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Park district lays groundwork for new garage in Buchanan Park

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By Vicky Gits

The Evergreen Park and Recreation District has submitted a preliminary application to build an equipment storage barn in Buchanan Park as part of a previously budgeted capital improvement program.

Last year the district board budgeted $150,000 for a large building for vehicle storage, vehicle repair and park operations offices.

The district was able to obtain a grant for $60,000. The rest will be paid for out of the reserve fund, said executive director John Skeel.

The storage facility is not part of the future proposed Buchanan Park Community Center/Arts Center, which is the topic of a separate feasibility study and is not yet in the budget or funded.

The new building would be built just south of the log ranch house on Bergen Parkway that houses the offices of the executive director. A drawing shows it would be about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, with five equipment bays. The first phase is 2,200 square feet. It will be timber, with some rock facing to blend in with the park surroundings, Skeel said.

The idea is to bring everyone together and consolidate the equipment in one location rather than several sheds. Many valuable pieces of equipment have to be stored outside under plastic covers or in an old horse barn that is open to the elements, Skeel said. Upgrading the old barn at the Alderfer House was rejected as being too expensive.

The building site crosses two parcels zoned A-2 and planned development.

The park district wants to complete the project in two phases. The first phase consists of half of the building, two bays and an unfinished office area. The offices would be finished as the budget allows.

Phase two consists of the rest of the building, three bays and a storage area, according to a letter on file at the planning department.

The architect is Carl Shipley of Shipley Design of Evergreen.

At the regular board meeting April 23, the district also approved spending up to $160,000 on building an improved weight room at Wulf Recreation Center. The work includes upgrading the bathrooms, taking out walls and removing one of the two racquetball courts.

The weight room upgrade, which was promised as part of the 2005 bond campaign, was approved at a regular board meeting March 24.