NEWMAN - A local park will be getting a makeover, and residents of the southernmost block of Q Street will see improvements coming to their neighborhood.

The Newman City Council recently approved a nearly $230,000 contract for upgrades to Charles Klehn Memorial Park, located at Driskell and Amy, and to replace curb, gutter and sidewalk in the 1500 block of Q street.

The projects are being funded by community development block grant funding.

“The CDBG funds are meant to provide a better living environment for the community. They are located in target areas to serve a portion of the disadvantaged community,” explained Kathryn Reyes, the city’s director of public works. “This projects qualified based on income surveys that were done in those areas.

Klehn Park is in line for several significant improvements.

Outdated playground equipment will be replaced by a new, shaded play structure and a swing set in a second play area, Reyes explained.

The fall surface will be padded with 12 inches of child-safe bark.

Reyes estimated that the existing play equipment has been in place 30 years or longer.

“There are more safety features on the newer structures,” she commented. “They are designed with no sharp corners, and overall are built to be safer right down to the bolts used, which are made a certain way so kids don’t scrape themselves.”

The park project will also include improved access for those with disabilities, Reyes noted.

“There will be an ADA ramp and a sidewalk all the way into the playground,” she said.

While the city has a number of larger community parks, Reyes reflected, maintaining the smaller neighborhood facilities is important to the community. “It is very important to not overlook them,” she said.

Q Street

The Q Street project is also meeting a neighborhood need, Reyes said.

“That block has severely degraded sidewalks and curbs. All the curb, gutters and sidewalks will be replaced, and all the trees will be replaced as well,” she commented.

The contract for the projects was awarded to George Reed, Inc., who was the lowest of six bidders. The bid came in below the engineer’s estimate, she noted, which gives the city a cushion in the event that unexpected costs surface during the course of work.

Reyes said she expects work on that Klehn Park/Q Street project to be under way by the end of July.

Reyes said city may target the neighborhood of Leslie Avenue, Pine Street, Pine Court and Sydney Avenue as its next block grant-funded project. Paving, sidewalks, curb and gutter improvements are under consideration for that area, she said.

“It was broadly identified. Now we are getting into the details of the project and the engineering and design,” Reyes told Mattos Newspapers. “That will tell us what the project will entail and the cost estimates.”

That project could be two to three years into the future, she noted.