Parks preparing for winter

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The mowing season is over for Paris city employees. Among their many other tasks during this respite are putting the parks into winter mode by closing buildings, shutting off water and winterizing pipes to prevent freeze up.

While many of the parks are going into slow mode, activity is still strong at the West Lake as preparations for Holiday in the Park are starting.

“The tunnel frames are welded and painted but not put up,” said Chris Redman, the city superintendent of streets, alleys and parks.

Redman discussed progress during the Paris Park Board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 29. The lighted tunnel was a new addition for the 2018 Holiday in the Park, and it proved a popular attraction with visitors. Park board members wanted to expand it for this year and the most cost effective way was for city workers to fabricate the arches, rather than buy them premade as was done last year.

According to Redman, the new addition should almost double the length of the tunnel visitors pass through as they exit the park onto Steidl Road.

Other activity related to preparing for Holiday in the Park includes wrapping trees with lights and testing lights. Businesses may start delivering their illuminated displays for set up the second weekend of November.

Something new this year is a Bee Well of Edgar County sponsored fun run Wednesday, Nov. 27, during the final testing of the lights before the attraction opens to the public Thanksgiving night. The fun run provides an opportunity for people to jog, or walk, around the park drive while the lights are on, but before the heavy automobile traffic starts on the following nights.

Anyone wanting to participate in the fun run should park at Laker Stadium and enter and exit through the lighted tunnel.

Board member Brenda Martin asked about the status of the in-ground lights at Schwartz Park. She said it appears some of them have been pulled from the ground.

Redman confirmed vandals have damaged some of the lights to such an extent the power is shut off to all of the lights to prevent an accidental shock.

Board members suggested Redman consider taking all of the lights out since they don’t work as a way of avoiding more vandalism.

Schwartz Park isn’t the only facility to suffer damage at the hands of miscreants. Redman said somebody has carved obscenities into one of the footbridges and some trees at Blackhawk Park.

There was some positive news about Blackhawk. Redman is talking with local Boy Scouts interested in rebuilding a collapsed footbridge in the park as an Eagle project.

In final action, the board members changed the November meeting date to 5 p.m. Nov. 19. That is a week earlier than the normal schedule and gets the meeting away from the busy Thanksgiving week.