences, are just a few of the ways Tuscaloosa is making the most of its amphitheater throughout the year. “Our goal when we built the amphitheater was that it would never be a liability to the city’s general fund,” said Maddox. As the last decade shows, city officials have more than accomplished that mission. Clio, Mich. Built on a somewhat smaller scale but with no less community enthusiasm is the amphitheater in Clio. Completed in 1985, this amphitheater claims its place as the oldest amphitheater in our spotlight. In its early days, it drew plenty of big-name performers, particularly from the

ABOVE: The tiered, outdoor amphitheater in Murrieta, Calif., offers 750 built-in seats and can accommodate a total of 5,000 people in the surrounding lawn area. (Photo provided by Murrieta, Calif.) TOP PHOTO: The amphitheater in Harrisburg, N.C., opened on March 27, 2021, and can seat up to 15,000 people on the surrounding hillside. (Photo provided by Harrisburg, N.C.) country-western genre, pulling in acts such as Reba McIntire, Randy Travis, Clay Aiken and more. In recent years, the amphitheater has shifted its focus to tribute acts and saves money with its Tuesday concert series, which keeps costs to a minimum. Thanks to a grant from The Greater Genesee County   OCTOBER 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  29

continued from page 29

Art Consortium, all concerts this year have actually been free, as has much of the work to maintain the amphitheater. “We rely heavily on volunteers,” said Gary Langdon, Clio Amphitheater Board of Directors chairman. And when they do need to pay for electrical or plumbing upgrades, the community is quick to respond. “This past year,” said Langdon, “the mayor and six of our seven commissioners were the ones painting the stage.” With such community investment, this amphitheater will likely remain a vital part of Clio for many years to come. Murrieta, Calif. Much like its counterparts across the country, the amphitheater in Murrieta offers a way for the community to come together. Located in the downtown square, this brand-new amphitheater was built as part of phase II in the Town Square Park master plan and is already drawing large crowds. “The whole design included a park in the center where the community could gather for a variety of events,” said Lea Kolek, parks and community services manager. “So far, the response has been amazing.” Funded through redevelopment bonds, the new amphitheater was designed for versatility. “The stage is much larger than a typical stage,” said Kolek.

The amphitheater in Clio, Mich., relies heavily on volunteer help. Its mayor helped paint the stage, while youth performers have picked up trash after their performances. (Photo provided by Clio Amphitheater Board)

The city also built three additional buildings to the park, including restrooms, a storage facility and a dressing room for performers. And with gradient lighting and a robust Wi-Fi, this venue is an event organizer’s dream. “Come to Murrieta,” said Kolek. “We’d love to host your event.”



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M Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

Parks departments face summer staffing during a time of shortage

By JANET PATTERSON | The Municipal

The summer of 2021 proved to be a struggle for seasonal staffing for businesses and city operations alike around the country. Cities as large as Denver reduced the number of flower beds in parks and the frequency of trash pickups because of fewer seasonal workers. The city of Des Moines, Iowa, like others across the United States, raised pay rates by $2 an hour to attract new employees and entice former summer helpers to return. Some municipalities even offered sign-on bonuses in the hope of getting the number of employees needed to operate pools, parks and summer programs. According to Vic Garber, deputy director of the department of parks and recreation for the city of Charlottesville, Va., “The bonuses and increases simply haven’t solved the problem.” While Charlottesville held the line on its hourly wages for summer workers, he said, colleagues in neighboring cities found a raise was not the key to hiring enough people to do all the seasonal work in municipalities. 32   THE MUNICIPAL  |  OCTOBER 2021

“It even affected our restrooms. We usually have 18 staff for our parks and trails, but this year we had only six people, so we haven’t been able to clean as often as we used to.” According to a recent story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the reasons for the reduced appetite for jobs are not completely tied to money. The story cites lack of child care, fear of COVID and inferior working conditions as reasons people surveyed gave for not taking jobs in a market that is crying for help. Money is still a factor, though, with unemployed workers in Georgia receiving up to $665 a week. That’s the equivalent of $16.63 an hour. The Journal-Constitution story adds that 80% of those receiving jobless benefits in Georgia made less than $10 an hour. While unemployment benefits don’t affect seasonal workers as much as full-time

ABOVE: Parks like this one in Green Bay were hard hit by fewer seasonal employees to operate pools and playground programs as well as provide routine maintenance on facilities. (Photo provided by Green Bay, Wis.)

employees, James Andersen, assistant director of parks, recreation and forestry in Green Bay, Wis., noted other factors among the pool of potential seasonal help. “We usually hire young people who are in college, but we’ve hired some high school students. Now parents are more interested in having their kids in programs that will build their resumes for college. With school and those activities, the students don’t have time to work.” Andersen said when he began working for Green Bay Parks and Recreation 10 years ago, local youth were preferred for the city’s seasonal jobs, but since that time, the city has had to cast a wider net to harvest the talent needed for seasonal positions. In Charlottesville, Garber said city officials had to make decisions about how many facilities and programs would open without a full

Smith Recreation Pool is one of the three pool complexes in Charlottesville, Va. Due to the shortage of lifeguards in summer 2021, it sat idle this summer. (Photo provided by Charlottesville, Va.)

The Zippin’ Pippin, at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wis., is one of the oldest existing wood roller coasters in the world. Originally from Memphis, Tenn., it was dismantled and moved to Bay Beach in 2010. (Photo provided by Green Bay, Wis.)

Bay Beach Amusement Park, operated by the Green Bay Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, was one of the facilities that suffered from a shortage of seasonal help. This is the pavilion at the century-old park. (Photo provided by Green Bay, Wis.) complement of workers. “We decided to open the Washington Park pool because it had more capacity so we could accommodate the swim team and could serve more people.” He said the city’s golf course and skate park boomed this summer since both provided outdoor activities without the need for as many staff to run the facilities. The city ran its summer day camp program at half capacity, cutting the usual 100 to 110 campers to 48. “But we safely operated the program with the maximum number of campers possible. “Our mantra this year has been about the safety of our patrons and our staff, keeping up the customer experience right up with safety.”

During August, the next challenge, according to Garber, was finding athletic officials for the softball and volleyball programs as well as indoor group exercise instructors. The city has been fortunate, he added; throughout the pandemic, it has been able to continue its adaptive therapeutic exercise program by way of Zoom. “That has helped us stay connected to those folks.” With concerns about the Delta variant of COVID, Garber said the city is reevaluating plans for fall and winter. This summer, Charlottesville looked ahead to the Halloween festival in downtown that attracts thousands of people. “We decided to cancel that, but we’ll do something Halloween themed in the parks.” In Green Bay, Andersen said the outlook for seasonal help was not much different, but the problem may cause the city to change some programs in future summers. “We need to consider the things we’ve grown into and what our options might be.” Andersen noted Green Bay usually employs more than 550 seasonal employees at 30 parks. “Our playground program is one of the biggest in the Midwest.” Like other cities with the same dilemma, the question is whether there are other local agencies providing similar programs that are tapping into the same labor force. Andersen said workers can really shop around for the best pay and schedule even after starting a job somewhere. “And then, the reality is they can easily go to another place and get hired.” Green Bay also had to decide which of its three pools would be open. The decision was two would open for the summer. But one of the most unique and problematic was the city-run Bay Beach Amusement Park that has opened every summer for more than a century and still charges only 25 cents a ticket. “Some days, we couldn’t operate all the rides.” In 2020, Andersen said the Green Bay Parks and Recreation Department ran modified schedules for both its programs and facilities, with only one pool open and half the programs operating. This year they were able to double that but looking ahead to 2022 has him wondering what to expect. “Our hope is to double our capacity again, but we wonder if the pandemic will still be with us and will the staffing situation get better.”






