Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
Amphitheater project delayed to 2018
Excavation work to begin
By William Kincaid
CELINA - City officials say the Harley Jones Rotary Memorial Amphitheater - the planned centerpiece of the new Bryson Park District - will likely be completed in late summer or early fall next year.
Earlier this summer, mayor Jeff Hazel had set an ambitious deadline, saying his intent was to have the amphitheater built this year. However in late September, Hazel said due to design delays, the amphitheater will not be finished until next year.
City safety service director Tom Hitchcock at Monday night's personnel and finance committee meeting confirmed the project deadline has been pushed back to late summer or early fall of 2018.
VTF Excavation of Celina was recently awarded a $142,800 contract to complete dirt work at the site along Lake Shore Drive, Hitchcock said. City officials were pleased with the bids, as the project had been estimated to cost $200,000.
"That should be starting shortly for building the hill where the seating's going to be," Hitchcock told councilors. "We have a pre-construction meeting on that on Wednesday, and the contractor sounds like they want to start right away."
The dirt work must be finished before work can start on the amphitheater, Hitchcock pointed out.
"I think it's kind of a good idea, Tom, that we got things started so people can see something's going in there, something's happening there," councilman June Scott said about the upcoming dirt work.
In addition to the structure, concrete and sidewalks must be laid out, making late summer or early fall a realistic target date, Hitchcock said.
"It'd be nice to have it done before summer, to be honest with you," councilman Jeff Larmore noted.
The amphitheater is set to be built on a portion of the former Mercelina Park softball field. The structure will face an open grass area capable of holding 1,500 to 2,000 people and be financed by a $1.2 million state capital line-item grant secured by then-Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, according to Hazel.
Hitchcock on Monday night noted other proposed park projects for next year. Officials will ask Bryson Trust Fund officers to consider financing $10,000 to replace three doors at the Bryson Memorial Swimming Pool as well as a $20,000 metal roof replacement at the pool.
Also, Hitchcock said officials plan to make numerous improvements to the pool with the $49,000 remaining from a $406,000 capital improvement community recreation award for the site. Officials used the bulk of the money this year to put up two shelter houses on the south side of the pool; umbrellas; a splash pad that replaced the baby pool; new diving boards; and a new, more efficient filtration system.
"The plan is to build another shelter house out there on the north side of the pool this time," Hitchcock said. "And the rest of the money we're going to use on new tables, new chairs, that kind of stuff at the pool. We'll eat up the rest of that grant."