The city of New London public works, and parks and recreation committees held a joint meeting last Tuesday, Jan. 6 to discuss engineering and construction plans for the future city garage.
Kelly Claflin, project manager for Keller, Inc. presented a tentative timeline, and answered specific questions about the project, which will be done in two phases.
The first phase of the project includes site grading and utilities.
He said they expected to put that portion of the project out for bid by April 1, 2015, and award contracts in the summer. He said based on financing, the construction of phase one could begin as early as August.
Claflin said completing the site grading, utility installation and concrete pad prior to winter would allow the work to sit and settle over the winter months, before construction of the building began in spring of 2016.
He anticipated the building portion of the project to go out to bid in Nov. of this year. Construction of the building could begin as early as March 2016, and be completed by fall.
Committee members viewed architectural drawings of the proposed site work and building.
“It’s a pretty decent site, all things considered,” said Claflin. An area of peat five to six feet beneath the surface of the proposed parking lot would be addressed by covering it with breaker run.
The foundation of the building will be located on solid ground.
“It’s a functional building without a lot of frills on it,” said Claflin. “We were told to keep it that way,” he said.
The energy efficient building design has block lower walls with insulated steel siding on top. Two large garage doors on both ends accommodate the drive through design of the building. The design includes ample parking space for all equipment, a repair and service area, modern lighting and air exchange throughout, and in floor heat inside the shop area. The basic office portion of the building will have a traditional heating system.
Claflin said the plans still needed to be submitted to the state for approval.
Alderman Rob Way asked about the impact of the project on the existing park facilities, such as boat landing parking and the public boat launch restrooms.
Claflin said a handful of boat parking stalls would be lost in the construction project; however additional stalls (more than what currently exist) will be added on the west end of the parking lot closer to the river.
Plans for the sledding hill and ice rink were received earlier the same day of the meeting. Park Director Chad Hoerth requested the committee put that discussion on the next month’s agenda.
Claflin said they would need to reconfigure the sledding hill to change its slope towards Wolf River Avenue so people are not sledding into the building. The ice rink would also be moved towards Wolf River Avenue and take on a unique shape to fit the area of a shallow water retention pond with islands.
Committee members were highly interested in continuing the discussion next month.
A local business owner attended the meeting and asked the public works committee what their plans were for the old city garage when the new building is complete.
Members informed him that while they had estimates for demolition of the building, they had not determined how they would proceed with the property. The business owner said he was interested in the property and wished to be considered when they discuss future options for the property. He was informed that the city would retain the trail and riverfront parcel of the property.