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M Focus on: Parks & Environmental Services

And they played on: Youth sports and recreational programs are still a go this year By DEB GERBERS | The Municipal

Recent data suggests that despite the pan- higher than ever before — even pre-COVID. demic, many cities are showing an increase “We have seen an incredible increase in the in program participation. It appears residents number of participants in our fall programs feel safe enough in their communities to par- this year,” he said. “Our levels are at that of a ticipate in sports, classes and other activities typical springtime registration level, which is offered by local parks and recreation depart- generally our highest.” ments. For example, according to records Boykin believes that the increase in proobtained by the Arkansas Democrat News, gram participation is due to several factors. the city of Springdale, Ark., shows that over “We have a very good group of volunteer 2,000 kids played sports in the spring through coaches working with our youth programs. its parks and recreation department — up There is a very high retention rate. We also from 1,921 in 2016 and 1,916 in 2018, both have many new programs available as well as increases of roughly 4%. a new recreational facility, which we acquired Matt Boykin is the recreation superinten- before the pandemic.” dent for Springdale. He said the participation Playing sports and participating in recrenumbers for fall 2021 are on track to be ational activities has always been beneficial 36   THE MUNICIPAL  |  OCTOBER 2021

ABOVE: Springdale, Ark., experienced an increase in participation in its youth leagues and camps during 2021. (Photo provided by Springdale, Ark.)

to youth. Being part of a team can teach life lessons on how to get along with others, how to play fair, how to be considerate, all while picking up a new talent or sport. The city of Springdale offers all kinds of recreational sports and activities for residents of all ages, from little league baseball to teenaged basketball camps to senior favorites like pickleball. Aquatics for all ages, kickboxing and many other camps and activities are also offered through the Springdale’s parks and recreation department.

In August, Springdale, Ark., hosted a free softball clinic for local youth. (Photo provided by Springdale, Ark.)

Summer youth basketball was a popular offering in Springdale. (Photo provided by Springdale, Ark.)

Despite the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, cities like Springdale are taking proper precautions to keep their residents safe and making recreational programs available to all, in order to fulfill the city’s mission of “providing activities that are fun, uplifting, promote self-worth and create lasting memories; unity bringing all people together through unique experiences for all activities; variety delivering a wide range of opportunities that promote physical and mental health; accessibility maintaining safe, affordable programs and facilities in proximity of all residents; innovation creating cuttingedge programs and facilities; character developing personal growth through teambuilding, education, sportsmanship, respect and positive social interaction.” Most, if not all, cities who continue to offer recreational programs and activities have certain protocols in place to keep participants healthy and safe. That might include mandatory negative COVID-19 tests prior to program participation, continual screening for symptoms of illness, monitoring contact between participants, the use of masks indoors, regular sanitization and cleaning of commonly used areas, and any combination of those policies listed. Another way

residents can enjoy group participation is to choose activities that take place outdoors and utilize local parks, trails and land trusts — ensuring the safety of residents by keeping everyone outside. According to, outdoor activities are the safest way to recreate during the ongoing pandemic. Running clubs, biking teams, outdoor yoga classes, sailing or kayaking clubs, outdoor gardening or painting classes are all great ideas that many cities are offering for residents. Many cities are offering programs in all shapes and forms for participants. For summer 2021, the Alexandria, Va., Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities offered a variety of summer classes and camps in sports, enrichment, nature, creative and performing arts, exercise and fitness, and aquatics, in addition to the Out of School Time Modified Summer Camp. These summer classes for youth and adults were all offered with indoor, outdoor and virtual options — something for everyone’s level of comfort and safety. In Columbus, Ohio, 2021 brought back summertime camps and programs. According to local news source in Columbus, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department kicked off the first day of summer camp. Whetstone Community Center hosted more than four dozen campers ages 6 to 14 for tennis and soccer camps. In 2020, pandemic restrictions limited camp capacity to a fraction of normal participation. This year the department has opened up registration to larger groups, but still modifying its programs with current social distancing and masking guidelines in mind. Chief Communications Officer Kerry Francis explained the department will work closely with Columbus Public Health to implement evolving guidance. Throughout the summer, CRPD was expected to host more than 3,000 campers at more than 50 camps. Many would attend multiple camps. The number of registered kids and teens surpassed pre-pandemic numbers from 2019, according to Cities like these all across the country are doing the very best possible to keep public health and safety a top priority, while still being able to offer residents various recreational programs, camps and activities. To other cities looking to increase participation in recreational programs, Boykin suggested parks and recreation leaders develop a strong line of communication between volunteers and participants that allows people’s needs and wants to be effectively implemented, so people receive the programming they are interested in.  OCTOBER 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  37



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Personality Profile

Spring brings beautiful blossoms to Centennial Park in Nashville. (

First lady: Monique Odom serves as director of Metro Parks for Nashville By JULIE YOUNG | The Municipal

When Monique Odom first joined Nashville, Tenn.’s, Metro Parks and Recreation in 2006, she wasn’t planning to make history. After transferring from the Metro Human Relations Commission to serve as a financial officer, she hoped to round out her practical experience as a public administrator. She ultimately became the department’s first female director. “In 2009, I was asked to lead the finance and administration division, and soon after, I was promoted to parks and recreation supervisor,” she said. “Then assistant director and deputy director. Upon the retirement of my predecessor in March 2017, I was appointed interim director of the department and was selected as the parks director in October (of that same year).” Character counts Odom’s career trajectory began with a part-time job at Opryland, which played a pivotal role in her professional development — it told her what she didn’t want to do with the rest of her life. After leaving the theme park for a position at White Way Cleaners, she found a job that helped shape her soft skills and hone her leadership style. “It’s as important to know what you don’t want/like to do and your weaknesses as it is to know what you want/like to do and your strengths,” she said. 40   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

Monique Odom, Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation Director

As she interacted with people from all walks of life, Odom strove to treat everyone equitably and to support the customers in any way that she could — that meant being transparent, honest and considerate. It was an experience that was worth its weight in the Golden Rule, and she’s implemented those qualities throughout her career. Even today, she sees the value in empowering teammates and giving them room to share ideas, make unintended mistakes and have teachable moments

while holding them accountable when unfortunate incidents occur. Above all, she holds herself to the same standard she sets for others. “I know I have to walk the talk and model the behavior I expect out of my teammates,” she said. “Workplace cultures are not developed overnight, neither do they change overnight. Giving attention to what we do and how we do it every single day is critical.” Reflecting those she serves As the “first lady” of Nashville’s Metro Parks, Odom said one of her main priorities is to take care of the city’s existing assets so they can be enjoyed for years to come. Nashville has an expansive and aging parks system that demands constant maintenance and repair. Of course, caring for such a large and well-used system takes funding and manpower, both of which can be rare at times. “We have worked with the city leaders to obtain improvements to our most recent operating and capital budgets,” she said. “I am hopeful the trend of improving the budget continues year after year.” Another goal is to improve the diversity, equity and inclusion within the system, both as service providers to the public as well as internally. Odom believes her department should reflect those they serve, and there are pockets in the department that have little to no diversity. She is working to improve that. “We also embrace the fact that programming and activities should consider the diversity of communities and their specific needs/requests. Diversity is an asset. It makes us stronger and better,” she said. Naturally, there are plenty of challenges to Odom’s role as well, and she is constantly looking for ways to manage expectations while trying to balance supply and demand. In addition to an ever-growing list of departmental priorities, she is constantly receiving ideas and proposals

Monique Odom poses with kids from the Servier Park Community Center. (Photo provided by Nashville, Tenn.)

for new programs and services as well as requests for revisions to existing programs. “Many times, these are competing interests. And while I appreciate and encourage our community’s love of the park system, we have finite resources and can’t possibly get to everything,” she said. “We have to help our constituents understand.” Still, there are plenty of projects going on to get excited about, including the improvements going on at Hadley Park, the development of two new regional parks (Ravenwood and Mill Ridge), master planning for the Fort Negley historic site and the constant review of programming across the system. Despite the workload, Odom has proven she is more than capable of rising to the occasion while balancing her professional life with her personal one. When she isn’t at work, she can often be found spending time with her family (including her teenage son), gardening and walking. And, of course, she still takes time to mentor others as they forge their own path. She’s never forgotten the important lessons she learned in the early stages of her career, and she’s eager to pass those lessons to future leaders. “I am very much a proponent of bringing folks along,” she said. “I absolutely make time to formally or informally mentor/sponsor/ advocate for both men and women who are interested in professional careers. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously.”  OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  41


Public Safety

Washington County-Johnson City EMS personnel cross train to operate fire pumps without sacrificing patient care By JULIE YOUNG | The Municipal

When it comes to fighting fires, every second counts. In order to improve response times, some Washington County, Tenn., volunteer fire departments are getting a little help from their friends — the Washington County-Johnson City EMS.

