Speaking for the volunteers of Raymond Riverfront Public Pier, resident Denny Porter brought to the attention of the council the continued deterioration of the pier and associated amphitheatre.
Porter is one volunteer who has seen and labored during the re-building of the pier after its initial development, and now is witnessing the area falling to the power of Mother Nature once again.
"I painted a yellow stripe along a piece of the pier that is now exposed…to help people see it and not trip over it," said Porter.
In his estimation the pier/dock has shifted an additional four inches and is quickly becoming a safety hazard. Coupled with the poor lighting, it is an accident waiting to happen.
Porter recalled a man who had tripped over the now "step-up" that has been created from the shifting and painted the curb caution yellow when a wedding was scheduled. Another resident recalls that a woman in a wheel chair had complained about the condition of the area that additionally noted that she would not return, as she could not maneuver her chair safely.
Porter continued to advise that the area had been documented, by photographs and notes, and was forwarded to the council. Raymond Public Works Director, Dean Parsons, speaking on behalf of the council said that the information had not been brought to his attention. And the lights would get immediate attention.
"The pier area was built by a grant several years ago," explained Parsons in a conversation after the meeting, "What people do not understand is that with grants you only get the money to create something, like the pier. What is not covered is the expense of the on-going maintenance."
Looking at the area one can see that pressure by shifting is very apparent with cracking brickwork, concrete separation along pathways and the on going shifting between the pier and riverbank amphitheatre area.
"People do use the area, I have seen weddings, concerts and tourists utilizing the pier and pathways. It is really starting to get frustrating that the city is not paying more attention to its condition," said Porter, "But I will add that it is usually well maintained as far as mowing in the summer months. The one guy doing the work has a lot do in the summer, and I understand that."
With priorities more in the way of city streets, just as important, the city did approve work to be done on Commercial Street to resurface the street and curb work along a 2-3-block area.
Parsons also commented on the fact that work has to be prioritized and that areas that are more utilized by the public will be at the top of the list, pushing the street work to the top of the list. Both Parsons and Mayor Bob Jungar advised Mr. Porter that they would look deeper into the issues at the park and associated lights both along the pier and the entrance, Veterans Park.
After the public comment the meeting turned to the approval of 2014 city budget a budget amendment and contracts for EDC, EMS and Fire District 15, all approved. The amendment shifted a few funds from the general fund into the Parks and Recreation budget to cover a shortfall.
The appointment of Judge Mike Turner was made with small changes to the wording and the dollar amount agreed upon within the contract, copied from a previous contract. The dollar amount was changed from $750 as written to $775 as agreed.
When the city departments made their reports, Police Chief Chuck Spoor gave a cheerful report about the "Shop with a Cop" event that turned out to be a spectacular day for all the children and police involved. He additionally gave a special Thank-You to the Elks club and Dennis Company for their donations, which provided the 20 kids a $100 gift card to shop with.
Director Parsons was the only other department head that had anything to report as he stepped through a couple of change orders needed for the Waste Water plant and the percentage of cost to each Raymond and South Bend for the shared facility. Based on estimates the breakdown showed Raymond and 28 percent and South Bend at 72 percent and was moving forward with notification to the city of South Bend.
The largest impact was another change order required for the plant. The current cost of working at the plant was at an estimated $835,000 with the 15th change order added in.
Resident John Dunsmoor spoke up during this time when the council asked for any additional comments and noted his disappointment in the cost of the project and issues that have been found.
Parsons advised that if the change order was not granted, the possibility of additional cost could get very expensive for the city.
Realizing that the change order had to move forward, the council voted 2-1 in passing it.
Mayor Jungar reported that $730,000 would be used for the Commercial Street repairs and that the city would need to put forth five percent of the cost, which had already been accounted for and that work is scheduled for the late spring or early summer.
The council moved into an executive session to discuss labor contracts and came out to approve a six percent increase over three years, at two percent every year, for the police and fire unions.
Raymond City Council will meet again after the New Year on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.