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Public Works officials OK funds for new equipment at Rice Park

WILLMAR -- The city Public Works Department will be installing new playground equipment at Rice Park in Willmar.

The new equipment for ages 5-12 will be installed this fall and will replace worn and unsafe wooden equipment that had been in place since the mid-1970s, according to Mel Odens, public works director.

Odens received approval Tuesday afternoon from the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee to buy new equipment worth $27,293 from Clearwater Recreation of Waconia. The committee's action is a recommendation that will be considered by the council on Monday night.

The 2008 capital outlay budget included $30,000 for an upgrade of park equipment in 2008. The old Rice Park equipment has been removed and the site has been prepared, Odens said.

"We try to do a unit a year somewhere in the city,'' he said.

In other action, Odens reported on the Aug. 14 kickoff meeting of city, county and state transportation officials to discuss possible safety improvement options at the intersection of Business 71/23, County Road 23 and state Highway 294, in northeast Willmar near the Health & Human Services Building.

Two more meetings to discuss and narrow the options for the intersection will be on Sept. 25 and in October. A report on the final selection and feasibility report will be presented in November.

The committee also approved a request from the Municipal Utilities to close Pacific Avenue Southwest between Seventh and Eighth streets from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31 during daytime hours to allow for maintenance at the power plant coal silos.