ABOVE and BELOW: LVFD and EMS Rescue Tech Ian Bradburn trains on pump operations and drafting. (Photo provided by Washington County-Johnson City EMS)

According to Dan Wheeley, NREMT-P, MBA, chief/executive director of the Washington County-Johnson City EMS, it is policy for one of the EMS rescue units to respond to all structure fires and alarms that occur in the area. However, a few years ago, the agency spoke to the fire association about the benefit of having rescue techs train to operate fire pumps at the scene so firefighters could concentrate on battling the blaze. At that time, it trained all rescue techs in pump operations and offered an annual refresher course to keep them up to speed on the process. That program worked out well, and it wasn’t long before Limestone Fire approached Wheeley about having his EMS personnel responding in their engine since they were going to the fire anyway. “We felt if we added some medical equipment to the engine so that we could still perform our primary role as EMS, then it made sense for us to respond in the fire engine,” Wheeley said. “Many times, the volunteers were driving past the fire to go to the station to get to the engine (so) if they knew the engine was in route; they could respond directly to the scene, thereby reducing response times.” Trusting the techs Limestone Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Jaynes said the partnership was a natural solution to what had become a difficult problem. In recent years, Limestone has evolved from a small, one street town area full of family farms to more of a bedroom community. As businesses began to spread out and subdivisions started to claim the farmland, it became a concern. The volunteer firefighters were farther away, which increased response times and response availability. “We approached EMS about the possibility of having the rescue techs, who were already housed in our station on a rescue truck, respond in an engine to the fire incident,” Jaynes said. “Many of the techs were already fire trained and associated with a fire department so we trusted their abilities to operate the engine on scene.”


Naturally, the change caused some mixed feelings within the EMS at first. Some staff members thought they would be expected to fight fires that they were not trained to fight, while others were excited at the prospect of being able to do more at the scene and serve their community at a higher level. “Since then, (the response) has been very positive,” Wheeley said, noting the program has generated more interest from current rescue techs as well as outside applicants. Others sign on The new partnership began in January 2018, and it took about a month to get the personnel who were assigned to the station trained and checked off on emergency vehicle operations for the fire engine. They developed a driver program in conjunction with an instructor from the state, and they trained alternates to cover when the primary personnel were off. The program became so successful that in January 2019, they began doing the same program at the Nolichucky Volunteer Fire Department. By December of that year, the Gray Volunteer Fire Department signed on as well. “Each went through the same process,” Wheeley said. “We have since sent the rescue techs assigned to these stations through a rookie school with the fire departments in order to give them a better understanding of what is happening on the ground and enable them to better integrate into the fire operations.” Of course, it was important that agencies did not lose sight of the primary responsibility going into the program. As part of the interlocal agreement, agencies established guidelines to address medical and fire operations to ensure if a medical emergency arises, the fire officer on scene will immediately assume pump duties so the EMS personnel can attend to the person in need. “Our engine is equipped with medical supplies to fulfill that need,” Jaynes said. “We had one incident recently with three burn victims. The victims had escaped the structure and were attended by first arriving firefighters. When the engine arrived, the rescue tech treated and began patient care allowing the firefighters to (do their job.) The engine arrived at the same time as the ambulance, which is a big plus because, in the past, the ambulance and rescue truck could be seven or more minutes ahead of the engine. This quick response made a huge impact on the ability to attack the fire quicker without compromising the ability to provide patient care by the rescue tech.” In addition to improved response times, Wheeley and Jaynes said the program has also improved the working relationships between departments and created a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Across the nation, volunteer fire departments face similar issues with staffing, and if possible, communities should look at their resources to cultivate creative solutions that meet their needs. Although it is challenging to work through the turf issues, command and control issues, if leaders consider things from the patient or victim’s perspective, they will put those needs ahead of everything else. “A patient or a victim of a fire doesn’t care whose uniform you are wearing or whose truck you show up in, as long as you are competent, compassionate and able to provide them the care that they need. If we focus on that, everything else can be worked out.”

ABOVE PHOTOS: Pictured are LVFD and EMS units on the scene of a house fire. An EMS rescue tech initially responded in Limestone engine 301, meeting LVFD volunteers on scene. (Photo provided by Washington County-Johnson City EMS)


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Fleet Services & Maintenance

Waco park rangers welcome their first electric car

Park rangers Kim Jennings and Juan Sierra smile in front of the first electric car purchased by the city of Waco. This will be used in Cameron Park. (Photo provided by Waco, Texas) By BETH ANNE BRINK-COX | The Municipal


n April 1970, millions of people across the United States took part in more than 12,000 events to mark the first Earth Day. This followed the call of a Wisconsin senator who felt pollution and development were out of control and needed to be checked. It was a sign of the times that so many Americans in so many different places cared: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not yet exist but would before the end of that year on Dec. 2. Gasoline then contained lead. Skies over Birmingham, Ala., were often brown, and smog clouded the streets of Los Angeles. In Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted it burned in 1969, with flames lighting up an oil slick on its surface. Since that inaugural Earth Day, there’s been a lot of talk about being environmentally friendly. Through the years, that term has taken on ever-changing facets and meanings, evolving from simple plans for recycling to developing alternative fuel methods. And while we don’t yet have flying cars, we do have electric cars. Twenty automobile manufacturers have produced 40 different models so far, and Cameron Park in Waco, Texas, is on the move in that direction. It acquired its first electric car on June 15, 2021. Kelly Holocek, director of general services at the city of Waco, said the model chosen was the Chevy Bolt, a new battery electric vehicle.


“We’ve entered into a 100% renewable electricity contract and have incorporated solar panels into our most recent new construction project, Fire Station No. 6,” said Holocek. While EVs don’t create emissions, generating the electricity used to charge them may create carbon pollution. The amount varies depending on how the local power is generated. But even accounting for electricity emissions, EVs generally produce lower levels of greenhouse gases than an average new gasoline car, and if wind or solar power generates the electricity, the total GHGs could be even lower. EVs also do not require oil changes and won’t need to be serviced as often as gas powered vehicles do. Holocek said, “We are looking for every opportunity to incorporate environmentally friendly solutions,” such as the aforementioned solar panels. “The biggest accommodation for us on our electric vehicles is the infrastructure. With just the four that we’ve now purchased, we’ve been able to accommodate their charging needs at various city facilities. We do not have the infrastructure in place at this time for a large amount of our fleet to be electric.” Just as you would when deciding to replace any car, Holocek said, “Vehicles are selected for replacement based on the criteria of mileage, maintenance costs and age.”

