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Posted on: October 2, 2017

David Braun Park Status Update

The City of Nassau Bay and the Parks & Recreation Committee are as eager as our citizens in getting David Braun Park re-opened. The Parks & Recreation Committee has volunteered to assist in the clean-up to speed up the process, but conditions described below preclude this.
 
The following is a summary of the current situation from Mr. Roscoe Lee, Interim Chairman of the Nassau Bay Parks & Recreation Committee. This information is compiled from City Manager, Jason Reynolds, primarily from his Friday morning coffees and reports to City Council at Council meetings; discussions with Paul Lopez/Director of Public Works; Troy Bradfield, Animal Control Officer; and personal observations. 
 
Howard Ward Park vs David Braun Park: 

  1. Howard Park certainly accumulated a massive amount of debris, but there was no major damage to the Park, itself. Only part of this Park was inundated (corner of Upper Bay Rd and Martinique). Fortunately, the new playground equipment was not impacted.

  2. Shortly after the Harvey rains stopped, Rector Mike Stone of St. Thomas Episcopal Church put out a call for volunteers to help with clean up in the City.  Mr. Lee's understanding was that there had not yet been significant calls for help cleaning out houses, when the volunteers first convened. As a result, a number of the volunteers, led by Councilman Bryce Klug, moved, raked, and bagged the majority of the debris at the Upper Bay Rd and Martinique corner of Howard Ward Park. This was an incredible job that certainly improved the looks and access to the Park. It was well appreciated.

  3. A large tree in the Park at the corner of Vinland and Martinique fell. Neighbors and other volunteers trimmed limbs and branches to clear the walking trail. Public Works (PW) later cut up the large limbs and trunk. Most of this debris has been picked up under the FEMA debris removal process.

  4. This Park was never declared closed and did not suffer the safety risks of David Braun Park (described below). City Staff was fully aware that the playground would be heavily used because of the closure of David Braun Park. It certainly has been heavily used.  

  5. As an aside, Swan Lagoon Park sustained almost no damage or significant debris.  Volunteers raked up small branches and twigs that had accumulated and cut up a large limb that had fallen by the basketball court. This Park was also never closed.

David Braun Park

  1. David Braun Park is in the flood plain and was completely inundated by Harvey. 
     
  2. The Park sustained major damage and accumulation of debris, many times the amount in Howard Ward Park.

    Public Works

    Playground Tennis Courts
  3. Because of infiltration of storm water into the sanitary sewer collection system, there was overflow of raw sewage from the waste-water treatment plant, which creates a major safety risk, which did not apply to Howard Ward Park. When Public Works (PW) began cleaning the Park, they found broken glass and unsheathed injection needles (apparently from insulin injections), which had been thrown into the sanitary sewer system.  Because of these safety risks, the City was not able to accept offers of volunteer help in the Park clean-up and also why the Park is closed.
     
  4. Much of the fencing around the waste-water treatment plant was flattened by the flow of water from the Creek against the fencing with slats. This damage leaves much of the PW building and waste-water treatment plant exposed, when they were previously protected by fencing and gates. The City certainly doesn’t want people wandering around these facilities and equipment.

  5. The playground equipment was inundated, which meant that it was exposed to raw sewage, oils, and other liquids. PW has power-washed it down several times with bleach in attempts to clean and sterilize it. They are looking at how to sterilize the hollow areas in the equipment, which may leak out with future rains. PW is currently removing the mulch which has been contaminated and must be replaced. Paul Lopez continues to coordinate with various government entities to assure that the equipment has been properly sterilized, before it is re-opened for public use.
     
  6. The fencing around the dog park accumulated a large amount of debris. PW has hand raked the debris inside and outside the dog park. They hand-picked the debris off the chain-link fence, which was very time consuming. The “tunnel” in the dog park has come loose due to the water flow and will have to be re-anchored.
     
  7. A water moccasin was killed near the dog park; another was killed in the Park. The City has not had any poisonous water snakes in the Park area, previous to Harvey. The moccasins may have washed down from upstream. Hopefully, this species won’t take up permanent residence.

  8. PW has power washed off several inches of silt and slime off the pavilion floor. This debris has washed into the grass around the pavilion and when it becomes wet, it is really sticky and slippery.
     
  9. The tennis courts were also covered with several inches of muck. The City wants to proceed cautiously with cleaning off the muck in order to not damage the surfaces, which were redone last year at a cost of $15,000. Half of the courts have been hosed off. It was a bit challenging because the flatness of the terrain caused the water to flow back onto the court during the process. Public Works Director Lopez indicated that the poles holding the nets will have to be replaced. There is damage to the fencing around the courts and the wind screens will likely need replacing. Debris on the chain link fence will have to be removed. There is a lot of debris on the “practice” courts.
     
  10. The baseball fields are totally trashed, with a lot of debris along and on the chain link fence. Public Works has done a partial cleaning and a lot of the fencing will be taken down. 
     
  11. There is silt on the boardwalk over Lake Nassau and there is debris in the fencing on the boardwalk.
     
  12.  A telephone pole floated onto the spillway bridge, damaging the railing on the Creek side. The railing will have to be stabilized before the bridge is re-opened.
     
  13. There was some consideration for opening the Park in increments, as clean-up is completed in some sections. However, City Staff decided against this plan for several reasons. First, there is a lot of Public Works vehicle traffic in and out of the Park as Public Works continues their daily work and Harvey clean up. There is a lot of equipment movement within the Park as clean up and repairs continue. Second, it was determined that there was no way to contain people-traffic to “open” parts of the Park and away from areas under work, including the waste-water treatment plant.  Already, many people are reading and ignoring the signs posted at both ends of the Park indicating that the Park is closed to vehicles, foot traffic, bicycles for safety reason as described above. Often, they go into the Park despite verbal warnings.
     
  14. While Public Works is doing an amazing amount of work in cleaning up the Park, they must continue their “normal” duties and continue Harvey clean up in other parts of the City. As an example, some debris from homes had been placed at curbside, in accordance with instructions. Unfortunately, in some cases, the debris is under trees or very near power lines. As a result, these piles are inaccessible to the crane and claw in the debris collection truck. In some cases, Public Works has trimmed the tree limbs that block access and in some rare cases, have helped the resident move the pile of debris, away from the obstruction.
     
  15. The City is making very reasonable progress is getting David Braun Park re-opened. However, there is much more to do. The City is moving as quickly as resources and priorities will permit. 
     
  16. Despite all this damage, the City has decided to proceed with the “fast track” paving of the parking lot in David Braun Park and installation of a 6-foot wide walking trail along the Creek-side, where the solar lights have been installed. Commissioner Jack Mormon has given the City $250,000 for this project and has a contractor available to begin this work in the near future.
 
The Peninsula
 
The Peninsula is currently closed. A week ago, City Staff inspected the Peninsula and found that the walking trail is covered by several inches of muck, which will be extremely slippery when wet. There is a lot of “trash” that has accumulated in areas where there was significant water flow across the peninsula, including vegetative debris. As time permits, the City will scrape the muck off the trail and see if the crushed granite surface survived. 

The Parks & Recreation Committee plans a closer inspection this week to determine the scope of a volunteer clean-up of the trash (not the vegetative debris). The Parks Committee will welcome volunteers to help pick up trash on the Peninsula, which has also been closed. We will make an announcement of the time for this effort, after the inspection is completed.

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