Memo-03-08-2016-Item9

March 8, 2016

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Senator Jean Preston Memorial Park

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to formally consider five separate items associated with the construction of the new Senator Jean Preston Memorial Park at the March 8 meeting.  Assuming Board approval, we expect to begin construction soon after the March 8 meeting, and complete all work in time for a May 25 grand opening of the new park (77 days from now). 

Resolution Accepting Trillium Grant for Playground Construction

The attached resolution  indicates the Town’s formal acceptance of a $225,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources for construction of a new playground at the Senator Jean Preston Memorial Park site. 

The most significant grant requirement is that the new playground incorporate inclusive playground components that are fully functional and accessible to individuals with special needs and individuals in wheelchairs.  The Town is pleased to be able to incorporate these play components into the new park, as the late Senator Preston had a special interest in special needs children, among her other important priorities (education, the coastal environment, and Emerald Isle). 

The Town will provide a total of $50,000 in matching funds for this grant, primarily consisting of private donations received for the new park.  Several local businesses have also committed approximately $25,000 of in-kind services and materials for the project.

The Town is very fortunate to secure these grant funds, and greatly appreciates Trillium’s assistance with this project.

Revised Site Plan

As a result of unanticipated permit challenges associated with the original parking plan for the new playground (that relied on the existing asphalt roadway across the park site), a revised site plan has been prepared. 

The revised site plan  abandons the use of the existing asphalt roadway, and calls for the removal of approximately 2,645 sq. ft. of asphalt to be replaced with sod.  A new 9-vehicle parking area is now planned for southeast corner of the park site, and will enable an easier connection from the main parking area of the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area and more effective infiltration of storm water runoff.  The relocated parking area will also result in an unobstructed view of Bogue Sound from the playground area, and reserve additional grassy area along the coastal wetlands for any future park improvements.   

A new, 6 ft. wide paver block sidewalk  is included from the terminus of Canal Drive, along with a new, 6 ft. wide paver block sidewalk leading from the parking area to the playground and the new wooden walkway that will link the park to the existing soundside pier at the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area.  The new wooden walkway is identical to that included in the previous site plan, and will be attached to the existing retaining wall along the main parking area of the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area.

Private contractors will construct the new playground and the new walkway, and resolutions for each of these contracts are presented for Board approval on March 8.  The removal of the existing asphalt roadway and construction of the new 9-vehicle parking area will be completed by SunLand Builders, with a significant portion of the labor and materials contributed at no cost to the Town.  The paver blocks for the new sidewalks have been donated by suppliers through the efforts of Yardworks, and paver block installation will be performed by Task Contracting.  Sewell Turf Grass will provide sod, and Yardworks will provide labor and other landscaping improvements at the site at no cost.  The Town is extremely fortunate to have generous, community-minded contractors assisting with this project.

Resolution Authorizing Playground Construction Contract

The attached resolution  formally authorizes a contract with PlayWorld Preferred, Huntersville, NC in the amount of $224,998.80 (net of sales tax to be refunded to the Town) for the construction of a new inclusive playground.

Town staff solicited proposals for the new playground  in mid-February, and the Town received a total of 4 proposals for the new playground.  It is important to note that the Town’s grant agreement with Trillium requires their approval of the playground design, and the Town’s request for proposals noted this requirement.  As such, all 4 proposals were reviewed by Trillium Health Resources, and Trillium indicated that 2 of the proposals (from American Park and Recreation Company, Tampa, FL and from PlayNation of Western NC, Asheville, NC) did not incorporate sufficient inclusive playground components to satisfy Trillium grant requirements.  The other 2 proposals were submitted by PlayWorld Preferred, Huntersville, NC and Carolina Park & Play, Cary, NC.  Both proposals meet Trillium’s requirements, and both are excellent playground designs.  After a careful review, Town staff believe that both proposals offer similar quantity, quality, and functionality, and we believe that both proposals would create an exceptional playground experience at the Senator Jean Preston Memorial Park, but we believe that PlayWorld Preferred submitted a slightly better overall proposal.  Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation Director, Judy Wilgus, and I all preferred the PlayWorld proposal, and a random sample of parents and children that reviewed the playground graphics (attached) also preferred the PlayWorld proposal.  In light of these preferences, in the absence of other distinguishing differences, and in accordance with NC contracting law, Town staff recommend award of the playground construction contract to PlayWorld on the basis of a (very, very) slightly lower price and a better overall proposal for the Town’s interests.  PlayWorld’s proposal is slightly lower than Carolina Park & Play, by the very slimmest of margins - $1.20 less or $36.92 less, depending on how the sales tax is factored into the equation.  (Carolina Park & Play’s proposal is exactly $225,000, net of sales tax to be refunded to the Town.)  A summary of the 4 proposals is attached for the Board’s review. 

