Park Hills seeks funding for new swimming pool; recognizes Freedom Flag | Government and Politics

During a work session this week, the Park Hills City Council approved plans with Brockmiller Construction to begin repairs and rehabilitation of the municipal pool and the water treatment plant’s filter system and piping.

The council also passed resolutions proclaiming POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is the third Friday in September, and approved the display of the Freedom Flag each September.

VFW members from Desloge Post 2426, Leadington Post 5741, and Bonne Terre Post 6883 attended Tuesday’s work session to celebrate the council’s approval of the Freedom Flag being flown within the city, reportedly making Park Hills the first city in Missouri to do so.

The Freedom Flag was created by Richard Nicholas Melito on Oct. 25, 2001, as a symbol of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. The red, white, and blue flag features 10 elements that symbolize many aspects of the infamous day in history, including the Twin Towers, the thousands of victims, and all who have died protecting freedom.

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The Freedom Flag will be displayed in Park Hills in September of each year, along with the POW/MIA flag.

Park Hills becomes first MO city to recognize Freedom Flag, approves projects

The plaques given to the VFW are headed to the area VFW District for display, while additional plaques are ordered for the three posts present at Tuesday’s work session.

Ward 1 Councilman Adam Bowers was behind the push to enact these resolutions in remembrance of those lost in the terrorist attacks and at war. The councilman expressed his reverence for the countless brave men and women who have lost their lives protecting the country and its freedoms.

He said that in his eight years serving on the council, proposing these resolutions and their passage would be the crowning moment of his career, which will end this year as he is not seeking re-election.

The council approved work and planning to begin on the rehabilitation projects regarding the city pool and the water filtration system at the city’s water treatment plant.

The city pool committee has been hashing out the pool’s replacement details in the past months. The pool was retired from service this past season after 63 years in operation. The facility had fallen into a state of deterioration and was becoming more expensive for the city to maintain each year.

The committee heard project proposals from three different companies last month, ultimately selecting local company Brockmiller Construction for the design-build project.

The project will hinge on the passing of a bond issue, which the pool committee has named Proposition Swim. The measure will appear on April’s voting ballot, and if approved, will provide $3.5 million for the pool replacement through the sale of General Obligation Bonds.

The pool committee plans to meet on Feb. 15 to begin work on the promotion of the proposition.

Brockmiller Construction has also been contracted to repair and rehabilitate the water plant filter system and piping at the city’s water treatment facility, which has been in disrepair for some time.

The construction contractor will complete the work at the cost of $369,300. Work at the facility is estimated to begin sometime next month.

The council approved a separate project to repair water infrastructure near the Sports Complex. City officials were recently alerted to a leak outputting approximately two gallons of water per minute somewhere in the water lines running underground in the Sports Complex area.

Workers have been unable to find the leak’s location due to the chat that lies under the area. The decision was made to abandon the old water lines, running new lines to the Sports Complex buildings and to a new, repositioned, and more accessible fireplug.

The project will be completed by city crews and cost an estimated $12,505.48 from the city’s General Fund.

The council moved on to discuss the city’s current debt.

City Administrator Mark McFarland said the city is taking care of its debt well. He said the city would be paying off its newest fire truck this year, in September, eliminating an approximate $92,000 per year payment from the General Fund. The fire truck was purchased in 2016 for $615,445.74 and is currently one of the city’s four loans.

McFarland noted that three of the city’s four loans are on track to be paid off by 2024, including a Missouri Transportation Finance Corporation (MTFC) loan of $844,944 used for the Fairgrounds Drive extension project and another MTFC loan in the amount of $529,668 borrowed for a paving project on East Main Street.

Another loan held by the city was for $614,040.53 in 2020, borrowed to purchase 3,100 new radio-read water flow meters. The loan is required to be paid off by 2029, but McFarland said Utilities Director Frank Shovlin hopes to have the balance paid by 2025 by making additional payments.

Park Hills’ most significant debt comes from a $4.3 million Certificate of Participation (COP) which has a balance of $2.8 million remaining. The city made its most recent payment of $369,000 at the beginning of the year.

“This [balance] is actually coming down pretty quick,” McFarland said. “It will be paid off Feb. 1, 2030. That sounds like a long way off, but actually, it’s not that long.”

The COP was used to consolidate several of the city’s previous loans, which included the lease-purchase agreement with US Bank to build the Fairgrounds Drive overpass.

Also included in the COP consolidation is a separate lease-purchase agreement used to buy two new vehicles for the police department, a new truck for the parks and recreation department, and a new rock breaker for the street department.

McFarland explained that the city’s General Fund is currently struggling but noted that some strain would soon be relieved.

He said $415,000 would come out of the fund this year but explained that the General Fund would be fine once these primary debt balances are paid off.

During Tuesday’s work session, the council also:

  • Approved a one-year agreement with 573 Cleaning Solutions LLC for cleaning and janitorial services at the City Hall and Public Library buildings.
  • Approved an agreement for the private operation of the Sports Complex concession stand for two calendar seasons. The contract was awarded to Leann Kelly, who entered a bid of $6,050 for the cost of operations.

Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at [email protected]

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