Pictured is the old Pecan Bottoms playground. (Photo provided by Waco, Texas) Two woman enjoy the scenic surroundings of Pecan Bottoms, which is a part of William Cameron Park in Waco, Texas. (Photo provided by Waco, Texas)

The first car was dedicated to park ranger use. And while the electric car could be plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, a 240-volt outlet would charge your EV much faster. When asked if any infrastructure needed to be installed or changed, Holocek replied, “We used our staff master electricians to wire charging stations for one vehicle at four different facilities.” The parks department will plug the Bolt into those chargers overnight, so it will be ready for rangers to use during the day. They can then plug it in again for eight hours at the end of their shift, preparing it for the next shift. Buying any car is a big investment, and Holocek said, “Our current efforts were paid for with general funds. However, we are exploring grant opportunities, which are available to us. Maintenance and upkeep will become a line item in our budget.” Holocek added, “Our citizens seem to be very supportive of this plan for EVs, as well as any other environmentally friendly efforts. We will continue to look for green opportunities within the replacement of vehicles and the renovation and replacement of facilities.” EVs are still a sort of novelty, creating the kind of excitement that has happened since the earliest cars were created in 1885. Cameron Park, dedicated in May 1910, is a gem any way you look at it: three giant playgrounds with swings, slides, bridges and climbing obstacles. Pecan Bottoms playground features a splash pad, while Anniversary Park and the Northern Gateway also feature water misters, which is a new way to keep visitors more comfortable when waiting in lines. For more than 100 years, park visitors have stood atop the Cameron Park cliffs, pondering the Legend of Lovers Leap. Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place is the 6-acre wildflower preserve created 30 years ago across from the Cameron Park Clubhouse, named for former Congressman Bob Poage’s mother. Here you can see native wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Cameron Park Zoo is another major draw. It is an award-winning natural habitat, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Inside, visitors can explore an Asian forest, experience the African Savannah and marvel at the 50,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. Listen closely for the roar of lions echoing along the river. And there is a gibbon habitat, black swans along the creeklet off the Brazos River and king vultures, which is a species the zoo excels in breeding. Children

Children enjoy the updated Pecan Bottoms playground in William Cameron Park. (Photo provided by Waco, Texas)

will find a play area with a Swiss Family Robinson-style tree house and a tunnel painted to resemble a giant boa constrictor. The herpetarium offers a real boa as well as many other reptiles — alligators, snapping turtles, etc. There are also giraffes, rhinos and elephants, even marabou storks. With so much ground to cover each day, the EVs will be a real boon to the rangers. Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, as well. More companies are working toward sustainability through reducing waste and renewable energy. With that in mind, on July 9, 2021, the city of Waco added the second of the four EVs planned for park rangers’ usage. Two more quickly followed. This was part of the city council initiative to create a smaller carbon footprint. “We are looking for opportunities such as this one, where we can not only downgrade from a truck to a sedan, but also an electric vehicle,” said Holocek. The city is reviewing its entire fleet of sedans and light-duty trucks to see if they are able to make more environmentally friendly switches. The Bolts get up to 250 miles per charge, which is more than the rangers need to cover each day, and the driving experience is quite similar to traditional gas-powered vehicles. There are no gears to worry about: climb in, press “start” and choose “drive.” The motor spins in one direction to go forward and the other to go backward, and that’s it. Before receiving the first Bolt, rangers test drove the fleet services department’s electric car so they would know if it did everything they would need it to do, and it did.  OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  47



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Building & Construction

Covington Plaza portion of six-city Riverfront Commons project completed


Running along the Ohio River, northern Kentucky is working on a multi-city walking and biking path connecting six cities. This 11.5-mile path, known as the Riverfront Commons project, will connect Ludlow in the west and Ft. Thomas in the east and include Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton. This project will provide intersecting, uninterrupted pathways to all six Southbank cities and the attractions in each. Some of these attractions include crossing the Purple People Bridge to walk or bike the trails in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Licking River Greenway in northern Kentucky and Devou Park in Covington. The benefits of developing these areas include ecosystem restoration, riverside stabilization, economic development and recreation. The Covington riverfront east and center portion of the project was set to have an economic impact of $76 million with 198 jobs created. These paths will connect Licking River to Madison Avenue. It will 50   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

also connect Covington center and east to Covington west and downtown Covington. Work on this portion of the project helped to stabilize the shoreline along the Licking and Ohio rivers and divert debris. This portion also will protect utility access while allowing pedestrians and vehicles access to the river with walking paths, bike trails, driving lanes and a docking facility. The Newport riverfront west section has a planned economic impact of $1 billion with 6,700 jobs created. These paths will connect Veterans Memorial Bridge to Taylor Southgate Bridge. A pedestrian bridge will connect to Covington. These paths will connect tourism, retail, entertainment, office and

The Covington Plaza took a little less than two years to complete after flooding delays with the Ohio River. This is a significant portion of the six-city Riverfront Commons project. (Photo provided by Prus Construction)

residential opportunities with the river and a docking facility will promote marine tourism and recreation. This section in Newport will also help to stabilize the shoreline along the Licking and Ohio rivers and enhance the existing waterfront park. With an estimated economic impact of $178 million and 379 jobs created, the Newport Festival Park and Riverboat Row portion of the project will connect the Newport levee to Bellevue. This section will stabilize the shoreline along commercial and residentially developed riverfronts while also enhancing and protecting the sewer infrastructure. These pathways will also provide a link for pedestrians and bicyclists from nearby residences to entertainment, retail and office developments.

Over the course of the project, workers poured a total of 4,000 cubic yards of concrete, drove 1,400 feet of sheet pile between 20 and 30 feet into the ground and used 18 million pounds of stone as riprap along the river’s edge. (Photo provided by Prus Construction)

One of the most unique features of the Covington Plaza are the two built-in compasses. These compasses may look as if they are off, but they point to the true north and will line up with any compass. (Photo provided by Prus Construction)

The Bellevue riverfront portion of the project will create approxi- the other at Madison Landing. These reflect on the area’s history with mately 427 jobs with an economic impact of $75 million. It will wayfinding, both with the Underground Railroad and Daniel Boone. connect Newport Riverboat Row to Dayton’s riverfront. The shoreline Individuals will notice they appear slightly off-center when pointing along the residentially developed riverfront will be stabilized, and toward Cincinnati, and this is on purpose. These compasses were the sewer infrastructure enhanced and protected. Local residences designed and installed to face cardinal north, south, east and west, will be connected via pedestrian and bike walkways to nearby retail, and will align with any compass. offices and entertainment. The project lasted through two winters, and McFaddin admitted, Connecting Bellevue to Ft. Thomas, the Dayton riverfront portion “The most challenging thing on the project was definitely the river.” of the project has an estimated economic impact of $300 million with Each year there were two to three months when the Ohio River 983 jobs created. This section will continue to protect and enhance would rise and flood, making it impossible to proceed with any work sewer infrastructure and connect retail, office and residential devel- on the plaza project. Since the flood wall was the construction comopment to the marina and river. pany’s primary access point to the project, it had to coordinate with Covington Plaza is called the “crowning jewel” of the Riverfront Covington to protect the city from potential future flooding and to Commons project by the city of Covington. Prus Construction was access the shoreline to work on the project. When the river would awarded the contract for the project in 2019. The ribbon cutting for flood, sand and mud would also be brought onto the shore, causing the plaza took place on June 18. After being awarded the project, Jared the construction team to spend time cleaning up before moving forMcFaddin, Prus project manager, stated Covington was “looking for ward with construction. Another challenge during construction was getting the concrete to more of a park setting than a parking lot and roadway.” Demolition immediately kicked off the project in September 2019, the site since heavy loads could not be brought across the suspension tearing down the parking lot and hardscapes. The next phase involved bridge. Therefore, it typically took longer for the driver to get through driving sheet pilings into the river’s edge — keeping the soil along traffic to the site than it took to actually pour the concrete. While Prus was originally contracted with the city to complete the the edge secure and from eroding away — and covering it with riprap. Since the amphitheater was built between two big landings along the project within a year, due to the flooding and weather issues, construcriver’s edge, it was important to ensure that the shoreline was secure tion was finished in mid-May this year. Upon completion, McFaddin so it did not end up in the river. stated workers poured a total of 4,000 cubic yards of concrete, drove Underneath the suspension bridge, there is a small ramp allowing 1,400 feet of sheet pile between 20 and 30 feet into the ground and the public access to the river. While this is not a boat ramp, it is acces- used 18 million pounds of stone as riprap along the river’s edge. The Covington Plaza project had its ribbon cutting on June 18 and sible for those wishing to kayak or canoe. There are also landing docks for the riverboat cruises along the shoreline. has hosted multiple events over the past months. The rest of the Another unique feature of the Covington Plaza, according to phases of the Riverfront Commons project are in variable stages of McFaddin, is two compasses — one built into the traffic circle and completion.  OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  51


Streets, Highways & Bridges

This street view shows the updated Sixth Avenue corridor. (Photo provided by Marion, Iowa)

Would you create a new road to mitigate construction traffic? One Iowa city did By DANI MESSICK | The Municipal

An old scrap metal facility’s brownfield land has finally been reincorporated into its city’s streetscape by way of a brand-new road. Tom Treharne, community development director and acting city manager for the city of Marion, Iowa, said the project was almost 10 years in the making, and it runs deeper than the brownfield cleanup since it allows for the revitalization of the whole main corridor of the city. “When I first arrived in Marion in 2001, there was an old railroad that ran through the community,” he explained. “It served pretty heavy industrial sites, including the scrap metal facility, which used to be at the edge of town. With the growth that we’ve (experienced) 52   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

over the years, the edge of town became closer to the center of town, so we had this scrap metal facility basically right on our main drag. It created a lot of problems, a lot of dust, dirt would drag out into the city on a daily basis, their semis would sometimes block the street.” Then about 15 years ago, the situation began to change in the city’s favor. The railroad decided to abandon the lines due to lack of usage, which gave the city the opportunity to acquire the entire railroad corridor by then winding its way through the heart of the community.

