2018-01-12 / Local News

Construction on new city park still weeks away

Ledger Staff Writer

Gaffney City Council awarded the contract to begin construction on the Railroad Avenue Park six weeks ago.

But it could take weeks longer before dirt is actually moved on the project.

Gaffney Administrator James Taylor said he’s still in talks with state officials about changes to the project that impact the state Department of Commerce grant. Taylor explained that changes to the project that trimmed the final cost must be approved by the state. He said it typically takes a month or two for state officials to sign off on the changes.

The park, which will feature an amphitheater with seating for 3,000 people, will be located near the county administration building and serve as the permanent home of the Peach Festival. City officials had hoped to complete the project in time for this year’s version of the festival.

Sossamon Construction’s bid of $1.8 million was nearly $600,000 over the city’s project cost of $1.3 million. Taylor said the city, in consultation with the project architect and contractor, was able to trim the bid by replacing the decorative light fixtures with less expensive ones, eliminating six of the 12 exercise stations and installing sections of fence with black vinyl chain-link rather than wrought iron.

Even with the changes, the park is still an estimated $200,000 over budget. Taylor said the city will borrow the money from the city’s reserve fund and replace it next year with Hospitality Tax revenue.

The city plans to use a portion of its Hospitality Tax revenue to fund the lion’s share of the project cost. The city also received a $350,000 Appalachian Regional Council grant, a $40,000 grant from the state’s Parks and Recreational Development fund and a $50,000 grant from The Timken Foundation to cover the remaining costs.

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