04/23/13 — Moving restroom will add to cost, but new location better, city says

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Moving restroom will add to cost, but new location better, city says

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 23, 2013 1:46 PM

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James Sauls, left, and Harold Sutton of Playtime Installers watch one of the 12 footings for a new picnic shelter at Stoney Creek Park being filled with concrete.

Construction resumed on the restroom and shelter at Stoney Creek Park over the weekend on the sites most recently approved by the granting agency for the project, the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

This is a change from the locations approved at the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, which had the picnic shelter on the east side of the park by the gravel parking area off Ash Street.

The most recent site for the restroom is about 10 yards south of the location approved at the Dec. 17, 2012, and Jan. 22, 2013, City Council meetings where work began April 5 before being halted April 8.

The most recent site will have to be raised up two feet to allow the sewer system to function properly.

The site is behind a stand of trees out of view from the front of former city councilman Bob Waller's house on Randolph Street.

Waller is a driving force behind the Stoney Creek Park Alliance.

In a meeting with three of the SCPA members, including Waller, on April 18, City Manager Scott Stevens told the alliance the go-ahead had been given to the contractor to move both shelters to the west side of the park and informed them of the email from PARTF.

Waller said the location seemed all right and that he would "take the heat," with other association members and Randolph Street residents.

He said that he is probably the one who initially made contact with City Councilman Bill Broadaway about the location of the restroom during construction in early April.

The ground would not have needed to be raised on the previous site.

PARTF, a granting agency that is part of the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, expressed its concerns regarding the changes made to the original plan the agency approved for the park, which originally included two picnic shelters and a restroom on the west side of the park.

The grant from PARTF is paying 50 cents of every $1 spent on the project, however it is unlikely that PARTF will cover half the cost of the work that took place before the change and the cost of undoing that work, Stevens said.

"You are never in a position to appease everyone," he said. "It's a reasonable compromise at this point."

The compromise is not expected to cost the city more than $15,000, he added.

Originally, two picnic shelters were set to go up along with the restroom shelter, but the second picnic shelter was moved to Berkeley Park, causing the city to take on the full cost of $30,000 for that shelter instead of the grant paying half.

Stevens does not think that removing one shelter from the plan will make much of a difference to PARTF as long as the remaining shelters are in their approved locations.

The bid for the project came in at $78,000, half of which is covered by PARTF.

The $39,000 coming from the city in addition to the cost of the Berkeley Park shelter and undoing the work done on the sites approved for the restroom and picnic shelter will bring the out-of-pocket costs to the city up to $84,000.

PARTF became aware of the deviation from the approved plan for the park as well as the recent shut-down through newspaper coverage and made contact with Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard.

In an email sent to Barnard, recreation consultant Steve Moler with NC Parks said, "I feel certain that if the project is altered too much that it may jeopardize future PARTF applications."

Moler went on to say that while Goldsboro is not barred from applying for future grants, one of the elements PARTF considers when approving grants is called "previous grant administration" and that it could affect the agency's decision to approve an application.

The city decided to return to the approved plan, which has the restroom shelter and picnic shelter on the high side of the park, out of the floodplain.

Barnard sees the positives in moving the shelters despite the lost time and funds.

By moving both structures to the west side of the park, as was previously approved in the fall of 2012, they can be accessed from Randolph Street, which is a secondary street, instead of a busy street like Ash Street.

"It's safer access that a family will use. It's a much better spot," Barnard said.