You see and hear a lot about Parker’s Public Works Department. They seem to always be doing something, whether it be making repairs to the parks or maintaining the streets. Public Works Director Steve Ziegler said it’s their job to maintain the town’s infrastructure and improve the quality of life for town residents.
Ziegler said this means making sure town residents and visitors have parks that are safe and clean, good streets to drive on, safe water to drink, a cemetery that’s pleasant to visit and pleasant and efficient town buildings for them to come into.
In addition, public works employees are also considered first responders. They often assist the police and fire departments with traffic control on accident scenes, fires or other emergencies. They also patrol the streets during storms to set up barricades for flooding and to make sure the drains are working properly.
“They can do anything and everything,” Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said. “They keep our parks clean and our buildings up to date. They also help the police department.”
According to Ziegler, one of the reasons why the department is able to accomplish so much is because of their dedicated and hard-working employees.
Zeigler said much of their work involves repairs, including electrical and plumbing repairs. They also have a lot of equipment to maintain in the parks, including the playgrounds. He said one of the town’s goals is to get more public use out of the parks.
The Public Works Department makes recommendations for improvements and repairs to the Town Council, which then approves the work. Ziegler said the department depends a lot on the Streets & Traffic and Parks & Recreation Committees for input, as well as input from citizens.
“These committees are very pro-active,” Ziegler said. “We have a great group of volunteers on those committees.”
Zeigler said there is a lot of community involvement with the town.
One of the biggest projects the Public Works Department is currently involved with is the new building for the Parker Magistrate Court. In July, bids on remodeling the building on Arizona Avenue came back at more than double what the town had budgeted for the project this current fiscal year ($150,000). Ziegler said the scope of the project had been changed and the completion time extended in an effort to bring the costs down.
Among the projects in the near future for the department are street repairs near the end of the year and into the early part of 2020. They are also planning to install new lighting at the volleyball courts at Western Park.
Ziegler said the biggest thing they do is maintain the town’s water system.
“Water is the most important thing to everyone,” he said. “We take it very seriously.”
The water system consists of miles of lines and hundreds of valves, Ziegler said. One of the goals is to bring in up-to-date monitoring systems and controls.
As an example, he cited a new alert system that will let the department know by telephone of water leaks or line breaks in Parker South. This was purchased after a weekend water line break wasn’t detected until the Monday following the weekend. With the new system, Ziegler said they’d be able to respond to such breaks right away.
One of the department’s goals is to find cost-effective solutions to problems, and to make the town more efficient.
Ziegler was hired as Public Works Supervisor in 2013 by then-Public Works Director Tim Edwards. He was named Interim Public Works Director following Edwards’ death in April 2016. He was Public Works Supervisor during the 11 months in 2017 that Aric Stewart was Public Works Director, and then became Public Works Director again when Stewart was dismissed.
“I enjoy what I do,” Ziegler said. “It’s a big responsibility. I work for the people.”
Ziegler gave full credit for the department’s success to the staff, or what he called “the team.”
“The team is hard-working and dedicated,” he said. “All the credit goes to them. I couldn’t do anything without the team.”
If people have any questions relating to public works, Ziegler said they should call Town Hall at 928-669-9265. They can also attend the meetings of the Parks & Recreation and Streets & Traffic committees. They are listed on the town’s website.