Picnic tables

The City of Bluefield’s public work employees work to craft new picnic tables for Bluefield City Park on Thursday.

BLUEFIELD — As more places in the community start to open back up, the City of Bluefield wants to make sure they are ready, with improvements done around Bluefield City Park.

One of the bigger improvement projects that the public works department has been working on is making reliable picnic tables to replace some the aged tables that have been utilized for years.

Public works employee Jonathan Perdue, who organized the project, said they had four employees working on picnic tables each day.

“We try to keep everything in-house,” Perdue said. “We try to be a jack of all trades so do anything we can save a penny on, and we can make more durable than what you can buy at the store.”

Twenty new tables were built with a few of them made to be wheelchair accessible.

The process of making these tables proved to be more difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Materials were very short,” he said. “It was a lot more labor intensive to build them because we had to buy lumber that was not correct on what we needed.”

Although the lumber wasn’t correct ,the project still stayed on course and was finished Friday with no delay.

“It caused us to do more labor but it didn’t hold us back,” he said.

The tables are made with a lot of complex angles. The department created a template to follow so each table would come out the same way.

With reunions and family gatherings being rescheduled, Charles Ridlehuber, parks and recreation director, says they wanted to improve the park while it was closed.

“We’ve been painting the shelters and the bathrooms and making improvements throughout the park and that’s one of the things that make a positive experience for the user,” he said.

Ridlehuber said the public works department has craftsmen who are really good at what they do.

“It’s a custom table that they were able to build and it’s better than what you would be able to buy from a distributor.”

The park plans to reopen the second week of June “because the park is in Virginia and the target date for opening is June 10th,” he said. “We have had to reschedule shelter rentals that were made before that date.”

— Contact Jessica Nuzzo at jnuzzo@bdtonline.com

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