Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Agreement OK’d to design Wellness Park

Jan 19, 2018

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


While the Washington City Council unanimously approved hiring MSA professional Services to design the first phase of the proposed Wellness park, at least one council member objected to the initial cost estimates of the project.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, council member Steve Gault said many of the initial cost estimates seemed too high. While he didn’t object to hiring MSI, he said proposals given for the construction materials were higher than he knew they cost. Gault had said there would be some places he would put a “screaming halt” to the expenses. He particularly objected to the estimate of $200,000 for a concession stand, which he called “mind-blowing.”

“I can build one heck of a house for $200,000,” Gault said.

Designers from MSA referred to the cost estimates as “middle of the road,” and said the costs will have to be flexible to fit the budget.

Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said the need for value engineering will be high during the project. The projected cost of phase 1 of the project is about $2.2 million.

“It will have to be a combination of value engineering, grants and in-kind donations,” Hinson said. “All of that will have to come together to get the project we want and certainly we need to look very carefully at each number.”

Mayor Jaron Rosien said he had seen many options for the concession stands. He said the council will have to make a lot of “hard decisions” about what will be included in the park.

Council members were given updated drawings of the proposed park. Phase 1 of the project will deal with underground infrastructure work. It also will create a water retention basin, which will become a pond later in the project.

Since the design phase began on the Wellness Park, to be constructed on 46 acres along Fifth Street and North D Avenue, the public has been asked for input into the project.

In December 2016, the council had indicated it wanted to move ahead with the project and leave $1 million in this year’s budget to be spent on the park.

The city sold about 5 acres of land on the proposed Wellness Park to the Y to be used for the construction of a new building. After the failure of a bond referendum to help fund the building, the YMCA announced in May it plans to collect funding for a new $9 million facility to be constructed at West Fifth Street and North D Avenue as well as future expansions. The Washington City Council also approved partnering with the YMCA of Washington County to seek a mutual grant from Enhance Iowa to benefit both the Y’s building project and the construction of the proposed Wellness Park.

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