Park board plans for $2M renovation project

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By CAM WIGTON

Plans to give a much needed facelift to the park district buildings moved one step forward last Thursday night.

The Park District of Forest Park approved two measures on December 1 that allows W-T Engineering Inc., which is heading the park rehabilitation project, to seek bids on renovations to buildings one and four of the Park District facility located at 7501 Harrison Street.

Scott Triphahn of W-T engineering and Joseph Brusseau of Brusseau Design Group addressed the board of park commissioners regarding the upcoming renovations.

The project which is estimated to take 5 years to complete and is budgeted to cost $2,222,350, according to Park District Executive Director Dave Novak. The cost will be divided at $277,000 per year, except for year two, which is budgeted for $1,114,350, a cost that will be largely financed by the $837,250 in bonds currently available to the park district.

Novak said that $100,000 will likely be moved from year two to the year one budget.

In year one, which began May 1 and runs to April 30, 2006, plans call for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the main administration building (building one), including renovating the veranda roof located at the back of building. The veranda will receive a major facelift, including a durable pre-cast panel system and a new hand rail.

The board was also informed that the cost of the additional work and the addition of three roof drains will cost $11,100, which was not accounted for on the original budget.

If all goes according to Triphahn's plan, he will return to the park board in late January with bids and construction will be completed before the pool opens in 2006.

Building four will also receive an update, including the movement of the furnace and air conditioning units to reduce noise. A duct sock will also be added to help dampen the noise. Triphan plans on returning with bids by late January and beginning construction soon thereafter.

Plans also call for the instillation of a walking path. Two circuits will be developed on the property that measure a half mile for one lap. While original plans called for a designated walking path, the board did not think that the walking path and dog walk would be very cohesive and decided to move forward with a dog area, according to Novak.

Joe Brusseau, of Brusseau Design Group, is overseeing the renovation of the walking path.

"The path already exists," he said. "We are merely connecting the circuits with signage to make it a cohesive walking trail. We will open bids in January and begin construction as soon as the weather clears. Also, there are dollars set aside for seating areas along the path, but right now these are just preliminary plans."

Last on the list was the construction of a skate park. Brusseau's goal is to make sure the park will be heavy duty, re-configurable and can be assembled by park staff for a savings on cost. According to Novak, components for the park will be assembled in a garage over the winter and moved to the area where the old basketball courts were located once the area is covered with new asphalt in the spring.

"(By saving on assembly costs) we can more bang for our buck," said Novak. "We can spend the money on getting more equipment."

The park will be a two year project, and will cost $50,000 this year and $40,000 next year, according to Novak.

The park board will host an informational meeting on December 14 to specifically address the renovations to the recreation building, according to park board member Larry Piekarz.

"I want parents to know that our goal is to provide the best, safest cleanest park we can," he said. "I want to have this meeting because the parents might have some great ideas and we want to involve them in the process. Basically, I want them as excited about the renovations as I am."

Novak said that the renovated recreation building would be easier to maintain and clean since carpets would be replaced by tile. The bathrooms, he said, would be rennovated to comply with the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The changes, he said, are intended to make the building a better fit for both daycare and for night use by community groups.

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