Phase One of Culpepper Park expansion approved by council

BY Jan Murray

Phase One of Culpepper Park expansion approved by council
City Council members voted Tuesday, Jan. 19, to moved forward with Phase One of Culpepper Park’s expansion for two new ball fields. Per requirements, the council approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with Civil Southeast, LLC to complete the multi-phase project. The $315,000 cost of the initial phase was also green-lighted. Jeremy McMath, an engineer with Civil Southeast, presented Phase One plans to the council and said, “We are just starting on this road of design…Basically, you’ve got funding set up that’s coming out of the proceeds of the sale of the property...We’d like to go ahead and move forward with the earthwork, storm drainage and general layout of the fields...” The city sold the land in the Industrial Ballpark to an existing company in August 2015 for $285,000. That amount covers all but about $30,000 for the first phase. However, City Clerk Angelia Filmore told the council the city has reserve funds to cover the excess.McMath said that the subsequent phases need to be defined within the next couple of months for planning purposes.Plans are for the entire project be complete by Spring of 2017, but financing could push that date to Spring of 2018. “We are going to do it in a way that makes sense and stretches (the city’s) dollars as far we can without hurting (the city’s) pockets,” said McMath.Costs for Phase Two and Phase Three have not been determined. McMath said Phase Two will likely include sod/grassing, fencing and irrigation. The last phase, he said, would be lighting. McMath said, “We were hopeful that we could save and use the lighting that is there…We think we will be able to reuse the fixtures, but not the poles that are not in good shape.” A goal has been set, he said, to complete the first two phases by the early part of December of the current year.The engineering firm and the council will meet in April to look at the cost, scope and schedule further.Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth said, “We have to start with this…and we will have to look at next year’s budget and decide how much needs to be set aside and the quality we want in these ballfields…This is our long-term investment here, in our recreation.”In other business, the council approved the payment of bills, totaling $75,571, all budgeted expenses.The council also made board appointments to the Tree Board and the Water Board. Lela Smith was reappointed to the Tree Board. Josh Robertson was appointed to the Water Board. Robertson previously served on the Redevelopment Board and he had requested to serve on the Water Board instead.
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