Hatten Park wall tumbling down
New London legacy needs repair
By Robert Cloud
A crumbling stone wall around Hatten Park in New London could cost nearly $2 million to repair just half of it.
The condition of the wall and its repair costs were discussed at the July 6 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
“I’ve been notified that the wall is deteriorating and it looks like garbage,” Mayor Mark Herter said. “Some people threw out some suggestions and they wanted to talk about it or us to talk about it, what we could do to maybe fix it, remove it or any other ideas.”
City Administrator Chad Hoerth said McMahon, an engineering and architectural firm based in Neenah, examined the wall in 2018.
They found that the wall did not have a foundation in some areas and during the freeze and thaw cycles, the ground shifted, causing the wall to buckle in places.
McMahon provided cost estimates for three options in October 2018.
The options ranged in price from $46,000 to $34,000, per 100 feet of wall.
The wall surrounds nearly 120 acres, which has a perimeter of about 1.5 miles.
Ald. John Faucher estimated that 45 sections of wall, about half of its total length, would cost the city $1.98 million to rebuild.
“I don’t see it happening,” he said.
“Put his out there to the public,” said Ald. Robert Besaw, suggesting the city either hold a referendum of a public informational meeting. “Do you want to do your roads or do you want to do the wall for the park?”
Other members of the committee noted that a referendum was a yes or no question, while a public forum would give the community an opportunity to discuss the options.
Among the options are to use the existing stones to repair the wall in order to keep its historical look, remove the wall or to allow it continue in its present deteriorating state.
Other options include to repair the wall in sections, spreading the work out over several years, and beginning with the most visible sections of the wall.
Hoerth explained the wall’s historical significance.
It was build in the mid-1930s as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The WPA project employed about 40 men in New London during the Great Depression.
The committee agreed to schedule a public forum regarding the wall in September at the Washington Center.