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Work begins at Hatfield Park

Members of the 229th Horizontal Engineer Company in Platteville began working to excavate 40-50 acres of Hatfield Lake Regional Park earlier this week. The project, which could save the city about $440,000 in excavation costs, is being used as part of the unit's training.

Work has begun at Hatfield Regional Park in New Richmond.

About 50 National Guard soldiers rolled into town on Sunday, June 5, to begin the next phase of development at the park.

Dave Mehls, site manager at Hatfield Park, said the Guard started their work at about 10:30 a.m. Monday. The first focus will be on the development of two additional soccer fields, just north of the existing fields. The unit is also digging retention ponds, Mehls said.

The work, which will include the excavation of 40-50 acres at Hatfield Regional Park, is being done as part of the unit's training. The project is expected to save the city about $440,000 in excavation costs.

The current shift of guardsmen from the 229th Horizontal Engineer Company in Platteville will work until June 19, when the second shift arrives. Work is expected to be completed by July 1.

Crews will be working seven days a week, 12 hours a day on the project. The unit provides manpower and its own equipment. The city must provide about $150,000 to pay for fuel.

The excavating project was scheduled to be completed last year, but because of problems with Department of Natural Resources permits, the project was pushed back a year.

The soldiers are being housed at New Richmond's National Guard Armory while they're in town. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Youth Sports Association are providing lunches while the soldiers are in town.

A community appreciation day is still being planned for Saturday, June 18, Mehls said. The day coincides with the guard unit's morale, welfare and recreation day and is geared toward young kids and families, he said. A pancake breakfast is planned for Saturday from 8-11 a.m.; carnival-type events and various speakers are scheduled between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and an afternoon of games -- wiffle ball, softball, kickball, volleyball, etc. -- is being organized.

"Those games will be between the soldiers and anyone from the community who wants to participate," Mehls said.

The pancake breakfast will also serve as a fundraiser for the project. Cost for the meal is $5 for adults, $3 for children and kids 3 and younger eat free.

Because heavy equipment will be using the road and the trucks will be entering and exiting the park from County Road CC, motorists are urged to drive with caution in that area.

In addition to the 40-50 acre project, the park also houses several soccer fields. The plan is to add baseball, softball and additional soccer fields, which will be available for use by youth and adult athletes.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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