The planning phase of St. Michael’s proposed Central Park continues to move forward, and the city council approved additional spending last week to move the project closer to shovel-ready.
City officials estimate the proposed park will cost a total of $4 million, spread out over four phases. The first phase will cost around $1.8 million, and potential phase one projects include amenities on the north and west portions of the park: a large pavilion, bathroom building, splash pad, playground, parking lot and pickleball courts.
Park decision-makers said they’d like a more accurate picture of what phase one’s potential park amenities will include and cost. This will give them more information to use when deciding which amenities to prioritize. With that goal in mind, city leaders approached council with a proposal to spend $49,000 for SRF Consulting Group to create a schematic design proposal for the Town Center Park development.
“I think this next step makes a lot of sense for us,” Weigle said. “It takes the project from just a two-dimensional schematic to getting into a lot more details.”
A lot of the current discussion involves the park’s bathroom. Committee members want to know what it would look like and if it would include changing areas in addition to bathrooms. Weigle said this information will help the committee weigh the bathroom’s importance and help them decide if it should be included during phase one.
Completion of the schematic design proposal will bring an architect on board. The architect will come up with two or three concepts for the bathroom building and large pavilion.
“We’ll have a better idea of what the bathroom is, and what we might be giving up by trading this for that,” Weigle explained.
This plan will also give committee members a better idea of what the splash pad and playground will look like with the allotted budget of approximately $300,000 each. Weigle said they might end up with a $400,000 splash pad and a $200,000 playground, or some other combination, once they have a better picture of what that budget allows for.
City administrator, Steve Bot, said the schematic design proposal fee represents about 2.7 percent of the total $1.8 million budget for phase one. An estimated five percent of the total cost will go toward project design, so he said this fits into that five percent budget.
“It seemed like this was a minimum next step to keep things moving, but not going all in because we know there are still some questions,” Weigle said. “Hopefully this will get us closer to that big picture answer.”
SRF said they would complete a survey of the park area within two weeks and take two months to complete the schematic design.
Weigle said city leaders and committee members would return to council in the fall with a more informed recommendation for them to consider. City councilmembers asked a few questions about the proposal, and they approved the request unanimously. The city would like to begin construction on phase one in 2019.