Waupaca city staff is reviewing the preliminary design for improvements at South Park after its cost estimate came in higher than the budget.
The design was presented to Waupaca’s Common Council Tuesday, June 18.
MSA Professional Services, the city’s consultant on the project, estimated the cost for this first phase of the project at $907,000.
That compares to the budget of $619,000.
“Staff met this morning (Monday, June 24). We have to fit the project to the budget,” City Administrator Henry Veleker said.
A second meeting was scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 between city staff and Mayor Brian Smith to discuss the draft.
These improvements are the first part of an overall four-phase project, with the projected cost of the entire project being $1.5 million.
The cost of the overall park project is to be covered by grants, private donations and through in-kind labor and materials from the city, as well as a land donation.
Community members are donating more than $500,000 over the course of five years for the project.
The city received a $309,500 Wisconsin Stewardship Grant to go toward the first phase and is now seeking a second DNR Stewardship Grant of $75,023 to go toward the second phase.
Initially, the first phase of the project included the construction of a new shelter and bathroom facility, new playground equipment, picnic tables, waste and recycling bins, utilities, lighting and a fishing pier on Shadow Lake, across from Bowersox Park.
The proposal presented last week included the construction of a new shelter and bathroom facility, a series of patios, site utilities and a landscaping allowance.
A 4,870-square foot, open air pavilion with restrooms and a small catering kitchen is proposed to be built, facing toward Shadow Lake.
The restrooms and catering kitchen comprises 734 square feet.
The park’s old shelter was 2,380 square feet.
It had no restroom facilities or established kitchen/catering area.
That shelter was torn down in the spring.
Veleker said the old shelter was not large enough to accommodate a number of events.
After the budget was established for the first phase of park improvements, there were discussions about that fact, and the decision was made to increase the size of the new shelter.
As city staff reviews the design, Veleker said there is some thought about repositioning the location of the pavilion – shifting it west toward the Hutchinson House.
“Then, that would eliminate some significant sewer work, which would save tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.
The pavilion is currently proposed to be constructed on part of the access road, off of the parking lot, and on the hill overlooking Shadow Lake.
“The current access road would go right through the middle of it. We would move the access road,” Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson told the council.
There are restrooms off the access road which leads to the beach house, and those restrooms remain in the park as part of the plan.
“One compromise would be to take the restroom part out of the (proposed) shelter,” Veleker said.
Instead, some funds could be put into renovating the current restoom building, he said.
Carter Arndt, MSA’s architect for the project, told the council the design also includes a series of patios leading down to Shadow Lake “to maximize the area for gatherings and for a beautiful setting overlooking the lake.”
Veleker said the idea is to create an outdoor area with a view of Shadow Lake.
The patio area could be used for outdoor weddings, with the pavilion then used for receptions.
“Will the budget allow it? We don’t know,” Veleker said.
The city could keep the patios in the budget and decide whether or not to do that part of the project after the project is bid, he said.
Delaying the patio work would save $90,000 to $100,000, he said.
“If it was up to me, I’d find a way to scale back the pavilion, so we can get it all done,” Smith said of the project.
Last week, Veleker told the council there is a grant program for fishing piers. The city could pursue that grant for the fishing pier by Bowersox Park.
Smith said it was a mistake to intially propose the new shelter be the same size as the old shelter.
He wants to see new playground equipment be included in the design as originally planned.
“When we wanted to replace the playground and it’s not in the project, we have to kind of rethink what we’re doing,” Veleker said.
Thus far, the project is scheduled to go out for bids on July 11. Bids would be due on Aug. 1 and would then go before the council on Aug. 20.
Arndt told the council the goal is to start construction next fall and complete it in the spring.
“By this time next year, the building will be done, and you can begin using it,” he said.
The proposed pavilion would have two wings.
Arndt said each wing would seat up to 140 people.
“You can use it all at once or one half,” he said.
Veleker said city staff will continue to work on the financial projection before the project goes out to bid.
Options will be considered, and he believes it will still go out for bids by the end of July.
“I’m very excited about the South Park project. We’ll work through these issues. We will have a nice project everyone will be proud of,” Veleker said.