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Parks ­prep for winter

GLADSTONE — With the first snowfall bringing winter one step closer, the Gladstone Parks and Recreation Department has been moving to winterize its parks and facilities.

Jason Davis, the parks and recreation assistant director, said with snow for the most part holding off in the local area the department has been able to prepare the parks and facilities at a sound pace.

To prepare for the cold winter months, Davis explained one of the steps involves blowing out all of the waterlines at every single building at a Gladstone park.

“We hook a big air compressor up to the lines, then we blow out every single building and every single waterline underground,” he said. “We do that for the campground, the beach, the fish cleaning station, the sports park, the ball field site — we do it for every single building.”

The parks and facilities not intended for winter use are also closed down for the season.

Davis added workers also place every picnic table under the big pavilion so the tables last longer.

Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson said the department also had to winterize areas they don’t normally have to due to the high water levels.

“We’re going to try and dismantle the boardwalk,” she said.

Workers will section off the boardwalk and store it for winter.

“Because if not, then it’s going to get totally destroyed,” she said.

Another additional winterization task for the department included taking out the temporary docks the department had built at the harbor, according to Sanderson.

Christmas lights are placed in certain areas to add festive cheer.

“We put up Christmas lights in the harbor so they look like candy-canes,” Davis said. “And we put lights around the island.”

Preparing the ski hill for its busy season is also a top priority for the department.

“Obviously we prepare the hill, the ski hill for the winter,” Davis said. “We have three snow guns, so we get those all ready for the winter.”

Davis said preparing the hill includes testing equipment and checking waterlines for leaks.

He added, the ski hill has new waterlines for snowmaking purposes.

The ski hill is scheduled to open first Friday of Christmas break.

Although not until December, Davis said another task for preparing for the winter includes making ice for the ice rink.

When it comes to what is in store for the winter months in Gladstone, Sanderson explained there are two main programs — the Gladstone ski hill After School Program and the Cardboard Classics at the ski hill.

The After School Program is a program that encourages students from participating local schools to be active and have fun during the winter months.

For lower cost membership, students can be brought to the ski hill where there will be snacks and tutoring available before the ski hill opens up.

Sanderson said the program will start on Jan. 6.

The Cardboard Classics is a weekend event at the ski hill. It will take place Feb. 7, 8 and 9.

According to Sanderson, Friday Feb. 7, will be the “adult night,” Saturday Feb. 8 will be the actual cardboard classics competition, and Sunday Feb. 9 will be a small ski competition.

She explained the adult night will include music, an ice bar and a bonfire.

Both Davis and Sanderson said they were looking forward to the winter months at the ski hill.

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