Proposed East End park gets funding boost
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Another chunk of funding has been pledged for the proposed East End Community Park off Dixie Street, and the money will pay for an enhancement to the project.
Karen Haddad, a board member for the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, said during a Wednesday meeting that the Haddad Foundation would provide about $25,200 to pay for paver stones to be placed under the pavilion in the park.
David Gilmore, senior land development service manager for GAI Consultants, had brought up an alternative to the $429,985 bid to build the first phase of the park that would raise the cost by $34,000.
The alternative included a $25,200 bid to place the pavers under the pavilion and about $8,800 to bury utility lines in the park.
Authority board members questioned whether they should contribute the whole amount when they already had allocated about $200,000 to acquire the property and about $260,000 for construction of the park.
"My biggest concern is yes, we've spent a lot of money on this," said Diane Strong-Treister, a board member. "But where do we say we're not going to be the main body to fund this project?"
Board member Lew Tyree compared the request for the additional funds to a daughter going to an expensive college and asking for more money to pay bills. It is difficult for the board to "look back now," he said.
However, Treister added that the agency has provided nearly half a million dollars for the project and construction hasn't even begun.
Board member Andrew Jordon asked if the priority was burying the utility lines. Other members suggested the board consider paying for relocation of the utilities now and consider the pavers later.
Haddad then said the foundation would provide the $25,200 for the pavers.
"We're so far into this project we can't back up and second-guess," she said.
"That is very generous," Gilmore said.
The motion to allocate an additional $8,800 to pay for the relocation of the utility lines passed unanimously.
Work on the park to be located near Dixie and Nancy streets could begin within four to six weeks if Charleston City Council approves the low bid Monday.
McClanahan Construction of Poca submitted the low bid of $429,985, plus the $34,000 alternative.
The only other company that bid on the project was Oval Construction Management of Charleston. It submitted a $676,911 bid plus a $61,425 alternative.
The first phase of the 2-acre park could be completed by spring, Gilmore said.
The first phase will include an entryway with an iron arch overhead. Pavers and concrete will make up the walkway leading into the park.
The walkway will include space for public art, and the pavilion will sit at the end of the walkway, Gilmore said.
A paved walkway around the park will be added in the second phase as will a large green space on the back side of the pavilion.
No funding has been identified for the second phase of the project.
The authority also agreed to transfer to the city a deed for a small parcel of land on the East End near the Roosevelt Community Center on Jackson Street.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department will construct a playground on the site. The city will pay about $25,000 to build playgrounds at the Jackson Street location and at Magic Island.
The authority also agreed to allocate $7,500 for a fence around the Jackson Street playground.