Price to relocate wheel jumps from $500 to $8,000

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

Relocating the big wheel at Havens Gardens likely will cost more than initially estimated.

Earlier this month, the Washington City Council authorized moving the wheel — apparently the flywheel of a steam engine at the Mason Lumber Co. in Columbia — to the bridge side of the park, next to the N.C. Highway 32 bridge that connects Washington and Washington Park. That was the option recommended by the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee.

“The contractor grossly underestimated the cost of relocating ‘The Wheel’ at Havens Gardens and the figure provided at the Jan. 11th Council meeting is inaccurate. A staff member for OBI quoted an hourly rate for removing the wheel at Havens Gardens without being on site,” wrote Kristi Roberson, the city’s park and recreation manager, in a memorandum to the mayor and council members.

During a meeting with an OBI representative last week, the city received a formal quote for relocating the wheel. The price jumped from the initial $500 quote to $8,000, which includes setting the wheel and adding a fence around the wheel, according to the memorandum. Roberson said she has located $6,000 in the recreation budget to help cover the $8,000 cost. The city’s Public Works Department is able to provide $2,000 toward the overall cost, she noted in the memorandum.

The wheel must be relocated so equipment for the Play Together playground can be installed to make the park more accessible for disabled or handicapped children, according to another memorandum from Roberson.

An initial $225,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources provides the money for the project. Implementing the plan carries an estimated price tag of $264,055.42, according to a project document. Eliminating some of the new playground equipment can reduce the project’s cost. The project’s contract has been amended to $280,556. Also, the city has received a $3,600 private donation for the project.

The equipment includes items such as an expression swing, crow’s nest (complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act), roller slide, merry musical, water sound panel and merry-go-round. The project also includes a custom-made sign to identify the waterfront park.

In a related matter, Ray Midgett, representing the Historic Port of Washington Project committee, is scheduled to speak to the council about the committee offering its assistance in researching the history of the wheel. The committee wants to work with the city in placing interpretive signage at the wheel describing its history and placement at the waterfront park.






About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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