PRINCETON — Ballers should soon be able to hit the hoop with new LED lights at the Lafayette Park court, but it's been a month of trouble trying to get the work done, according to Princeton Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Brent Denbo.
Denbo told the Princeton Parks and Recreation board Monday night that the energy-efficient lighting (and a timer) should be installed this week.
He told them last month that he hoped it would be done in a matter of days, but equipment malfunctions and coordinating with the utility company have delayed the work. "I've taken a beating on Facebook," he told the board, reporting that the city's bucket truck lift broke down more than once, leaving the installer in the air for about 37 minutes on one occasion.
"Coordinating this project was a nightmare," he admitted. Denbo said he spent $250 to rent a man lift and expected to get back to the job at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
He also reported that the basketball court at Lafayette Park would be sealed, coated, painted and striped when the weather turns drier.
Organization of the Aug. 3 city Backpack Bash is in full swing, he reported, with volunteers hoping to give away 300 backpacks filled with school supplies, while they last, to Princeton students.
Denbo said prep work is underway for construction of new bathroom facilities at South Side Park. Park neighbors Mitch and Vicki McClellan asked about prior discussions of installing lights at South Side and Deda Young Kiddie Park, noting that their home is 106 feet from the basketball court at South Side, and they some concerns about how long the lights would be on.
Denbo said the lighting is in preliminary discussion stages. "I thought about that and if we did it, I would certainly knock on doors first" to consult neighbors, he told the McClellans. "We're not going to upset the apple cart on the lights," he promised.
Mitch McClellan said he prefers not to have the lights installed.
He also asked about drainage problems at the park, suggesting a storm sewer and catch basin could help solve some of the problems near the courts at the park.
Parks board member Tracey Wilkerson noted that a sign will be posted at the newly refurbished skate park after the board approves it, and suggested that signs be posted at all the city parks, warning that vandals will be fined.
Wilkerson said some vandalism attempts can be dangerous to children. By enforcing a fine, maybe people will realize the consequences, he suggested.
He also expressed some concern about dog owners allowing their animals to defecate in parks. Wilkerson said one person allowed animals to defecate on a playground area while children were present.
Denbo said his long-range plans for the parks system include a dog park, but he hasn't pinpointed the right location yet.
In his monthly report, Denbo said city crews plan to run some dye at Bicentennial Plaza to determine where water is going. He said the park used 65,000 gallons of water in a month but he can't pinpoint a leak.
He said a new umbrella and slide canopy and equipment for one of the features at the splash park have been installed.
Before the meeting adjourned, Denbo revisited discussion from last month's meeting when he was questioned about whether he was using city mowing equipment to mow his father's yard. Denbo brought photos of his father's mower and the city's mower, told board members they could inspect both of the mowers in the back of his city truck Monday night, and provided his father's 2014 purchase receipt for the mower.
"I didn't feel like it was resolved last month," he said. "I felt like I was ambushed."