New gator to be used for cemetery & plant watering

St. Louis City Council approved the purchase of a new John Deere crossover utility vehicle, a.k.a. gator, Tuesday to replace one that has been in service for 14 years.

2011-John-Deere-Gator-XUV-825i-5“The old gator has been on our replacement list for several years,” said DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott in an email. “The gator is based at the cemetery and used every day in the summer by the grounds maintenance crew and water department employees to do graves. It is also used to haul cement to the foundations for headstones.”

The new gator will be used for all that, plus to haul a 300-gallon water tank around town to water plants.

The gator will be purchased from Bader and Sons for $16,600 with a $3,000 trade-in credit for the city’s old gator. The city will also buy the water tank and trailer from Bader and Sons for $5,000.

“The new gator will be used for watering after normal business hours so it is does not interrupt the day employees in their work,” Abbott said.

The new watering tank replaces a jerry-rigged apparatus that came out of a fire department grass fire pickup that was donated to the city years ago. When the fire department was done with it, DPW personnel rehabbed the pump and put it in an old trailer and used it for years.

Abbott estimates that the original pump and tank were from the early 1960s. “The new water trailer is heavily constructed to do the work we need it to do and will be much safer for our employees,” he said. “We will also use it for back up fire protection when we burn the brush pile.”

Abbott continued: “John Deere offers municipalities a very nice discount that is the same at every dealer, so there is no need to obtain competitive quotes from several dealers. We have always been very judicious in our equipment purchases and put a lot of time into investigating them prior to purchase. It has paid great dividends in saving dollars, man hours and repair labor over the old ‘duct tape and binder twine’ method of keeping things going.”

Leppien Park deck repair

In other news, city council approved a $7,000 contract with C&D Builders of St. Louis for repair of a riverside deck at Leppien Park.

Leppien DeckFreed Construction bid lower at $6,408, but DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott was uneasy about Freed’s plan to remove two vertical pillars in center of deck and depend on 2×12 boards spanning the length of the deck to hold up anyone who stands on deck.

Conversely, C&D plans to replace all the pillars. “I feel better about C&D’s structure repairs,” Abbott said.

C&D has promised to have the work finished before May 19, when a wedding party hopes to use the deck for photographs.


Mayor Jim Kelly, Vice Mayor Melissa Allen, council members George Kubin and Tom Reed were present. Councilman Jerry Church was absent.


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