Contractor hired for improvements at Havens Gardens

Published 11:08 pm Sunday, February 14, 2016

Game Time/Cunningham Recreation will build and equip the Play Time handicapped-accessible playground at Havens Gardens.

During its meeting last week, the Washington City Council approved spending $264,055.42 for the improvements at the waterfront park. An initial $225,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources provided the money for the project. Eliminating some of the new playground equipment can reduce the project’s cost. The project’s contract has been amended to $280,555.42 to complete all amenities and walkways related to the project. 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, the council approved the transfer of $8,000 between funds to help pay for the relocation of the “big wheel” at Havens Gardens. Initially, the city received a price of $500 to relocate the wheel, which must be moved from its current location so equipment for the Play Together playground can be installed to make the park more accessible for disabled or handicapped children.

“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 subsequent meeting with an OBI representative, 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 — apparently the flywheel of a steam engine at the Mason Lumber Co. in Columbia — is being moved to the bridge side of the park, next to the N.C. Highway 32 bridge that connects Washington and Washington 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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