The first phase of improvements planned for Waupaca’s South Park is now within its budget, following a redesign of the project’s shelter.
“I’m glad that we’re within budget, and we’re moving forward,” Mayor Brian Smith said.
He made the comment during the July 16 meeting of the Common Council, after City Administrator Henry Veleker presented an update about the project.
Veleker described the first effort the council saw in June as a “lovely approach” and a “pretty significant structure.”
He was referring to the design of the 4,860-square-foot, open air pavilion which featured a V-shaped approach for its two wings and elaborate roof.
“Unfortunately, it was extravagant for the budget,” Veleker said.
When MSA Professional Services, the city’s consultant on the project, presented the intital Phase I design to the council on June 18, it estimated the cost at $907,000.
That was about $300,000 over the original Phase I budget of $619,000.
The budget for the first phase is now about $60,000 higher than that figure.
Since the city’s initial budget estimate, the amount of the Wisconsin Stewardship Grant the city is receiving increased.
The city expected to receive a $309,500 grant and is instead receiving a $339,148 grant.
It has to match the grant and is doing so with $230,000 in private donations and a donation of city land valued at $59,295. The remaining balance of $49,853 is being covered by city in-kind labor and materials.
This means the budget for Phase I is now $678,296.
“We believe we will be well within budget,” Veleker told the council.
The new design of the pavilion still includes two wings.
However, it is more linear instead of having the V-shaped design.
“It’s a more systematic approach. We were actually able to add additional stalls in the men’s and women’s bathrooms,” Veleker said.
The proposal calls for a total of four stalls and two sinks in the women’s bathroom and two stalls, two urinals and two sinks in the men’s bathroom.
In addition to restrooms, the building includes a kitchen serving area.
The total square footage of the building is about 2,500, which Veleker said is about the same square footage as the old building.
“But it’s more functional with the serving area and bathrooms included,” he said.
The old shelter did not have restrooms.
As MSA Professional Services refines the estimates, Veleker said he is “hopeful we will be able to grow that (size of the shelter) a little bit.”
The redesign of Phase I will not add additional costs to the contract with the consultant.
“One of the reasons they were selected is they had a lot of hours for the design phase,” Veleker said.
At last week’s council meeting, he told the council the city also wants to act as the project manager, as a way to keep the project within budget.
Doing so could save the city about $50,000, Veleker said.
“We believe we can break the project up to maybe eight or ten bid packages,” he said. “Then we would act as the general contractor.”
Another benefit of handling the project this way is a number of local companies could bid on various parts of the project, Veleker said.
When the council meets on Tuesday, Aug. 6, city staff will be asking permission to bid the project, with bids then scheduled to be awarded during the council’s Sept. 17 meeting.
“We anticipate starting construction this fall. It will push completion back until June,” he said.
The project was expected to be completed by the end of May. That was based on it going out to bid this month.
Veleker told the council that with the redesign, there will be funds for new playground equipment, as well as for lights and furniture.
The first phase of improvements for South Park includes a new pavilion, new playground equipment, picnic tables, waste and recycling bins, utilities, lighting and a fishing pier on Shadow Lake, across from Bowersox Park.
The city has discussed seeking a separate grant for the fishing pier part of the project.
“We also hope we can accomplish the alternate bid package of the terrace,” Veleker said.
The design presented to the council in June included a series of patios, leading from the pavilion to Shadow Lake.
The terrace was not part of the original proposal.
The other improvements were included in the the first phase of the overall four-phase project. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $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 committed to donating $500,000 over the course of five years for the project.