Community thanks National Guard soldiers for their helpThe New Richmond City Council on Monday extended an official thank you to National Guard troops on behalf of the community.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
The New Richmond City Council on Monday extended an official thank you to National Guard troops on behalf of the community.
The soldiers from the 229th Horizontal Engineer Company of Platteville have been helping the community since June 6, working on a grading project at Hatfield Lake Regional Park.
The Platteville unit, along with support soldiers from other Wisconsin National Guard units, agreed to work on the project as part of its annual summer training. As a result, New Richmond saved thousands of dollars when compared to what the grading would have cost if a contractor was hired.
“Thank you guys for the work that you’ve done,” Mayor Fred Horne told the unit’s representatives.
The grading was supposed to encompass some 40 acres of undeveloped land, but heavy rains over eight days in June delayed the progress of the project, said Dave Mehls, site manager and parks department employee.
“We had 16 good working days out of a possible 24,” he told the council at its meeting Monday.
As a result, only about 13.5 acres of grading was completed by the soldiers. The troops returned last weekend and worked through Tuesday to finish up more of the project. The unit plans to return to New Richmond from Aug. 6-11 to wrap up their assignment.
Despite the weather challenges, 229th Company Commander Cpt. Jesse Augustine said the unit appreciated the chance to train and help the community.
“It’s not very often that Army engineer units get to do real world, real life projects,” Augustine said. “This was probably one of the best training opportunities we’ve had probably in the last decade.”
During the unit’s stay in New Richmond, two new soccer fields, a 165-stall parking lot, a connecting roadway and a sand volleyball court were completed.
Total cost to the city was about $92,530, which included about $52,000 for fuel.
Augustine said the support the soldiers received over the course of the project was heartwarming. Meals were provided, laundry services were paid for and drinks were offered.
“We’d love to come back if the opportunity presents itself,” he said. Augustine mentioned that the unit may be available to return to New Richmond in the summer of 2015, and “finish what we’ve started.”