Roughly 20 contractors, a mix of framers, graders, electricians, plumbers and masons, recently gathered in Harrisburg Park to get a better understanding of plans that, if approved by the Town Council later this month, will double the size of the recreational facility.
Held less than a week after this year’s Fourth of July festivities, most of which take place inside the 37-acre park, the meeting served as a final opportunity for contractors to ask questions and gather information before submitting their respective job bids to J.D. Goodrum in Cornelius, the town’s construction manager for this project.
“I think it’s a good sign that that many showed up,” said Harrisburg Town Parks and Recreation Director Daniel Stines, explaining that the submitted bids should be competitive, keeping the overall cost of the work as low as possible.
That information will allow Mr. Stines to provide Town Council members at their next meeting – set for 6 p.m. on Monday, August 12 – with an updated and finalized cost for the renovation. After updating council and town residents on the work on August 12, he then intends to ask the board to approve a resolution agreeing to finance the project.
If that happens, the renovations will require the temporary closure of the park starting on Monday, September 16, forcing the relocation of games and other sporting events, according to Mr. Stines. He expects the facility to reopen to the public on July 3, 2020.
Earlier project estimates, which came in between $6 million and $8 million, cover the creation of three new multi-use athletic fields, increasing the number of fields to five. Plans also call for the addition of a new amphitheater, splash pad, playground and parking spaces, as well as the expansion of walking and biking trails.
Though he could not yet share any concrete numbers, Mr. Stines observed that construction costs continue to climb, meaning that the final cost will most likely come in slightly higher than earlier estimates. However, he still expects the final figure to total less than $10 million.
He also remains confident that most of the work will be completed within the estimated 10-month time frame. “If council approves it on the 12th, you will see equipment at the park at the very first of September,” Mr. Stines said. “I feel pretty confident in that statement. You will see action going on.”
“Now, when I say ‘action,’ there’s a lot of mobilization, surveys [to be conducted], or at least silt fencing going in,” he continued. “Come November, or by the middle of October, you should see a lot of earth moving around.”
If Town Council signs off, work is expected to start first on the new amphitheater before quickly moving on to the athletic field reconfiguration. Harrisburg Park’s two existing fields, a soccer and football field, will be reconfigured into four new multi-purpose fields, while a fifth field will be added near the amphitheater (www.harrisburgnc.org/DocumentCenter/View/1449/Conceptual-Site-Plan—3252019?bidId=). Both fields are now reopen after being off-limits for several weeks this summer, allowing them the opportunity to repair themselves.
Future plans call for the eventual addition of a two-story recreational building on the western end of the park that would be financed and occupied by the YMCA, according to Mr. Stines. Work on that building, which is expected to run several million dollars, is not expected for several years.
The town had previously acquired 40 acres directly adjacent to Harrisburg Park to accommodate the renovations. Those plans were delayed after voters in 2017 rejected a $21 million parks and recreation bond that would have paid for those upgrades, and the construction of a new community center. Plans for the center, which would have housed the town’s Parks and Recreation Department offices and accounted for a significant portion of the bond, are no longer part of the plan.
To limit its financial liability, the town hired J.D. Goodrum to serve as its Construction Manager at Risk, or CMR, on the revised renovation project, according to Mr. Stines. The company is responsible for bidding out the work, and must keep the final cost at or below the price approved by the Town Council.
Mr. Stines says that while he understands concerns about the project’s scope and cost, he emphasized that Harrisburg continues to grow, and the town must start investing in and upgrading its recreational infrastructure. “I believe this is an extremely important project for the town, and I think the community deserves it,” he added.
He encourages those interested in learning more about the Harrisburg Park upgrades to attend the Town Council meeting on Monday, August 12, at Harrisburg Town Hall.
“I don’t want anyone ever thinking that we’re trying to operate in a silo here,” Mr. Stines said. “And I don’t think that anyone in the town thinks that way.”