City to hire contractor to work on Thompson Park trails

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WATERTOWN — With spring just about here, it’s about that time for improvement work to begin again on the trail system in Thompson Park.

The city will look at a two-pronged approach this year.

In the past, volunteers have used tools to remove brush by hand to widen trails and reopen underutilized portions of the city-owned park.

The Friends of Thompson Park, a group of park enthusiasts, have overseen the work.

For the first time, the city plans to hire a contractor to do some of the work. On Monday night, the City Council informally agreed to set aside $50,000 for a contractor to bring in a specially equipped skid-steer loader, such as a Bobcat, to clean out the brush and crush the material into wood chips.

“You can get a lot more done,” City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said.

Last summer, GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying lent a loader to do the work. A Black River company then removed the brush.

It came at a good time because he city had problems finding seasonal help to work in the park and on the trails, Mr. Mix said, so he thinks it is a better idea to bring in a contractor.

“We were impressed with what got done,” Mr. Mix said, adding that the loader is able to make the trails wider. “It was more efficient than doing by hand.”

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