Port Huron Council approves contract for park improvements

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

Port Huron Council approved a contract with an engineering firm worth more than $57,000 to complete designs for the Lakeside Park improvements.

The contract with Rowe Professional Services Company for $57,561 was approved by a vote of 5 to 1. Council member Ken Harris was the lone vote against the resolution.

The overall project is estimated to cost about $2.5 million, and include three new pavilions, a new parking lot, an archway into the park, new picnic tables and grills, improved bathrooms and concessions, playground area and splash pad.

Harris said that looking at the size of the project, he didn’t have the confidence in having Rowe Professional Services Company complete the designs.

City Manager James Freed said when the city puts out a bid on a project of this size, it also submits a request for qualifications to see what the company has accomplished.

“In addition to the request, I’ve personally worked with Rowe Professional Services,” Freed said. “I’ve seen their work firsthand and am confident they can get the job done.”

The city’s parks and recreation department received $295,000 for those improvements from the Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund program. That grant will be matched by about $120,000 in money from the county parks and recreation tax.

The Stebbins Family Fund, through the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, has offered to match up to $43,000 in donations to go toward the splash pad.

So far, $8,000 has been raised toward the grant, and two grants have been applied for to reach the $43,000 goal.

The park improvement design plan is expected to be completed by the end of July. Plans for the splash pad should be finalized by April 24.

The scope of the work includes designing a splash pad area north of the restroom building.

The second phase would be designing Lakeside Park improvements, including waterfront improvements, festival lawn area, trellis, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant beach access mat, paved sidewalk connecting to the parking lot, site furnishings, benches, foot-wash feature, drinking fountain and associated utilities.

Council member Rachel Cole’s resignation was accepted by the council

Alphonso Amos — the next highest vote getter in the 2013 election — can complete Cole’s term if accepted, which runs through November 2016.

Amos — the program coordinator for SONS Outreach and scoutreach executive for the Boys Scouts of America — was not present at Monday’s meeting, but could be sworn in as early as the March 23 meeting.

Port Huron Clerk Sue Child said she will be sending him a letter in two days.

Cole was sworn onto council in August following the death of Brian Moeller. She previously was elected in 2011 and served a two-year term on council.

Mayor Pauline Repp and council members gave their thoughts on losing Cole.

“She assured me she will try to be active in the community where she can be,” Repp said. “You can still expect to see her around the community.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 9, 2015)

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