City Council Moves Forward with Jordan Park Splash PadJune 5th, 2009 by Joe Burgess
The Monticello City Council’s regular meeting June 4 centered around a lively discussion of issues pertaining to plans for the new splash pad at Jordan Park. While all council members said they approved of installing a splash pad at the park, several members expressed concern about the presented resolutions and other issues.
The agenda included three items pertaining to the Jordan Park splash pad: (1) a resolution to authorize the construction of the pad; (2) consideration from the council to re-designate money set aside for the swimming pool at Jordan Park to the splash pad; and (3) a resolution to authorize the mayor to execute a contract for professional services for construction of the splash pad.
As the first resolution came to the table, councilmember Tim Chase requested it be read in full. Chase said, “I’m all for a splash pad; it will be a good thing for Jordan Park and our community.” However, Chase said he did not agree with the entire resolution.
In addition to authorizing the construction of the splash pad and the request of bids for construction, the resolution would allocate $375,000 in funds set back for construction of a swimming pool at Jordan Park to construction of the splash pad.
Chase’s concerns pertained to a portion of the final paragraph, which states the mayor is authorized to develop plans for the construction of the splash pad for an amount of up to $450,000. Chase said he wanted the council to be included in selecting a bid, and that he did not think the resolution should include a fixed price.
Mayor Joe Rogers said he is trying to get authorization to get the project started, and that he will make no decisions without involving the council. He said if the city starts now the splash pad could open June 1, 2010.
During the City Council meeting April 23, ETC Engineering and Architects, Inc. presented a design for the splash pad, as well as two cost estimates. ETC quoted $600,000 for a 15,000 square-foot facility and $450,000 for a 10,000 square-foot facility.
According to Rogers, the $450,000 quote will include all the features detailed in the diagram, which includes a concrete slab with several water features enclosed by an ornamental fence, as well as benches inside and outside the fence.
The city already has a little over $375,000 allocated in the budget; therefore, it would need approximately $75,000 more to install the water feature. Rogers said he did not want to spend more than the specified $450,000 quoted by ETC Engineering and Architects, Inc.
Council members Claudia Hartness and Carolyn Brown brought the issue of supervision and plumbing concerns to the table.
Hartness said, due to the vandalism that destroyed the original swimming pool at Jordan Park, she wanted assurance that the park would have supervision either by the local police or by an employed park manager. Ward 1 council members disagreed with the statement that vandalism rendered the pool useless.
According to Sherrie Gillespie and Al Peer, the city took parts from the Jordan Park pool to repair the City Park pool because of lack of use at Jordan Park. Peer said it was “cannibalism, not vandalism” that rendered the Jordan Park pool useless.
Gillespie said Jordan Park has no more vandalism than any other parks in the area. She also said the community is involved and willing to look after the park. Chase added, one of the good things about the park is it doesn’t need supervision. He said the city has to have good faith in the community to take care of it.
Beverly Hudson noted that other cities run splash pads without the extra expense of employees, and Monticello should be able to as well. Brown added that the Paragould director said the city police were more than willing to make rounds at the park, and the Monticello Police Department would probably do the same.
“We need to run it just like McCloy Park,” Hartness said, “we need someone down there to supervise it.”
The council did not make a definitive decision pertaining to supervision at the park once the splash pad is installed. However, Brown noted the potential for local law enforcement supervision, while Gillespie said the community would also be willing to look after the new feature.
Councilmember Carolyn Brown raised concerns over the plumbing required for the splash pad. Brown said she spoke with splash pad directors in Paragould and Jonesboro pertaining to plumbing issues and solutions.
According to Brown, the director in Jonesboro said they were not happy with the plumbing. She also spoke with the director in Paragould, who said they employed local plumbers to maintain the splash pad. The use of local plumbers allows for more immediate repairs. Rogers said the bid is item per item, so it would be up to the local plumbers to place a bid on the project.
Amid the discussions, Clifton Bond made a motion to adopt the resolution as is, which raised scattered applause from the audience. During the first round of voting to accept the resolution, Hubbard, Hartness, Brown, Chase, and Hudson voted negative. Hudson said the resolution did not correspond with the agenda.
City Attorney Bill Daniels suggested the council move to the third splash pad item on the agenda, which authorizes the mayor to execute a contract for professional services for construction of a splash pad at Jordan Park, so the council moved to the second resolution
The council approved the resolution 7-1, authorizing the mayor to execute the contract for ETC Engineering and Architects, Inc. for services pertaining to the construction of the splash pad at Jordan Park.
No action was taken on agenda items 9a and 9b, which include a resolution to authorize the construction of a splash pad at Jordan Park and to re-designate money set aside for the swimming pool at Jordan Park to the construction of a splash pad.