City council approves engineering services

The Augusta City Council have planned to construct new restroom and concession facilities in Garvin Park and at Monday’s Council meeting they took a step closer to moving forward with the project.
Funding for the project was included in the Augusta Pride and Progress Quality of Life initiative.  The Garvin Park project had originally planned for complete rehabilitation of the Garvin Park baseball fields, but analysis by the City Engineer determined it would not be feasible due to the excessive area affected by flood way and flood plain.  The scope of the project was re-defined to include a restroom/concession facility at the baseball fields and a restroom facility near the community stage and playground.  
Assistant City Manager Cody Sims presented a recommended agreement between Schwab-Eaton, P.A., Consulting Engineers and the City of Augusta for design services for restroom and concession facilities to be constructed in Garvin Park in the amount not to exceed $91,595.
“I just want to go on record that I think $91,000 is real excessive for engineering fees,” stated Councilor Ron Reavis.
Sims explained that the project is proposed as a design-bid-build, which is a different construction methodology that was used with the public restroom facility at Shryock Park, which was a design-build.  
“With Shryock Park, the City functioned as the utility contractor.  That method worked well with that project, but we can’t function that way on a regular basis.  We were under a time crunch and we pulled people off of other jobs,” City Manager Josh Shaw explained, “These are big projects.”
Sims further explained that if the agreement was approved, design partners will be able to move forward with concepts that will be presented to the Parks Advisory Board, the Planning Commission, and the City Council for approval.  After the concept is approved, construction plan production will follow and is tentatively planned to be completed by July 1, 2017.  
There will be signage in place at the Garvin Park baseball fields advertising the pending improvements.
The original Garvin Park allocation from the Pride and Progress bond initiative is $1.5 million, however, the current scope of work is different than the original concept because of the floodway and flood plain in the park.  As a result, a maximum budget of $750,00 has been proposed to construct the restroom/concession facility near the baseball fields and the restroom near the community stage, along with other infrastructure required for the facilities.  
Council approved the proposal, 7-1, with Reavis voting against the measure.
Appointments to boards and committees
The council members also approved the Mayor’s appointments to the Airport Advisory Board, Augusta Housing Authority, and Main Street Design Committee.
Michael Snow and Willie Sinsel were re-appointments to the Airport Advisory Board and John Sidorek was a new appointment.
Mary Williams was re-appointed to the Augusta Housing Authority, and Shane Scott was appointed to the Main Street Design Committee.
Council members approved re-appointments of Councilman Mike Rawlings, Councilman Justin Londagin, Betty Roy, and Erik Birk to the Park Advisory Board.
Other approvals
• Council approved Resolution No. 2017-21 fixing the time and place for a public hearing  at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 5, 2017, at City Hall concerning the condemnation and repair or demolition of a structure located at 1205 N. Hooper.  Also approved was Resolution No. 2017-22 a public hearing at the same time concerning the condemnation of a garage structure at 244 E. 12th.
•Approval of nuisance abatement resolutions for 309 W. Edgewood St., 435 E. 12th St., 1710 N. Dearborn, and 1923 N. Dearborn.
• Approval of final draft of Ordinance No. 2115 Implementing Business Regulations for Horse and Carriage Businesses within the City.   Approval of Fee Schedule Resolution 2017-27 adding a business license fee for horse and carriage businesses.
• Approval to schedule a joint work session with member of Augusta Progress Inc. at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 24, 2017, to discuss economic development in Augusta.
Council matters
Councilor Paul Belt asked that council members and staff review and discuss a proposal for constructing a scattering garden at Elmwood Cemetery.
“This would be a nice addition and help those burdened with expenses,” Belt said.
“This is a great time to bring it up, as we are going into the 2018 budget year.  If you want, we can allocate funds as we go into budget discussion,” suggested Shaw.
Shaw also advised that there is $34,000 left in the cemetery endowment fund.
Council consensus was that the subject should be researched and come back for further discussion.
Councilor Belt also suggested options for a landfill donation coupon program. Belt explained that many people never get around to using their landfill coupons and that they might consider donating the coupons to the owners of properties that are in need for clean up.  A plan will be created and more discussion is expected.