A Washington Park Board member last week questioned the promised time line versus the actual schedule for two ongoing park projects.
During a parks committee meeting May 17, Bob Kloeppel, park board member, said he feels more progress should have been made by now on the Phoenix Park tennis courts and the new skate park at Optimist Park.
Park officials are coordinating the two projects and want to complete the construction of six new tennis courts at Phoenix Park before tearing down four existing courts at Optimist Park, where the skate park will be built.
Park officials agreed to this schedule so there will be minimum disruption to tennis players this summer.
Currently, grading work is ongoing and dirt has been trucked in for compaction at the site of the new Phoenix Park courts.
City crews have finished installing water and sewer lines as well as electrical conduits. The contractor, Sieve, and its subcontractors have nearly completed the pavilion/restrooms.
Parks Director Darren Dunkle said the contract with Sieve calls for the courts to be finished by the end of June, but if there are weather delays or change orders, that completion date could be pushed back.
Once the new courts at Phoenix Park are substantially completed, work can begin on demolishing the Optimist Park courts and constructing the skate park.
“I don’t see the skate park going out there this year. It should’ve been done with the weather we’ve had this winter,” Kloeppel said.
Skate Park Schedule
Dunkle said if all goes according to plan, construction of the skate park could begin in late June or July with completion set for August or September.
Final construction drawings for the skate park have been completed, according to Dunkle and he is working with Hardcore Shotcrete Skateparks Inc. on bidding parts of the project.
The city and Hardcore both belong to a national purchasing group, the National Joint Powers Alliance, which enables governments a purchasing solution that satisfies the competitive bid requirements.
He said a construction contract for the skate park could go to the city council in June.
“We can get it done this year,” Dunkle said of the skate park.
Park board members asked if the delay was due to city crews or the contractor or subcontractors, which also are building the concert stage and event center at the fairgrounds simultaneously.
Brian Boehmer, assistant city administrator, said city crews have been providing in-kind services, including the water, sewer and electrical connections at Phoenix Park.
“But we only have so many men and tractors,” Boehmer said. “The city is juggling these projects.”
In addition to park projects, city crews are spending time on Phase II of the fire training center and team track rail siding project.
“I’m not making excuses but we’re doing the best we can,” Boehmer said.
Dunkle said while some of the delays were due to city staff, the skate park can still be constructed in about two to three months.
Park board member Jerome “Sparky” Stuckenschneider said it is better to have this current delay than not doing anything for the last three years.
“But we told the kids it would be done by this summer,” Kloeppel said. “This is my opinion only. I’m glad to see it finally happening, but I think we missed an opportunity.”