The new playground will be located on an approximately 80 ft. x 80 ft. area in the center of the park site, with numerous play components designed for children between the ages of 2 and 12.  Graphics of the playground design are attached, and include a variety of play components, swings, and sensory equipment, along with a rubber play surface across the entire playground area.  The Board should note that the rubber play surface represents approximately 1/3 of the total playground cost, but is a required feature. 

Town staff have stipulated that construction of the new playground should begin as soon as possible after the March 8 meeting, and that all work should be complete by April 30.  PlayWorld has committed to meet the April 30 deadline.  As noted earlier, the new park is scheduled to open on May 25, the date of Senator Preston’s 81st birthday.  We will be working hard to insure proper coordination among the various contractors working on this project to insure that the new playground opens on May 25 as planned. 

Resolution Authorizing Walkway Construction Contract

The attached resolution  formally authorizes a contract with B&P Services, Cedar Point, NC in the amount of $29,919 for the construction of a new 410 ft. long, 6 ft. wide elevated wooden walkway leading from the new playground area to the existing soundside pier.

Town staff solicited informal bids  in late February from 2 contractors who have successfully completed other Town walkway projects in the past.  B&P Services submitted the lowest bid for this project, with a total bid of $29,919 (the other bid was submitted by Barnacle Construction, Goldsboro, NC in the amount of $38,950).  The new walkway will be attached to the existing retaining wall along the north boundary of the main parking lot at the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area, enabling the use of existing piling supports for one side of the new walkway.  This route is adjacent to an existing storm water wetland that serves the main parking area, and should also include beautiful views of the coastal marsh and Bogue Sound.  The new walkway will be constructed and sloped such that it remains 30 inches or less above the existing grade, thus no railings are required (with the exception of the direct wetland crossing).  The new walkway will tie in seamlessly to the existing soundside pier and other wooden walkways at the boat basin area, including a safe connection to the existing restroom building

The new walkway will be constructed with funding derived from donations received from various individuals over the past 2 years.  The generosity of many in our community and others with a personal connection to Senator Preston will enable the construction of this beneficial amenity now (rather than later, as originally envisioned), and will provide a safe link to the other amenities at the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area.  The result should be a first-class park experience for visitors to the new Senator Jean Preston Memorial Park.

Town staff have also stipulated that the construction of the new walkway should begin as soon as possible after the March 8 meeting, and that all work should be complete by April 30.  B&P Services has committed to meet the Town’s April 30 deadline.

Capital Project Ordinance Amendment

The attached capital project ordinance amendment formally recognizes the Trillium grant for this project, and also amends the previously established budget to reflect the use of donations and other funding sources for the new walkway and other associated project expenses.

The attached capital project ordinance amendment establishes a total amended budget of $278,744 for the overall project.  (This amount does not include anticipated in-kind contributions, estimated at approximately $25,000.)  Of this total, $225,000 is anticipated from the Trillium grant, $45,000 from donations, and $8,744 from previously allocated Town funds. 

I am excited to see the Senator Jean Preston Memorial Playground become a reality in the coming months, and look forward to a fitting celebration on May 25.  Alesia Sanderson and Judy Wilgus, Committee Chair (and the driving force behind the new park) will be available at the March 8 meeting to answer any questions.