Prior to the project, an old scrap metal facility had contaminated the entire property surrounding the future roundabouts. (Photo provided by Marion, Iowa)

Businesses along Seventh Avenue noted during peak hours no one could pull in to visit them because traffic was so backed up. (James Heires/Wikimedia Commons; https://creativecommons. org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

The initial plan was to develop a trail where the unused railroad tracks sat, but in the end, a study proved that another roadway might serve the community even better. “As city leaders, it is important to balance the maintenance and upkeep of what is already existing while being visionary and forward-thinking to position a community for future success,” said Amber Bisinger, communications manager for the city of Marion. “By virtue of owning the railroad, we were able to create a brand-new street alignment that would balance and complete our existing main thoroughfare that was developed in the ’50s and ’60s. This plan was put in place called the Central Corridor Plan.” With the plan in hand and in partnership with local developer Genesis Equities, the city approached the owner of the scrap metal facility about relocating to a new site in another part of Marion more suitable for their line of work. Two roundabouts, one at the entry to Sixth Avenue and one at the exit, also strategically made use of the old scrap metal facility’s land, following assessment and cleanup of the property. The newly designed Sixth Avenue now allows for another long-awaited project to begin. “The impetus for the plan was to get all the heavy traffic off Seventh Avenue,” Treharne explained. “We had 20,000 cars a day on Seventh Avenue, and under the old alignment, it was extremely dangerous. It was where most of our accidents would occur, and it was a really tough situation trying to get all those cars through the community during peak hours. We used to get complaints from businesses that no one could pull in because traffic was so backed up.” The problem was that the storm sewer under Seventh Avenue was nearly 100 years old and, due to the usage needs of Seventh Avenue, had never been redone. “This project replaces underground infrastructure that is over 100 years old, improves walkability, accessibility and overall safety. It also enhances our city’s core, making it attractive to potential businesses, visitors and residents,” Bisinger said.

The ribbon cutting for Sixth Avenue took place on Aug. 6. (Photo provided by Marion, Iowa)

The Seventh Avenue project will not only repair the lines, but also continue to offer additional redevelopment and investment opportunities along that corridor as well as Sixth Avenue. “By creating the Sixth Avenue corridor and being able to redirect traffic, we’re going to be able to make Seventh Avenue a much more desirable corridor,” said Treharne. Still, the project wasn’t without its battles. Treharne recounted many town hall meetings where residents stood up in passion, fervently against the project, for fear that Seventh Avenue would be shut down entirely. “The public was very apprehensive of the project, but it did pass so we knew there was community support for it, but we had a vocal group that was definitely against it,” Treharne said. “At the time in 2010, it was difficult to get the message out, so we weren’t able to tell our story very easily, and a lot of people made a lot of assumptions that weren’t true. Even up until the last, we had people thinking we were going to close (Seventh Avenue) down.” Seventh Avenue was closed for infrastructure work, and traffic redirected to the newly created Sixth Avenue. In this way, the flow of transportation to the city wasn’t impeded by the need for the new sewer lines. The project has cost nearly $20 million, but Treharne believes it’s been worth it. “We knew once we put the public investment, the private would follow,” Treharne said. Today the area along the redeveloped road has a Starbucks, Your Pie Pizza, Arby’s, Marriott Hotel and strip malls. “From a redevelopment perspective, we nailed it.”  OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  53


Municipal Management


How this west Texas town is fighting COVID-19, one shot at a time By LAUREN CAGGIANO | The Municipal

Cities, towns and states have been on a mission this year to get their residents vaccinated, and some campaigns have been more effective than others. El Paso, Texas, however, serves as a shining example of what success can look like. Laura Cruz Acosta, strategic communications director with the city of El Paso, said the numbers speak for themselves. As of the time of press, almost 71% of the population 12 and older was fully vaccinated, and 83% have had their first dose. Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that 88% of the population age 65 and older are fully vaccinated. And about 96% of this cohort have had at least their first vaccine dose. “We’re doing very well in terms of the vaccination rates, and we want to continue that trend in our community,” she said. “So, we’re pushing out continuously the need for the community to get vaccinated and also get tested.” To that end, Acosta said the city has been intentional in its approach in uniting various city departments to bring vaccines to the masses. “Our fire department and our public health department have been working very closely in terms of vaccinating and testing individuals,” she said. “And in coordination with all of that, we have several other different departments involved in different areas of the COVID-19 response.” For example, she attributes the high vaccination rates to specific efforts. “What we’ve done is that we’ve gone doorto-door in some of the critical areas,” she said. 54   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

The city of El Paso has made both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available to the public. (Photo provided by the city of El Paso)

“We’ve collaborated with nursing homes and long-term homes in our community. We’ve also been very collaborative with our school districts. Our school districts have been very helpful in terms of helping us get the word out and helping make sure that we have pop-up vaccination (sites).” Concerning the latter, Acosta said the city held pop-up vaccination events in different parts of the community, in addition to permanent sites that are available MondaySaturday. El Paso has a vaccine site at the convention center downtown, which offers later hours. Speaking of availability, Acosta said officials are nimble enough to adjust to the expanding or shrinking demand from residents. “We adjust the hours so that we fit the needs of the community in a lot of ways,” she said. “We describe it like an accordion — it expands and contracts as a community needs change. When we were seeing our numbers decrease

Strategic Communications Director Laura Cruz Acosta said the website has been critical in achieving El Paso’s high vaccination rate. (Photo provided by the city of El Paso)

The city of El Paso is one of several health care providers able to dispense the vaccine. (Photo provided by the city of El Paso)

Vaccines are also available to the public without an appointment at one of the various pop-up sites throughout the city. (Photo provided by the city of El Paso)

in terms of cases of COVID cases, we were able to adjust the resources accordingly.” Another contributing factor to the public health campaign was the use of the city’s award-winning website — — to disseminate information about these initiatives. “It’s a very important website for us because it offers information about our testing and rates of vaccinations,” she said. “And it also has information about the data that’s out there in terms of who’s getting vaccinated and who needs to get vaccinated — everything that you could want.”

