By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Explaining his request to add a full-time maintenance position, Kevin Dunleavy, director of recreation and facilities, told the City Council Monday that the expansion of municipal amenities has "tipped the scales for our department."
Dunleavy was referring to the Weirs Community Park, Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam Trail, Downtown Riverwalk as well as the Gateway Plaza at the foot of Main Street and the pocket park at the junction of Pleasant Street and Main Street, all of which are tended by the department.
In addition, the department maintains 15 parks, school playing fields, nine cemeteries, five beaches, two libraries, City Hall, the police station and other public spaces around the city while offering some 100 recreational and instructional programs. Dunleavy said "We are seeing more interest in the use of our facilities and we're having difficulty keeping up with what we have to keep up."
City Manager Scott Myers included funding for the maintenance position in his recommended budget, along with $70,000 to replace the department's 1978 tractor and $35,000 to replace its 1998 dump truck.
However, Dunleavy pitched the councilors for $78,000 to reconstruct the tennis courts at Leavitt Park, $15,000 to replace the bleachers at the softball diamond at Memorial Park, $20,000 to construct a sewage disposal system at Bond Beach and and $15,000 for new elements at city playgrounds, all items Myers recommended not to fund.
Dunleavy suggested some or all of these projects could be funded from a non-capital reserve account accrued to repair, replace and reconstruct facilities, which has a current balance of $233,000, of which $60,000 has been designated for replacing windows at City Hall.
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