Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cost estimates crimp Kaw Riverside Park planning

August 23, 2007

The search for outside cash is on after the De Soto City Council learned the cost to develop the first phase of the Kaw Riverside Park is about twice that the city has available.

At last Thursday's De Soto City Council meeting, architect Doug Pickert of Indigo Design estimated the total cost to develop the 50-acre site in the West Bottoms to be $3.4 million and the cost of completing the park's first of five phases at $893,000.

The first-phase estimate exceeds the $451,000 the city has to spend on the park in 2007 and 2008. The announced goal was for the first-phase of the park to be in place for the De Soto Chamber of Commerce's October 2008 barbecue contest and popular blues and barbecue concert.

The cost estimates might have caused uncertainty about the project and October 2008 timeline, but the expectation of using outside money on the project was always part of the plan and one the main reasons the park was moved up on the city's capital improvement list.

Last Thursday, City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the estimates and Pickert's design were needed to move the project forward. There were county, state, federal and private grant and funding sources to explore, he said.

"Now, we have something tangible on paper to find outside funding assistance," he said.

Among the items in the park's first phase is an entrance, double sidewalks around vender stall locations, a raised stage in a natural amphitheater enhanced with some grading, peanut shaped driveway and overflow parking.

The estimates he provided were what he thought the council should see to do the park correctly, Pickert said. In a reply to a question from Councilman Tim Maniez, Picket said the park design was a Chevy not a Cadillac.

But he said further steps could be taken to trim costs. For example, he said interior roadways could initially be gravel rather than asphalt and his plans called for sewer infrastructure in phase one although there would be no bathrooms in the first phase. He put it in the first phase to prevent replacement of installed sidewalks and other features in the future, he said.

"Whatever you need, we can do," he said.

Pickert made his first effort immediately after the meeting, providing city staffers a revised and trimmed-down first phase Friday morning. By eliminating an entry sign, sewer infrastructure, waterline, electrical line and asphalt paving to the loop drive and parking lot. With that, Pickert reduced him first phase estimate to $561,000.

However, Guilfoyle and Brungardt agreed nothing like the chamber event could be scheduled at the park without lighting and water, increasing the estimate another $100,000.

Other cost-shaving suggestions proposed at the council meeting included city crews doing some of the work and seeking help from local volunteers for an effort like the one that built the boat ramp at the site.

"We started our boat ramp with nothing," Councilwoman Betty Cannon said. "Maybe we can get some of our local contractors to help."

Mayor Dave Anderson said the important thing was to develop a plan and move forward even if it meant eight phases instead of the original four.

However, Councilman Ted Morse said the city should reconsider the project at a location that had flooded twice in his lifetime and would again. A layer of slime would have to be removed from the park when that happened, he said.

Restrooms and other permanent structures would be raised above the floodplain, such as the old sand plant scale house on the property, Pickert said. That would mitigate cleanup costs, he said.

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