By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Magrath had a busy 2019 with a lot of work completed throughout the town, according to Mayor Russ Barnett. “We finished the pool bathrooms. We did the pool renovations last year,” Barnett said, adding the moving of Town Hall was also a big undertaking to the renovation of the old library.
School work, Barnett noted, and the town’s pedestrian tunnel was constructed and opened in 2019 too. “Speed bumps in front of the school was a good move, I believe and the new drop-off zone in front of the school.”
A couple of picnic tables were added to Jubilee Park or the fish pond, Barnett said, and three blocks were based in preparation for pavement – among other things. “We fixed the roof of the ice arena and I’m going to say we’re about 80-90 per cent done the new public bathrooms at Town Square.”
One of the big things for the Town of Magrath was the hiring of a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). “James Suffredine, who started Jan. 3,” said Barnett. “James brings a completely different skill-set of weight. He wants to increase our transparency for the town and more use of the information being out there – minutes and updates. He sees a real importance of us improving that communication with the community.”
As for 2020, Barnett explained, the paving of the three blocks based in preparation for pavement last fall is a big project for the town. “Whether we do that late this fall coming up or early in the spring of 2021 depends on funding.
Barnett added the town is also waiting to see if it will receive a swimming pool grant. “If that grant has gone forward, we’ll be looking at a major swimming pool rebuild.”
There’s also been quite a few citizens involved with a spray park project in town. “That’s going to be an exciting thing for us. That will be a really big deal. That’s a $1.5 million project,” said Barnett.
According to the mayor, 2020 will hopefully be a nice quiet year. “We’ve gone to using more oil on our roads. It almost looks like a pavement. We’ve done about eight blocks or so. We’ve used that in the past, which is much better for dust control and gives residents a better surface to drive on. It’s really helped us, as well.”
Council also held a strategic planning session recently, where those present spent time planning for the town and discussed the town’s assets, strong points and how to build the community and support it. “That information is good, as a council,” Barnett added.
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