Getting specific populations vaccinated has been easier than others. That’s why the city offered a pop-up vaccination site at ports of entry, specifically designed to reach truckers. “If you know anything about El Paso, we’re a border community,” she said. “We have a lot of transportation in our community coming in from Mexico. And so, to help ensure that our population is safe, we’ve started vaccinating those truckers.” With that goal in mind, Acosta said El Paso has also partnered with different nonprofit organizations that help migrant populations

and the homeless. For example, the city has hosted pop-up vaccine sites at food banks. In retrospect, Acosta said the high rate of vaccine compliance in general — be it COVID-19 or the flu shot — is not a shock due in large part to the culture. “We have a very matriarchal society here locally, with Grandma and Mom under the same roof,” she said. “And so, they know that the children’s needs to be taken care of.” Speaking of culture, Acosta said the city has made translation and interpretation services available to reach non-English speakers. Still, she acknowledges there’s work to be done. In her words, “we’re now at the hardest part of the vaccination process, where we have to get that last group of folks convinced.” That’s why the city is hosting information sessions to help address any questions or concerns about the vaccine. At the same time, El Paso is continuing to promote public health and safety protocols, like mask-wearing, handwashing and physical distancing — basically “taking care of one another.” All of this would not be possible without teamwork. “It was critically important for us is that we worked very hard to eliminate silos across the city,” she said. “The response that we’ve had with COVID is that city leadership has worked very hard with staff to develop a strategic plan that looks at resilience, as well as eliminating some of the barriers and thinking outside of the box.” For example, the health department reports to the fire department. They work together to be able to respond to calls. This spirit of collaboration has served them well in recent months. “Our fire chief led a cross-functional team that oversaw different aspects of the COVID response,” she said. “And what I mean by that is that we’re looking not only at vaccination and testing, but we’re also looking at food scarcity, homelessness, rental assistance and business assistance — the economic development components of it. And so, we pulled all those individuals who touched that piece of the puzzle to look at a holistic approach to how the community is going to overcome the pandemic, not just from the vaccination and testing position, but as a whole.”



Municipal Management

Nevada city fights greenhouse gases with technology

By DANI MESSICK | The Municipal

Nevada’s 2020 State Climate Strategy has led one city to begin tracking its emission in an effort to reduce the heat island effect at their city buildings.

ABOVE: Fleet vehicles are one element of Reno’s focus on reducing emissions. (Photo provided by Reno, Nev.) TOP PHOTO: A solar array at one of the city’s sites, Rosewood Lakes, is presently leased to a private organization. (Photo provided by Reno, Nev.)


“We have a goal in our sustainability plan of reducing emissions from the fleet, but we didn’t have a baseline to know how we were doing or where to go, so that’s probably the primary goal,” said Suzanne Groneman, sustainability program manager for Reno. “The other goal is so that we don’t make the wrong decisions; so we don’t install more solar panels when we should have been approaching our fleet and waste reduction, for example.” When the state of Nevada designed its 2020 State Climate Strategy, the city of Reno was the only city representative that was on the greenhouse gas emissions analysis group. “We voiced that it would make sense if there was consistency,” Groneman explained. “If they were going to eventually mandate some sort of greenhouse gas emissions reporting to the state, everybody

should be using the same method to capture that data.” The state of Nevada is also working with Ledger8760, a software company, on a smaller scale in order to produce a baseline for future emissions tracking. “One of the features of this software that’s been great is it’s really adaptable,” Groneman said. “We as a city have thousands of streetlights, for example, and they said, ‘We can track your street lights.’ Well, then you get into: Are they metered? Are they on a flat-rate? What’s the light type? What are the expected emissions to electrify that light type? (Ledger’s technology is) flexible to answer those questions and to put it in a dashboard form so that we can understand that.” Ledger8760 uses its program to reduce energy costs and track carbon footprints. In July 2021, Reno became the first city to monitor carbon emissions — alongside Washoe County — in real time using the Ledger software. The company collects waste, fleet, energy data and tracks it for the city. “What we want to do is have it all in one place so we can make better decisions on where to focus our efforts to reduce emissions as an operation,” said Groneman. “What we have so far shows us that we’re actually doing pretty well in our energy use compared to other cities, and then we get a daily carbon emissions profile, and it changes day-to-day. We have some of our own renewable energy generation, and right now, we can see our carbon footprint from our energy use in all of our buildings.” The city of Reno and Ledger are still onboarding information right now and said it will take up to three months for the gathered information to be used to track changes and make comparisons. “Once they see the data source or the system that is capturing the data they are looking for, they have to translate it into their software and that’s a part of it, turning data in a fleet management system that tracks, say how much fuel you purchase and how many hours a vehicle runs and translating that over to their platform,” Groneman said. The city of Reno recently won an award from the National Renewable Energy Lab to do a site study for that subject to quantify the value of resilience for a solar plus storage project and determine how that affects government, policy and internal operations.

The city of Reno is attempting to reduce its greenhouse gases by using a unique technology. (Photo provided by Reno, Nev.)

One of the easiest ways to reduce the heat island effect is by cultivating a solid tree canopy. (Photo provided by Reno, Nev.) “Reducing heat is one of our top four strategies that we have identified moving forward for the sustainability department,” she said. Although the program does not extend to local businesses or the community as a whole at the present time, Groneman and other city officials hope to find ways to blend the information they gather into a broader community narrative. Development community resources already highlight a focus on energy, resilience, waste reduction, transportation and heat reduction techniques.

“We tend to make ourselves subject to the same requirements that we would put on developers,” Groneman said. “The easiest (way for us to impact our city’s emissions) for heat island reduction is requiring a certain amount of tree canopy or shading in new development.” Heat island effect is caused by nonpermeable areas within a city such as pavement, sidewalks, lack of shade and rooftops that absorb heat rather than reflect light. “All of that makes it hotter in a city because you don’t have anything to reduce that heat.”  OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  57


Conference Calendar To list your upcoming conference or seminar in The Municipal at no charge, call (800) 733-4111, ext. 2307, or email the information to

OCTOBER Oct. 2-5 Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, Va. Oct. 3-5 NAPO’s Annual Legal Seminar Pal Beach, Florida upcoming-events/ Oct. 3-6 IEDC 2021 Annual Conference Nashville, Tenn. Oct. 3-6 International City/County Management Association Annual Conference Portland, Ore. (In person & Virtual) Oct. 5-8 South Dakota Municipal League Annual Conference Holiday Inn Convention Center, Spearfish, S.D. https://www. Oct. 6-8 Texas Municipal League 109th Annual Conference and Exhibition Houston, Texas Oct. 6-8 Montana League of Cities & Towns 90th Annual Conference Helena City Center & Great Northern Hotel, Helena, Mont. Oct. 7-9 Municipal Leadership Summit Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster, Penn.

Oct. 9-11 The League of Kansas Municipalities Annual Conference Hotel Topeka, City Center/ Maner Conf. Center, Topeka, Kan.

Oct. 14-15 5th Annual North American Active Assailant Conference Woodside Bible Church, Troy Campus, Troy, Mich. https://shop.centermassinc. com/

Oct. 10-1, 2022 AWW & WEA Conference (Rescheduled May 1-4, 2022) Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Hot Springs, Ark.

Oct. 16 NPRC 21st Year Training Event Commerce, Mich https://shop.centermassinc. com/

Oct. 12-14 South Dakota Parks & Recreation Association Annual Conference Watertown, S.D. Oct 12-14 PWX Plus 2021 Virtual (in person was Aug 29Sept1) Oct. 12-15 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, Minn. Oct. 13-14 78th Annual Vermont Recreation & Parks Association Conference Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, Vt. Oct. 13-14 AWC’s Member Expo Campbell’s Resort, Chelan, Wash. In-person & Virtual Oct. 13-15 Windpower 2021 Conference & Exhipbition Boston, Mass


Oct. 14-16 Montana Fire Service Conference Hilton Garden Inn, Missoula, Mont. Oct.16-20 94th Annual Technical Exhibition & Conference McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill. Also online Oct. 16-18 Oct. 17-20 Maryland Chiefs of Police Association/Maryland Sheriffs’ Association Professional Development Training Seminar & Exhibitor Show Clarion Resort Fontainebleau, Ocean City, MD Oct. 18-20 Mississippi Recreation & Park Association Annual Conference The Mill Conference Center, Starkville, Miss. Oct. 18-20 Fire Department Training Network Live-Fire Training Camp Indianapolis, Ind.

Oct. 19-21 New Jersey Water Association Annual Conference The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, N.J. Oct. 20 NH Drinking Water Expo & Trade Show Concord, New Hamp. Oct. 19-22 Colorado Municipal Clerks Association Annual Conference Glenwood Springs, Colo. Oct. 20-22 League of Wisconsin Municipalities Annual Conference and Engineering & Public Works Institute KI Center, Green Bay, Wis. Annual-Conference Oct. 21-23 League of Oregon Cities 96th Annual Conference Riverhouse, Bend, Oregon Oct. 24-26 Virginia Recreation & Park Society Annual Conference The Madison, Harrisonburg, Va. Oct. 19-21 Nevada Recreation & Park Society Annual Conference Meet Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev. https:// nevadarecreationamppark Oct. 26-29 F.I.E.R.O. Fire PPE Symposium Hyatt Regency, Greenville, S.C.

