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Free use of town park a point of community pride

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Orchard City's free use Town Park is a point of community pride and activity for youth sports, families, organizations of all kinds, and which offers ample open space as well.

Orchard City's free use town park is a point of pride for the community. It receives many compliments by users who visit from around the region and across the state.

As a free use facility, money to operate and maintain the park must come from other sources than the user fees which pay only a small part of the park fund's $62,199 budget for 2017.

Some cities try to recover a certain percentage of their operating and maintenance costs for facilities by charging a fee for use of such amentities as pavilions and ball fields. The full cost of maintenance is rarely recovered, but the town park is at the very low end of the [expense] scale.

Town officials have made strides in recent years to cut the costs of maintenance which only a few years ago was approaching $80,000 per year. Orchard City Town Park is paid for by a mix of fees and user charges along with money from the general fund.

The park fund includes maintenance and expansion projects for the town's park including the Field of Dreams complex.

The town's conservation trust fund was set up to revive allocations from state lottery funds. Historically the town has received between $25,000 and $35,000 annually from these funds. In the past this money has been transferred to the park fund to help pay for park expansion and improvement projects. The money received in this fund can only be used for certain expenses such as the addition of new park facilities.

In 2017 the park visitors will be able to enjoy new bleachers that are expected to add functionality, lower maintenance costs and increase safety for event spectators. The bleachers were paid for with Lottery funds.

The park fund budget for 2017 reflects $10,000 to replace the irrigation pump filter and purchase of a new leaf blower. There is also a $35,000 transfer from the general fund to pay maintenance costs of the Town Park.

Youth sports are one of the biggest uses of the Town Park with the Field of Dreams youth baseball programs and the youth soccer programs both available to youth from around the region and giving them an opportunity to learn about competition and winning.

A playground, open space, and the expansive pavilion are favorite facilities at Town Park. There are also a basketball court, other shelter buildings for smaller gatherings, and clean rest rooms.

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Surface Creek
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Orchard City, parks
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