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Morris parks committee discusses Deer Ridge, dog park

MORRIS – The Morris Parks and Annexation Committee was forced to scale back its plans for the second development phase of Deer Ridge Park in Morris due to a constraint in the budget.

The city budgeted $40,000 for the second phase of the park’s development. However, an estimate compiled by the city’s engineering firm, Chamlin and Associates, showed the city’s original plan for phase two would cost more than $118,000.

The original plan included the grating and leveling of a two-acre field, installing a baseball backstop, developing the second half of the playground and constructing a pebble path throughout the park.

“We just don’t have all the money for this,” committee member Julian Houston said during Thursday’s meeting. “We need to decide what we want to do and what can wait.”

After much discussion, the committee decided to move forward with installing the baseball backstop, the playground surface and new playground equipment.

The estimated cost of those three additions is more than $40,000, but the committee decided to go out for bid for each project, hoping the bids would come in lower than its rough estimates.

If the bids do not come in as expected, the city may have to re-evaluate what can be completed this year.

Debbie Donato from Deer Ridge Homes, who is helping in the playground development process, presented the committee with several playground equipment options, varying significantly in price.

The new playground equipment will be geared toward 5–12-year-old children. The current equipment – installed during phase one of the project which was completed last fall – is designed for children ages 2 to 5.

Phase one of the project cost the city nearly $47,000.

The committee decided to try to complete the pebble sidewalk this year as well by using labor from the city.

“The sidewalk is something we could do in-house,” Mayor Richard Kopczick said.

Parks committee

considers dog park

The committee very briefly discussed the possibility of adding a dog park to the city of Morris.

The discussion was prompted by a request from a local woman looking to use the creation of the dog park as an Eagle Scout project for a local troop. According to Kopczick, the troop would be responsible for spearheading the project, but would need approvals from the city.

“Basically, the only thing we would pay for would be materials,” Kopczick said.

The only materials discussed were fencing and benches.

Kopczick said there have been other community members who have approached the city throughout the years expressing interest in creating a dog park.

No action was taken Thursday, but the committee will discuss the dog park in more detail at future meetings.

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