By Jef Rietsma
Improvements to a gazebo on West Prairie Street and two village parks are underway in Vicksburg.
Village Council members July 18 voted to authorize Frederick Construction to conduct extensive repairs at the gazebo on an overlook along the north side of the street. In addition, the council authorized necessary maintenance at Clark Park, where deck and boardwalk repairs are needed, and Sunset Lake Park, where boardwalk and fishing pier repairs are needed.
Work related to the three projects will cost about $60,000.
Mike Frederick of the construction firm said short-term repairs at Sunset Lake would center on both the north and south boardwalks. They are more than 20 years old and their current condition are considered poor to fair.
Frederick said the structures have weathered significantly and immediate repairs would extend their useful lives by about five years. Specifically, Frederick said the existing wood walkway and handrail system are in need of repairs, as well.
The fishing pier, meanwhile, should be deemed unsafe and access should be prohibited.
“When we’re done with (the work), they’ll be structurally sound, they’ll be usable. They will not be new, but our intentions are to clear some of the vegetation carefully, do the structural corrective measures necessary to make them safe, power-wash them and seal them with two coats of sealers, replace various deck boards and try to breathe a little more life into them,” he said. He noted about 40 deck boards between the two walkways need replacement.
Cost of the Sunset Lake improvements, according to Village Manager Jim Mallery, is $25,150. Frederick said work should be completed by the end of August.
Council members recalled when Sunset Lake Park was an attractive place to swim. Within the past generation, however, they acknowledged the lake’s poor health has been a detriment to such an activity. Mallery said the village has tried to better the area, including two years ago when it brought in more beach sand, added sidewalks and bathroom facilities, and re-stained and re-shingled the park’s pavilion.
Frederick Construction has started work on the deck and boardwalk at the northeast corner of Clark Park. Mike Frederick said the deck is in poor to fair condition, a condition that worsens as a result of heavy rainfall due to drainage from an adjacent parking lot.
“Do we salvage what’s there for a period of time until we get through a master plan to determine what our needs are and what should happen, or short of preventing anybody from using it or tearing it down? We’re right there at that crossroads, is what I’m saying.”
Frederick had offered a number of remedies to improve the deck. The proposal includes reinforcing the upper deck and railing system, installing a new catch basin to collect stormwater runoff, replacing the wood deck, power washing 800 square feet of existing wooden deck boards and 220 lineal feet of wooden handrail system, and applying two coats of sealer. Frederick said the task also includes securing eight midline rail posts, among other minor needs.
The Clark Park work, not to exceed $30,000, should also be completed by the end of summer.
Frederick said a variety of structural improvements to the Prairie Street gazebo as well as a thorough power washing will be completed at a cost of $3,850. That project, too, will be done in August.
In other action, the village is sponsoring a food truck rally in the village’s downtown district on Aug. 9.