Preliminary construction work on the proposed Pocket Park for downtown Lamar has begun. An excavation crew from Carrigan Construction was on the scene, Thursday, December 1st, scraping away the top most layer of asphalt and dirt, making way for a sand base which will be more concrete friendly, according to Mark Carrigan.
“We should be on hand for several days, taking care of the preliminary work, and once we’re done the MonCor crew will follow us to begin laying down a concrete base.” The entrance to the parking area has been closed off to motorists for some time now, but the park has been a host site for numerous downtown and community related events for the past year. At this point, though, the park will be off-limits to that type of gathering while work is underway.
It’s been a long-awaited process since the proposal was made to develop the open area between Daylight Donuts and the Shore Arts Center into a community-friendly gathering spot. The usual studies associated with this type of development had to be formulated and a specific plan on how best to use the park was discussed. There was an unexpected hitch this past spring when the single bid for the project came in about $200,000 higher than the grant to fund the project. The City of Lamar estimated the cost at $150,000 while MonCor LLC priced the project at $315,000.
After some discussions the Lamar City Council approved funding for a portion of the project, just to get some forward momentum going. The council will seek grants to pay for the balance of the costs later next year. The Lamar City Council acknowledged that the construction bid for the Pocket Park came in higher than anticipated, but decided to start work on the more affordable portions of the conversion and seek grants to pay for the balance of the costs next year. Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Manager, told the council three areas totaling $120,150 would be set aside from the new construction plans. They are: pavers, painting and pergola, or shade coverings inside the park. That leaves the new construction project priced at $194,850.
Carrigan said he expects some of his crew to work in tandem with the MonCor staff on the concrete project, “This will be pretty intricate and involved work,” he explained, “We’re not just going to pour concrete and let it harden. There are contours and various angles which have to be developed on the base floor and we’re working a little late into the concrete curing weather.” Carrigan said the work should continue into the early parts of December before the next stage will be set for the parks’ completion.
By Russ Baldwin
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