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Company Profile

Monroe Truck Equipment doubles down on mission to move communities forward By AMANDA FIELD

Since 1958, our team at Monroe Truck Equipment has served our customers across the country by providing customizable truck bodies, trailers and snow and ice control equipment. Monroe Truck Equipment delivers the best value in the industry by providing unrivaled expertise, a simple buying experience, dependable truck and trailer solutions and best-in-class customer support. Years of hard work from our locations across the Midwest have grown into one of the largest truck and trailer equipment manufacturing and upfitting companies in the country. 60   THE MUNICIPAL | OCTOBER 2021

Photos provided by Monroe Truck Equipment

Monroe Truck Equipment’s mission is to move communities forward. Backed by our passion and determination, our products have helped cities, towns, townships and rural areas across the nation improve safety and infrastructure. Committed to craftsmanship Over the last 60 years, the legacy of Monroe Truck Equipment has been carefully crafting

unique solutions that their customers will use and enjoy for years to come. However, our team doesn’t just create products for their customers; we consider how the equipment will be used in communities across the country. That’s where the focus on moving communities forward comes in. Monroe’s truck equipment keeps communities safe and growing. When the truck equipment is used for applications like plowing and salting roads in the middle of a storm or building infrastructure in rural areas, the products need to perform well to keep communities as safe as possible. “We have to be great at what we do for our customers to be able to get their job done safely and efficiently,” said Shawn Steinmann, Monroe Truck Equipment’s municipal sales manager. “Our team understands how our products are used, that our truck equipment is out there making communities safer, and that’s why we are so focused on craftsmanship. We take pride in every product that goes out the door.” Partner with Monroe Truck Equipment and be confident you have the dependable truck equipment that will help you keep your community safe and clean. With decades of experience in snow and ice management, our team of experts designs to the specifications you need to best serve your community and build truck equipment that will last for years to come. Customizable products that go above and beyond No two communities are the same. The challenges of a densely populated New England town are different from those of a rural southern community. Additionally, no two groups of people use equipment in exactly the same way. Every customer Monroe works with deserves the tools that will help them work the way they want, safely and quickly. That’s why Monroe Truck Equipment is dedicated to the customization process. “We have customers all across the country with unique needs and challenges,” said Andy Holverson, Monroe Truck Equipment’s vice president of municipal sales. “Our team has the experience and knowledge to create custom solutions that help our customers get the job done — on their terms.” Municipalities often face strict budget control and environmental regulations that can interfere with job capabilities. When it comes time to build a fleet or customize your truck

equipment, Monroe Truck Equipment’s team of experts builds the right specifications for your specific application. Municipal truck industry experts to guide you Rigid budgets, environmental and safety regulations and equipment functionality all need to be established before you can ever put your trucks to work. Monroe has extensive experience working with municipalities like yours to help find the right equipment to meet all of your job requirements. From plows to customized truck bodies, our team has the expertise to understand your challenges and can provide you with the solutions to face them head on. Whether you’re facing inclement weather during unpredictable seasons or the challenge of navigating narrow city streets, we can work together to create the exact truck for the job.

The future of Monroe Truck Equipment Guided by compassionate leadership, Monroe Truck Equipment anticipates that this new era will bring a more renewed sense of purpose and mission. The Monroe Truck Equipment team is positioned and ready to move forward as an industry-leading truck equipment designer, manufacturer, upfitter and distributor.  For more information visit,

Beyond equipment to support communities across America Over the last two years, Monroe Truck Equipment experienced new leadership. In such a short time, we have seen a lot of great changes, such as clearer communication channels and streamlined ordering processes. The new leadership team is honoring Monroe’s legacy of craftsmanship and customization while introducing changes that keep our mission front and center: keep communities moving forward. Monroe leadership took cues from the whole team to determine what nonprofits to support and how they want to give back to the community. In 2020 alone, the Monroe team spent nearly $100,000 to support local businesses that were struggling because of the lockdown, wrote letters of encouragement to elderly community members who were stuck inside their facilities and even donated personal protective equipment to first responders. Blood drives are hosted regularly at Monroe headquarters, and teams across all of our locations have participated in food drives, planned community events and supported local farmers who were unable to sell their livestock due to so many fairs being cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Monroe is committed to giving back to the community — not just through the quality products that are used to keep our roads safe, but through how we support the organizations and people we care most about. OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  61

News & Notes Mark Decker named Land Pride president SALINA, KAN. — Land Pride, a division of Great Plains Manufacturing Inc., announced that Mark Decker has been named division president effective July 5, 2021, replacing the retiring John Quinley. Decker has more than 25 years of experience with Great Plains and Land Pride, including a decade as national sales manager and most recently as vice president of sales since 2015. “Mark is the right leader for Land Pride,” said Linda Salem, president and CEO of Great Plains Manufacturing. “Mark’s extensive experience with Land Pride and the industry, as well as his business development skills and ability to communicate, will help Land Pride continue our strong growth trajectory. We believe his leadership experience will be beneficial to the company as a whole.” Decker began with Land Pride in 1996 as a territory manager for the Land Pride Turf Division. His drive to succeed led him to a regional manager position in 1997. In 1999, he was promoted to national sales manager, where he led a team of 35 sales professionals. His promotion to vice president of sales in 2015 coincided with the largest growth in company history. Of his new responsibilities, Decker stated, “We have a wonderful team in place that will continue to make Land Pride a leader in this sector. My first responsibility will be to ensure that Land Pride sustains our relationships with our dealers and our standing in our industry.”

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Monroe Truck Equipment announces new Municipal Division MONROE, WIS. — Monroe Truck Equipment announced its new Municipal Division; this includes a dedicated sales team, an expanded Municipal campus in Monroe, Wis., and updated branding to distinguish this division within the snow and ice management industry. Monroe Truck Equipment is an industry-leading truck equipment designer, manufacturer, upfitter and distributor. It serves municipalities across America as a leading snow and ice management truck equipment manufacturer and upfitter. “We’ve reimagined how we serve our municipal customers. Our goal is to make it easy to do business with us,” said Andy Holverson, vice president of municipal sales at Monroe Truck Equipment Inc. In addition to a new team, expanded facility and website dedicated to municipalities and snow and ice management, Monroe Truck Equipment rebranded the organization to clarify and distinguish between three divisions: commercial, municipal and corporate. “We’ve updated our classic look to better align with the direction we’re moving Monroe Truck Equipment: forward,” said Amanda Field, marketing team lead at Monroe Truck Equipment Inc. “Our new logo features a strong and bold ‘MONROE’ visually carrying the impact from our old logo. The icon is a customized ‘M’ reflecting our ability to customize for our customers and is a visual nod to our industry that is reminiscent of a tire track.” Municipal customers will see a visibility green to reflect the company’s commitment to the safety of its communities. Commercial customers will experience a strong, confident orange. Monroe Corporate and Careers takes up a rich, salt-of-the-earth goldenrod. For more information, visit Monroe Truck Equipment’s new commercial website at https://  News releases regarding personnel changes, other non-product-related company changes, association news and awards are printed as space allows. Priority will be given to advertisers and affiliates. Releases not printed in the magazine can be found online at Call (800) 733–4111, ext. 2307, or email




