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Hatfield Regional Park project delayed for a year

Plans for major progress at Hatfield Lake Regional Park this summer were put on hold for another year after a mix up with the required work permits.

Members of the 229th Horizontal Engineer Company in Platteville were scheduled to visit New Richmond in June to excavate about 40-50 acres at the park. The work, which would be training for the unit, was estimated to save the city about $500,000-$600,000 for the grading.

"They had a March 31 deadline for finalizing all the permits," said Dave Mehls, site manager. "They never notified us of that so although we've been working on permits and getting them ready for June, they weren't done by the end of March."

This is the second summer that a Guard unit was supposed to come work on the park. Now Mehls has his fingers crossed for 2011.

City officials have tried to get a National Guard unit to do the work since 2006; however, between deployments, other projects and now problems with the work permits, nothing has ever lined up.

"It's very unfortunate," Mehls said. "A bad set of circumstances."

The roughly 100 soldiers were scheduled to begin excavating the area directly north of the already finished soccer fields and continue north.

The engineer company would have brought its own equipment and manpower, leaving the city to pay for just fuel costs, engineering costs and additional expenses like seeding.

Those costs are estimated at about $150,000, Mehls has said. About $100,000 has already been pledged by the park land dedication fund and New Richmond Area Youth Sports Association, Mehls said. Plans are in the works to raise the remaining $50,000 through local grants, events and cost sharing with neighboring municipalities.