Doctors Park is an open green space at the corner of Main and Corner streets in downtown Lodi, with no structures or benches to catch eyes of residents or visitors. The parks committee is still interested in making an addition to the park in the form of an information kiosk. Ideas have been swirling for a kiosk in that area for about five years.

The reason for doing so is because the Ice Age Trail begins its downtown Lodi portion within Doctors Park. The kiosk would map out the trail and show what the surrounding area has to offer. The committee discussed possible kiosk options at its June 1 meeting.

The two main options would be a wooden kiosk or one with metal posts — both of which would contain at least two two-sided panels for maps and information. The wooden kiosk would be similar to what is seen at Lodi High School or at the Ice Age trailhead of the Fern Glen segment located at the intersection of County Highway J and Lovering Road. The metal kiosk could look similar to what is seen at the Merrimac Ferry landing.

In order to help pay for a potential kiosk, WPPI has been offering grants to Lodi, none of which have been offered to the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s local chapter. The grant would be worth $2,000, but Parks member and IATA Lodi Valley Chapter’s volunteer Trail Maintenance Coordinator Bill Welch said that the IATA will chip in money that it saves for projects like this.

“It’s not just what it should be made of, but how do we get the community involved,” Welch said. He wanted a kiosk that showed where certain things are in Lodi, plus possible ad placements from various businesses.

Welch added that with the wooden kiosks being more simplistic, it could be done as an Eagle Scout project for a local student, like the one at LHS and Fern Glen. And with the IATA helping with funds, there is a lot of wiggle room with the project.

“In some way, the sky’s the limit with this,” Welch said.

Committee Chair Mike Goethel asked Welch what he would prefer to do in this situation. Welch said that the wooden kiosk gives more flexibility in how it is presented, while the metal one is more professional and contemporary, but would last forever. The wooden one would need occasional maintenance.

Committee member Rich Stevenson added that the metal-posted kiosk would fit in well with the city’s corridor plan for the downtown area.

Committee member Mike Bilkey was caught in between, seeing the wooden kiosk as too rustic to act as an entrance to downtown, but the metal one seemed a little too modern. Bilkey did favor the metal kiosk.

Newer versions of the wooden kiosk, which can also feature a bench on both sides, have cedar shingles rather than asphalt. The cost could range from $500-$1,000 or more, depending on the size.

The metal kiosk at the Merrimac Ferry cost around $5,500 when it was installed years ago — which features three two-sided panels, one of which is interchangeable to include various information. It was jointly funded by the Ice Age Trail Alliance and its Lodi Valley Chapter as it sits close to an end of the Gibraltar Rock segment.

The committee was in general agreement to put up a kiosk with metal posts. Welch will figure out the costs of the different options.

Discussion on how to improve Spring Creek walls continues

Mike Bilkey gave a brief presentation to his fellow committee members about his ideas on how to address the Spring Creek walls, particularly within Goeres Park.

“The bottom line is that I went there to look at the east bank (the side of the community pool), between the bridges, and there was only one bad spot,” Bilkey said. “Some may see this as a giant project (to repair/replace the walls), but it’s just multiple small projects.”

Recently, a portion of the west bank was repaired for $30,000. The design was similar to what the walls looked like previously.

Bilkey was shocked at how many people fish along the creek at any one time throughout the day. With the one bad spot on the east bank, he proposed a walk down for easier access to the creek. He added that the walls are more in dire need of repair the closer you get to the wastewater treatment plant.

In September, Lodi resident and Interfluve employee Marty Melchoir gave a presentation on how to revitalize the area, which included re-meandering the creek within Goeres Park.

Bilkey thought the only spot that needed re-meandering was closer to the treatment plant. He also noted that the city can work with the DNR and Trout Unlimited on possible future grants to better the creek.

More research will continue to be done to see what small projects can be done in the near future.

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