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Guest Column

Bringing the buzz back to nature MICHAEL ALLEN | Guest columnist Parks and Natural Resources Director, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation


here have all the _____ gone? Have you ever heard someone say this before? Absolutely you have because change is inevitable, and some things are not where they once were. The world outside your window is different than it was before. More development has occurred. Bees are not buzzing around the clover in your yard. The buzz is missing from the human interaction with natural resources in your community — sometimes quite literally. Change is coming for me, it’s coming for you and it’s happening every day. We can’t stop it, but we can embrace it. We can anticipate it, and we can engage it. At Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR), we are striving to understand the changes that are happening to our natural landscapes within our community and beyond. In fact, we’ve implemented deliberate changes to our organizational structure so we can develop plans and effect strategies for adapting to the inevitable change. Many of our solutions revolve around engaging the community and local


businesses to support our efforts in maintaining the value of our natural resources. We are creating opportunities to measure water quality, evaluate habitat and put priority species on a map. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the conversation and evolution we have at CCPR everyday in hopes that it sparks a conversation or two with you along your ever-changing path. We take a three-pronged approach to create positive stewardship strategies and gain support for long-term sustainability in our natural areas. Utilizing volunteers, expert contractors and qualified staff, we share the workload and navigate strategies for success. Like many public agencies, we operate with finite resources that need to be maximized and leveraged to gain the biggest impact with every hour spent. How do you we do that? 1. Support from our Parks Foundation allows us to engage expert contractors who help us identify priority habitat locations based on comprehensive plant survey data. 2. Our staff in turn implements management strategies to these locations and furthers the mission to foster biodiversity. 3. Every year we deliver stewardship opportunities to get our community physically and intellectually engaged in the natural areas of our parks. I learned a long time ago at Indiana University that experiential education creates lasting moments, which can be retained for years and help establish influential perspectives. We want our community members to have these tangible experiences through our volunteer

LEFT: A bee visits a plant. CCPR has taken a three-pronged approach to create positive stewardship strategies and gain support for long-term sustainability in its natural areas. (

programs that show them firsthand value of what a sustainable ecosystem can offer. Do you manage acres of public land for preservation and public access? If so, then you certainly understand the benefits of a successful stewardship recipe involving equal parts a) time; b) resources; and c) best management practices. The ingredients come together to provide the best experience and benefits for the visitors in your community. If you are not a land manager but you spend your leisure time exploring the benefits of being outdoors The CCPR programs, including Adopt-A-Park groups, Citizen Scientist training and volin natural landscapes, then this informa- unteer stewardship, have seen participation grow over 150%. (Photo provided by Carmel tion may provide you with insight into what Clay Parks & Recreation) makes the natural resources around you valuable and how you can get involved. To create a healthy ecosystem, it’s imporCommunity memtant to spend time understanding what bers interact with your native species need to thrive. Typically nature during Earth surveying what your biodiversity looks like Day 2021 activities. can be a good measuring stick to determine (Photo provided by if your land has balance. When native speCarmel Clay Parks & cies can thrive in a natural area, it often Recreation) provides sustainable balance. If a space is sustainable by design, there is less maintenance overhead required to keep the function of that space performing at peak value over the long term. There are many ways to supplement balance and add biodiversity as an initial investment when you’re ready to prioritize a project area. Whether it’s clearing out monocultures of invasive species, allowing native seed to reestablish or taking a closer look at your soil conditions — to name a few. Michael Allen is the parks and natural resources director with Community engagement is a priority for all park departments Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. He grew up as a passive outdoor across the country. It’s what we do. But how we do it can make the enthusiast and pursued a degree from Indiana University in Outimpact that ultimately influences necessary change and contrib- door Recreation and Resource Management, focusing on outdoor utes to growing participation. In the last year and a half, we have leadership. He started his career as a facilitator in adventure seen parkland across the globe become a refuge for citizens of recreation throughout the mountain west before gaining valuable the world to escape their normal patterns of social gathering. The experience with nonprofits managing stewardship projects in the CCPR programs that engage our community, including Adopt-A- Rocky Mountains. Allen started public service as a state ranger Park groups, Citizen Scientist training and volunteer stewardship for Colorado Parks & Wildlife and transitioned to Santa Barbara participation have shown growth over 150%. People are experienc- County Parks as the operations manager to gain valuable manageing parks with a fresh new perspective. The value of these spaces ment experience, which opened the opportunity to move back to is gaining traction. Our visitors, our wildlife and our plant com- Indiana. He has served with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation for the last six years as the parks and natural resources director. munities are getting the buzz back.


TOP 10

Best cities for recreation

Many people aim to stay active to reap numerous health benefits. Depending on location, this can be easier said than done. However, some cities offer a cornucopia of recreation opportunities — indoors and outdoors. According to, having these options contribute to a city’s overall well-being and economy.

WalletHub notes, “Neighborhood parks are one of the most beneficial types of recreation a city can offer. Research has found that having a park within 500 to 600 feet of your property can have significant impact on its value. In addition, parks help people stay fit, saving them as much as $1,500 in healthcare costs per year, and they reduce the overall costs of air pollution by $3.8 billion per year.”

also indoor leisure activities like movie theaters, music venues and coffee shops. WalletHub states, it “compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 48 key metrics that speak to the benefits of recreational activities. In each city, we examined basic living costs, the quality of parks, the accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities and the weather.” Orlando, Fla., took first place, ranking No. 1 in entertainment and recreational facilities, No. 37 in costs, No. 59 in quality of parks, and No. 28 in weather. Its total score of 62.96 put it just ahead of Las Vegas, Nev., which had a score of 61.80. The entire top 10 cities are listed below.

In its July list, “Best & Worst Cities for Recreation,” WalletHub not only calculated elements like parks but

1. Orlando, Fla.


2. Las Vegas, Nev.


3. San Diego, Calif.


4. Cincinnati, Ohio


5. Tampa, Fla.


6. Honolulu, Hawaii


7. Atlanta, Ga.


8. Albuquerque, N.M. 54.87 9. St. Louis, Mo.


10. New Orleans, La.


Source: 66   THE MUNICIPAL  |  OCTOBER 2021


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Alumitank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 American Safety & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 American Shoring Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

M Midwest Sandbags LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Midwest Tractor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Andy Mohr Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Monroe Truck Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60-61



BendPak Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

National Construction Rentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Bonnell Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Britespan Building Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 62 Bucher Municipal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Buyers Products Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

C CBI Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 CleanFix North America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

O Omega Industrial Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

P Precision Concrete Cutting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Q Quantum Fuel Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Clearspan Fabric Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27


Curtis Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Rapid View LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BACK



Ebac Industrial Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Sourcewell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

Everblades Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Strongwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

F Fluid Control Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

G GI Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Greystone Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 GVM Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45


Streamlight Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

T TrackStar Internatinal Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

U Utility Truck Equipment Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

V Versalift East, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Henderson Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7


Hercules Industries Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Woodland Power Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

This index is provided courtesy of the publisher, who assumes no liability for errors or omissions. OCTOBER 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  69

Your community counts on you. Count on us.

Big buying power. Local choice. When it comes to purchasing, city leaders in Nisswa (MN) get the best of both worlds — local dealer access with national buying power. They keep taxpayer dollars in the community while saving time and money during the procurement process by utilizing Sourcewell contracts to buy equipment, office supplies, technology, and other goods.

Sourcewell is your government source for more than 400 cooperative contracts.


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Articles inside

Company Profile: Monroe Truck

pages 60-61

News & Notes

pages 62-63

Top 10: Best cities for recreation

pages 66-68

Guest Column: Bringing the buzz back to nature

pages 64-65

Municipal Management

pages 56-57

Streets, Highways

pages 52-53

Personality Profile: First lady

pages 40-41

Focus on Parks Environmental Services: And

pages 36-39

Fleet Services Maintenance: Waco park

pages 46-49

Municipal Management

pages 54-55

Building & Construction

pages 50-51

Focus on Parks Environmental Services: Parks

pages 32-35

Public Safety

pages 42-45

Focus on Parks Environmental Services:

pages 22-27

Focus on Parks Environmental Services:

pages 28-31

On The Road Again: Winchester

pages 12-13

Parks Environmental Services

page 17

From the Cover: Cooperative buying for tight budgets

pages 10-11

Focus on Parks Environmental Services:

pages 18-21

Editor’s Note: Wading through staffing shortages and a lingering pandemic

pages 8-9

What’s In A Name: Hi-Nella

pages 14-16
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