Sudbury business owner concerned about 'deteriorating' city hall

A taxpayer in Sudbury is questioning civic pride at city hall.

Tony Monteleone, a downtown business owner, was referring to the area outside Tom Davies Square, which is visibly damaged. No barricade is in place to secure the area, although there are barricades in front of two damaged walkways.

"The mayor has spent millions of dollars on this piazza for what and for who?" Monteleone said.

"It's not being used properly and it's just deteriorating."

The grounds surrounding Tom Davies Square and the provincial building are overgrown and it appears the grass hasn't been cut. The flowerbeds have not been planted and are overgrown with weeds.

"It's an absolute disgrace. And I see no civic pride whatsoever," said Monteleone.

CTV News asked the mayor's office for an interview, but our request was forwarded to the communications department instead. The communications department said no one was available for an interview until next week, but did send a lengthy statement.

The full statement can be read at the bottom of this story, but it said part of the problem is related to the warming station, which closed May 31.

"Traffic in the area was heavy up until that point," the statement said.

"Since it closed, maintenance staff have been assessing the area both in and outside of the building in order to devise a scope of work for a contractor."

In the past couple of years, the city said staff have placed caution tape or cones in areas that need repair, but they are often removed at night.

"Staff were to reinstate them (Wednesday)," the statement said.

"Also, the grass has been cut with the exception of the slope near the stage."

Weeding is performed annually "and will be done in the next month."

"The walkway is barricaded as a result of damage sustained over the course of the winter and operation of the warming shelter," the statement said.

"The restoration of this area forms part of a larger project that will also see repairs made to the interior of the former warming shelter as well as permanent repairs to the stage."

For his part, Monteleone said he's deeply concerned about the aesthetics of city hall and the impression it leaves with people.

"And you know what they are going to say, they are going to say no thank you. We are not going to settle here and we are not going to bring business here if you can't keep your own city hall in better shape, what are you going to do with the rest of the city," said Monteleone.

Late Wednesday afternoon a barricade was put up around the stage area in the inner courtyard.

Here's the unedited statement from the city:

"The warming centre officially closed on May 31, and traffic in the area was heavy up until that point. Since it closed, maintenance staff have been assessing the area both in and outside of the building in order to devise a scope of work for a contractor. Over the last couple of years, Maintenance staff have consistently repaired the stage and identified areas in need of repair via the use of caution tape, barricades or cones. Unfortunately, these identifiers are sometimes removed after hours. (Note, staff were to reinstate them today. Also, the grass has been cut with the exception of the slope near the stage, and re the planters, the design calls for a natural vegetation, so weeding is performed annually and will be done in the next month.) The walkway is barricaded as a result of damage sustained over the course of the winter and operation of the warming shelter. The restoration of this area forms part of a larger project that will also see repairs made to the interior of the former warming shelter as well as permanent repairs to the stage.

"The restoration of the grounds at Memorial Park continues. The first phase of work took place throughout May and included removal of damaged turf areas, dethatching/aerating of turf, removal of damaged plant materials, removal of existing playground sand and replacement with engineered wood fiber, removal of damaged wooden decking, as well as trimming/removal of shrubs and trees around the perimeter of the park adjacent to the YMCA building. The second phase of work continues through June and involves top dressing and overseeding of turf areas, new sod installation, replacement of various plantings and adding new mulch. New alternate playground surfacing will be scheduled for completion in the fall. The timing for completion of various restoration tasks is weather dependent. Fencing will be utilized throughout the restoration process to secure and protect various work areas."