Council takes up conditions of park fields

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Prompted by requests from organizers of the CoralHead Music Festival and the Marathon Seafood Festival, the Marathon City Council spent some time discussing field conditions at Marathon City Park. The fields get plenty of use, whether it’s by soccer players wearing cleats, sandal-clad crowds at the Seafood Festival, or all the attending vendors who set up for those events, plus others like the Celtic Festival held just recently.

Every few years, the City of Marathon has been replacing the sod at a cost of up to $200,000. The timing is also an element — staff recommends waiting until after the Relay for Life event in late March to do the work, as the grass needs time to acclimate before heavy use resumes.

Councilman Dan Zieg asked whether event organizers should pay a portion of the cost to re-sod, or put down deposits to cover damage.

“How do we mitigate that damage in the future? Regardless of what — cleats or truck — it’s gong to cause some damage,” said City Manager Chuck Lindsey. “Do we recoup the costs at the time of the event, or do we agree to re-sod the field every so many years?”

Lindsey noted that while the Marathon Seafood Festival attracts the largest crowds and the most vendors, the organizers also voluntarily make a donation to the city from its proceeds. Lindsey also noted that while there has been much discussion about irrigation systems that would use recycled water, there is no variety of grass that is hearty enough that can also that type of water quality.

In other news:

  • The council made more amendments to its “Temporary Placement Permits.” Permits for trailers in use after a disaster, such as a hurricane, will be allowed for 18 months after the declaration of an emergency. After that time period, residents can apply for an extension to the city manager if they have demonstrated a hardship and efforts to obtain the right permits and funding. There will also be a way for those who are denied to make an appeal.
  • Beginning in February, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority will install new water mains along Sombrero Beach Road as far as Marathon High School. There will be lane closures during the project, but city staff said they will make the contractors aware of the heavy traffic periods at the beginning and end of the school day.
  • The bids received for the bike path along Aviation Boulevard came in too high. The project specifications are being changed to reflect different lighting standards, and will be rebid.
  • The City of Marathon is researching the cost of installing parking meters at The Quay and 33rd Street boat ramps for boat trailer parking.

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