Benton Township trustees approve new picnic tables, mower

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — With a few purchases approved Tuesday night it appears Benton Township trustees are looking to increase the draw of River Park.

After two picnic tables were stolen in June, Treasurer Debbie Boothby and Public Works Supervisor Andrew Jordan proposed buying six new concrete tables ‒ which are said to be harder to steal and more aesthetically pleasing.

“We’re looking to replace the tables that were taken with a more vandal-proof type table,” said Supervisor Kevin White. “The pavilions are very popular for parties and family reunions. This will help to make them more accessible and comfortable for the residents.”

The total price of the tables, which includes shipping, is $6,980. The 550-pound tables will be paid for through the township’s equipment replacement fund.

By approving to replace all six instead of the two missing, all upper pavilion tables will meet Americans With Disabilities Acts standards. The wooden tables that have become warped will be thrown out, while the current upper level tables will be relocated to the lower pavilion and secured to concrete.

Bootby said estimated delivery for the tables will be four weeks.

“We have found when more people are using the park, the less vandalism we have,” Bootby said. “If no one’s down there, people are more likely to do things they shouldn’t.”

A new mower

Jordan lobbied for trustees to allow the township to buy a zero-turn mower, which would save the township money in staff and time with maintenance of the park and other township-owned lots.

Of the three bids available, the township will buy the HFS Tractor Kubota for $12,750. Bids ranged between $12,700 and $14,100. Jordan told trustees the township was given government pricing for the mowers and that the Kubota would have cost $16,000.

The township’s mower fleet is aging, as its newest mower dates to 1997. The oldest mower still in use was bought in the 1960s. Jordan said if maintained well, the new mower should last 20 to 25 years.

“The Kubota is a good piece of equipment, and I think it should do fine for what we need to do at the park,” he said. “It will be nice to see how the zero turn works. They say you can mow between five and eight acres an hour.”

Bootby said the purchases were important as there has been a significant increase in the use of River Park.

“The park has gotten really popular,” Bootby said. “We’re the home field for Jaier Soccer now. We have received great feedback from the organization and the parents of the players as to the great facility and location of the park.”

The township has played host to the Whirlpool Flag Football League for years, and is also in talks with an organization to have an 18-hole disc golf course built at River Park.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@thehp.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 19, 2015)

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