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Lovell: Much in store for RH in 14
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The John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in J.F. Gregory Park is slated for some improvements, including new floors, in 2014. Upgrading other park amenities are also on the citys to-do list for the year, including the 10-year-old restrooms. - photo by Photo courtesy of

Richmond Hill residents can look forward to park improvements, additional sidewalks and groundbreaking on the city’s new wastewater treatment plant in 2014, City Manager Chris Lovell said recently while setting out the city’s goals for the year.

“It’s going to be a busy year for the city and its residents. I think 2014 will be a great year,” Lovell said.

“We have received our permit from the (state) Environmental Protection Division to begin construction of the new wastewater treatment plant. The treatment plant should be under construction by mid-April. The bid packages will go out in mid-January.”

The new plant will cost between $25 million and $28 million and will transition the city from an overland flow-type of wastewater treatment to a mechanical plant.

Also ahead in 2014, Lovell said there will be considerable improvements in the infrastructure in J.F. Gregory Park.

“The interior of the restrooms will be updated. We’re going to repaint, refloor and refurbish them. It will make them much more attractive,” he said.

The restrooms were constructed more than 10 years ago with grant funds obtained by the planning and zoning department.

Likewise, the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in the park will also see improvements.

“The floors will be redone to eliminate the carpet. I’d like to see stained concrete floors in the wetlands center, but no decision has been made,” Lovell said.

The wetlands center was also originally constructed with grant funds.

The 187-acres behind Sterling Creek subdivision that was purchased with grant funds will also see improvements in 2014.

“We’re going to start to turn that land into a passive park area,” he said. “There could be a running area, picnicking facilities and other passive recreational activities.”

The city will also continue its push to install sidewalks where needed, Lovell said.

“We’re developing a sidewalk master plan to show where the needs are greatest,” he said. “I think by the middle of the year we’ll see construction of sidewalks in the Timber Trail and Ford Avenue area to support the new traffic light and also some sidewalks in the Highway 17 and I-95 interchange area.”

Lovell also said there is a possibility that by the end of the year some new residential homes will have radio-read water meters.

This would enable meter readers to drive down the street and get an electronic reading without leaving their vehicles, he said, saving employee time and taxpayer money.

The city’s plan is to convert all water meters in the city in the future, although no timetable for that has been set, Lovell said.

“It’s expensive. All existing meters would have to be converted and it would require new computers and software.”

Read more in the Jan. 4 edition of the News.

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