Finish line for pump track: Rudolph bike park ready to open

The new Wood County Park District Rudolph Bike Park pump track is in the final lap before opening.

Park District director Chris Smalley gave the board of commissioners an update at Tuesday’s meeting.

“If all stays on plan, we should be open in October. It’s really going to come down to two remaining items, the tar and chip, which should be finished this week, if the weather cooperates, and Tom Reitz Designs completing the punch list items,” Smalley said. “We’re on a good track. I hate to say it out loud, but knock on wood, and once we open it, I think folks will really be happy with it.”

Originally proposed in 2018, with an opening that should have happened almost a year ago, the completion of the park has been plagued with issues, from COVID related delays to a drainage right-of-way issue that was solved this past summer.

“Our staff have busted their butt. There were a lot of areas in that park that weren’t under our contractor, and weren’t under some of our subcontractors, that staff had to do themselves. I really can’t say enough. Every department here played some part in completing that park and addressing some issues,” Smalley said. “I couldn’t be happier with the team.”

Board member Tom Myers asked about the allocation of remaining payables.

Smalley explained that there was about $35,000 remaining on the purchase order for the project. Of those funds, $22,000 was spent on moving the eastern section of the pump track out of the right-of-way and rebuilding it. The final amount is being reserved until the last punch list items are taken care of. Once they are done, then the warranty will kick in.

The bird seed sale and donation is flying ahead, thanks to a donation from Debbie Parish and her husband, board member Dennis Parish.

“We like donating to the parks,” Parish said. “Debbie, my wife, is big with donations to help animals.”

The war between Russia and Ukraine has affected the cost of bird seed, as Ukraine is one of the largest suppliers of some of the seeds in the mix.

The Friends of the Parks have also collected $1,000 for the bird seed project.

Jim Witter, parks program coordinator, is in charge of the various feeding programs.

“The ornithology program starts in November. The volunteers watch the feeders, refill them and fill out forms about what they are seeing,” Witter said. “It will be a couple hundred dollars more this year than what we expected.”

There will be direct donation opportunities available during the Fall Native Plant Sale that takes place on Sept. 24, from 9 a.m.-noon at the Carter Historic Park, 18331 Carter Road. The sale will be offering seven varieties of native woody shrubs and 23 varieties of fall flowering plants.

Corinne Gordon, historic farm specialist, remarked on one of the Parish donations. The classic stove in the Carter Historic Farm was donated by the family. The park is an active farm, which includes the cooking demonstrations.

She said that the original stove had to be retired because of broken parts that could no longer be fixed or replaced. Their $3,500 donation was able to fund the purchase of a modern replica of the original stove.

Gordon said that it was most recently used to make the Depression Era recipe coffee cake served after the board meeting.

In other business, the board also approved a purchase order for a trim painting project at Otsego Park with Toby Ernsthausen Painting & Drywall LLC for $8,500.

Surplus equipment disposal, by auction, was also approved by the board. Included in the auction, on govdeals.com, will be four aluminum canoes and five vehicles. It is part of an effort being made across the Park District.

“We have a lot of equipment that has been squirreled away,” Smalley said.

The Friends annual fall birdseed sale will also take place on Sept. 28, with pickup on Oct. 8, from 10 a.m.-noon at Mid-Wood, 12818 E. Gypsy Lane Road. More information is available at the Friends of the Wood County Parks website www.wcparks.org/friends.

The Fall Friends newsletter is now available as is the Oak Leaf, which is the program guide for the Wood County Parks.