Five-plus years after voters passed a 1.8-mill bond levy to help fund various capital improvements throughout the City of Powell, construction is set to begin on the second major project promised to residents — the 23-acre Park at Seldom Seen.
With the Murphy Parkway Extension Project now in the books, city officials have turned their attention to the long-awaited park to be built along the north side of Seldom Seen Road just west of the railroad tracks.
To get the project rolling, City Council recently approved two ordinances authorizing City Manager Steve Lutz to enter into contracts with Trucco Construction and Thomas & Marker Construction for the first three phases of the park.
Lutz said the first three phases include a parking lot, wetland feature, concession stand with bathrooms, softball fields, irrigated soccer fields, a playground, and multi-use paths.
The city’s attempt to start construction on the park last year failed to come to fruition after the initial bid process yielded bids that were over budget, which forced officials to proceed using a negotiated bid process.
With the help of council members Frank Bertone and Daniel Swartwout, Lutz said the city was able to utilize value engineering to help get the project off the ground at a cost for the first three phases of just over $3.1 million. Initially, the city was facing costs of $3.65 million.
“Over the past month, we’ve used value engineering and negotiated with the contractors, and we’ve been able to reduce that by $532,000,” Lutz said. “These two ordinances combined will be $3,117,792, which is within our funding mechanism which we needed to do to construct this park.”
He added Trucco Construction will be the first crew on site and will be handling tree removal and earthwork at a total cost of $1,776,352.
Above-ground work like the construction of the concession stand and playground will be carried out by Thomas & Marker Construction at a total cost of $1,341,440.
“Construction will begin as early as next month and will be completed by the end of the year,” Lutz said.
Council member Brian Lorenz said getting the Park at Seldom Seen Project to the point of construction was a “team effort” between city staff, current and former council members, and city residents.
“(Voters) trusted us with funds to help develop this park, and we are one step closer to making that a reality,” he said.
Council passed an ordinance modifying 2018 appropriations by transferring $10,450 from the Contingency Fund to the Parks Department to cover the costs of a preliminary engineering agreement between the city and CSX involving the development of a proposed multi-use path near Murphy Parkway/Liberty Road and at-grade railroad crossing improvements on Liberty Road.
“It keeps this project (multi-use path) in the queue so when we do come up with funding for the project itself, we will still have the approval from CSX to proceed,” Lutz said.
In recognition of Lorenz’ two-year stint as mayor, which came to an end last month, council adopted a resolution thanking him for his service.
“Brian Lorenz diligently met his responsibilities as mayor with professional commitment, personal integrity, innovative thinking, and sincere concern for the community and its residents,” the resolution states.
In what he called a “new tradition,” Mayor Jon Bennehoof presented Lorenz with the gavel he used to officiate council meetings during his time as mayor.
“I enjoyed it very much and hope I made a difference,” Lorenz said.
He added he would be remiss if he didn’t thank his wife and kids for their support along the way.
“Without them, you can’t ever do the things that you want to do,” Lorenz said. “Hopefully for my children, they know and value what your civic duty is, and they’ll follow in my footsteps some day.”
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.