Paving Mapleleaf Athletic Complex
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
When City Administrator Brent Schleisman found out the city would receive half a million dollars for water quality improvements, he knew there were plenty of projects the city could focus on. But there was only one place he wanted to start – paving the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex’s parking lot.
“Ever since I’ve lived here it’s always been a gravel lot and it’s always been a topic of conversation in the community. So I jumped on it. I thought let’s take a look at this,” he said.
The parking lot wouldn’t be paved with just any concrete; it would be paved with permeable concrete. The permeable concrete would allow water to flow over the complex into a subsystem that would allow the water to get rid of some of it’s contaminants before it makes its way to the city’s storm sewer system.
But how did the city become eligible for $500,000? Schleisman said the city has to do so much work with its sanitary sewer that the state now has a system that will give the city 10 percent of monies allocated for the cost of our sanitary sewer. That is if the money is used for water quality improvement.
Mt. Pleasant has roughly $5.5 million worth of sanitary sewer projects currently slated or in the docket for construction. This means the city is eligible for about $500,000 - $550,000 to be used for water quality projects.
“We’ve identified many different water quality projects around Mt. Pleasant,” Schleisman said, adding because the city will have to borrow more money in the future for sewer work and, thus, will have more water quality grants from the DNR, they’ve selected the parking lot for the first project. “It’s a potential win/win for everybody,” he said. “We’ve had two or three meetings with the DNR and they are just ecstatic about the potential impact this project could have.”
This is where the school district comes in. Not only would the project be a win/win for everybody, Schleisman sees an opportunity for cost sharing.
“It’s about a $1 million project,” Schleisman told the school board’s finance and site committees Thursday evening. “To me I’d pave the whole thing if we could, it just depends on how much the dollars will allow us to go for. I’m just throwing out a 50/50 split from the local side.”
Sections of the parking lot – the far east near the trees and the far west quadrant – are slated to be seal coated.
With the grant from the DNR, it would make each entity’s portion – the city and the school district - about $250,000.
“We can pave a parking lot for 50 cents on the dollar locally, and still improve the water quality,” he said.
During the October school board meeting, board president David McCoid had wondered if the cost of the joint venture would be split down the middle or if there was room for negotiation. However, on Thursday McCoid seemed interested in expanding the project. “I’m only one of seven, but my position would be we need to pave the entire parking lot and share the cost,” said McCoid. “I don’t think that seal coat is going to hold up with the traffic we have over there.”
Project engineer Jim Warner, of Warner Engineering Associates, Inc., of Mt. Pleasant, said that wouldn’t be a problem, as long as someone could come up with the funds.
City Council member Kent White said he sees the value in the project, but as for paving the entire parking lot he said there are other projects that deserve the city’s attention. “I don’t know if I want to devote a majority of funds to this project,” he said.
McCoid asked Warner for figures on costs to pave the entire parking lot.
Schleisman said his goal with the paving project is to not only improve the water quality of Mt. Pleasant, but also the quality of life.
“This is a commitment from the city,” said Schleisman. “These are typically our road funds that we are using. The council just feels strongly in beautifying our community and making this a quality place to live. This is such a front door to our community for a lot of people and we want to give the best image we can.”
Schleisman said he would also like to see some additional “beautification” around the complex. “I have proposed to our municipal utilities, we also want to light the parking lot,” he said. “We are proposing putting six of the decorative lighting poles that you see down Grand Avenue and Washington Street with the banners. We’d put six of those evenly spaced, or approximately evenly spaced, along the south side of the parking lot along Mapleleaf Drive. You guys could hang banners that represent the school system.”
Schleisman said not only would this light the sidewalk and parking lot, but it would help tie in the complex to the greater Mt. Pleasant area.
“I’ve asked the utilities to cover that expense,” said Schleisman. “I don’t have an answer on that yet. But they have been very favorable to all of our projects we’ve asked them to do.”
Warner suggested possibly using colored concrete, possibly Panther maroon.
Schleisman added a new sign would also enhance the area.
The project must coincide with sewer work the city will be working on next spring/summer. Schleisman said his hope is to begin the project after the final track and field event and have everything completed by the start of football season. Right now, he said, the city is just looking for an agreement with the school district for cost sharing.
Schleisman said he hopes to have a 28E agreement to the superintendent in the next week and to have the school district approve it by December as the city is hoping to bid out the project in February, at the latest.
“It’s a plus for us, it’s a plus for the state and I think it’s a plus for the community,” he said. “It’s really going to enhance quality for all of the visitors you guys bring to that facility from out of town. It would just be an image thing for the city, to step it up a notch.”