Since the 1960s, the Centerville-Washington Park District (CWPD) park maintenance and operations staff has worked out of the same small 8,000 sq. foot building at Activity Center Park. This July, the Park District moved maintenance operations to 354 Congress Park Drive, alleviating cramped conditions in an outdated facility.
Originally, the Park District had consulted an architect to determine how to improve and/or expand the Activity Center Park headquarters facility to accommodate changing park operation needs. After careful consideration of the location and its close proximity to a popular play place, the suggestion to relocate became the most feasible option.
Since the initial construction of the Activity Center Park facility, the park system has doubled in size, making an increase in equipment a necessity. This outdated facility was over-crowded, requiring staff to shuffle trucks, trailers and mowers daily. An estimated 1,800 annual staff hours were being spent just moving equipment. Eliminating time lost on jockeying equipment allows staff to spend more time working in the parks. In addition, lack of space meant equipment was stored outdoors in unfavorable weather conditions. Large deliveries also had great difficulty maneuvering through the tight area to drop off supplies.
After scouting approximately two dozen facilities, the park district discovered August Manufacturing on Congress Park. August Manufacturing had built furniture since 1984, but ceased operations in 2017. CWPD Operations Manager Ken Carter, said “Our search for a building that would enable more operational efficiency and provide long term cost reductions in a central location led us to this facility.” The 20,000 sq. foot building is centrally located within the community. Its location in an industrial park, away from a busy children’s playground, also made it desirable.
The new facility provides enough space for all equipment and vehicles to be stored inside year-round, minimizing the risk of equipment damage. Garage doors on both sides of the building eliminate the need to “jockey” vehicles. Park crews will be able to organize equipment and supplies for easier access. Increased organization provides the capability of systematic staging for the next day’s work, increasing overall efficiency. There are also dumpsters and a fuel tank on site to eliminate extra trips.
The original cost estimate to build a new facility was $5 million. However, the Park District was able to repurpose the existing August Manufacturing building, bringing costs down to $2.4 million. As for the facility at Activity Center Park, the Centerville-Washington Park District will overhaul the old garages into space for community use.