The city will begin a search for a design consultant for the Veterans Memorial Park now that the new fiscal year is under way.
The 2014-15 fiscal year began Tuesday and this year’s budget includes $500,000 for the park in east Union.
City Administrator Russell Rost said the next step will be to select a design consultant to put together a cost opinion with city staff to design the park, bid the project and oversee its construction.
He explained that the consultant will use the developmental plan prepared in 2012 by SWT Design to provide the “working plan” for the new park.
A sales tax measure to fund the park was voted down twice.
Mayor Mike Livengood noted that officials have said from the beginning that the park would be built regardless of the funding source.
“We told people when the tax measure didn’t pass that we would phase it in,” said Livengood.
The first phase of the project was to purchase the ground, followed by excavation.
Livengood added that there were plans to piecemeal the final construction phase, but that may not be necessary if the city opts to finance the project.
“Why not just do it and be done?” Livengood asked.
Rost added that it may be possible to build the park from existing funds, and only finance the project if necessary.
He explained that the city has paid down most of its debt, which is why the city’s credit rating was boosted to a an AA- rating.
“We’ve reduced the debt to a level that this is possible,” he said. “We carry very little debt and this will not increase our load significantly.”
When completed the park will be a full-service facility with concession stands, bleachers, restrooms, and other amenities, which will support sporting events, walking trails, playgrounds, wetlands and other passive park features.
Initial construction estimates were $9 million, but since then officials have said the park could be built for less that $6.5 million.
The first phase of construction will include the infrastructure, including roads and utilities.
Phase 1 of the park project consisted of excavation and mass grading for two soccer fields, one football field, five baseball/softball fields, two ponds and various support infrastructure.
There was about 100,000 cubic yards of earthwork, and the grading plan which included 24-foot-wide roads.
SWT Design of St. Louis provided the original conceptual plan and master planning for this project.
The park was planned to meet the growing needs of youth sports leagues in the Union area.
In the plans are marshlands and water sources to be utilized as a conservation area, or passive park, as well as picnic areas and shelters.
There also are playgrounds, a maintenance shed, lakes or ponds, pavilions and other amenities, including a “loop trail” intertwined with smaller trails.
SWT Design utilized requests and demographics to determine the city’s parks needs that could be met at the east park location.
Elected city officials, city staff, members of the east park development committee and Franklin County youth sports leaders submitted requests to SWT Design of what they would like to see included in the park.
Rost said that the city plans to purchase a facility owned by Wayne Chlanda to be used as a maintenance shed. It is located on Denmark Road less than 100 yards from the park.
He said there were plans to build a new maintenance facility at the new well No. 7, but the Denmark Road location can serve both the well and the new park.