By Lee Weyhrich
The Pinson City Council is committed to providing its residents with the best park possible, several council members said Thursday.
To this end, the city council has tentatively agreed to increase expenditure for the first phase of the city park project, which will be located near Center Point Parkway between Sweeney Hollow Road and Glen Brook Road.
“We wanted to go over the phases, possibly increasing the scope of Phase I,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said.
Phase I was originally to include parking, roads, a maintenance building, an event center with restrooms and an office, playgrounds, a disc golf course and other amenities such as lighting, landscaping and infrastructure. The first phase was originally estimated at $828,777.06. The council would actually like to increase the scope of this project to around $1 million.
As a whole, the council agrees that the amphitheater, currently a third phase concern, should also be a priority project. The cost of the amphitheater should be around $200,000, according to the estimate by architecture firm Goodwyn Mills & Cawood. If funds allow, the council would like to tender the possibility of also adding the splash pad, originally part of the second phase, to Phase I.
Although the splash pad alone would be a minimum $90,000 expenditure, it would not be outside the realm of possibility to get these additional items, and still stay within a budget of $1 million. Sanders likened it to the recent fine arts center project at Pinson Valley High School.
“The numbers came in with accordance to their budget so well, they were not only able to get the fine arts center but also all the alternate (additional projects),” Sanders said.
These additions to the first phase would help foster what Councilman Robbie Roberts termed “a community focus area,” a place in which multiple events could be held in order to bring the community together.
Funding the project should not be an issue, Sanders said. The mayor estimates a $1 million loan to have a monthly payment between $5,000 and $6,000.
“We are more than adequately prepared for that,” Sanders said.
The council recently paid off the loan for the Civitan, and Sanders hopes to pay off the loan on Pinson City Hall within the next year or so. Those payments combined have been roughly equivalent to the proposed park payment, meaning there would be no functional increase in municipal expenditure.
The council will need to make additional inquiries through the architecture firm before making any final decisions on these changes.
The park plans were released earlier this month, and it was said that Phase I could conceivably be completed in the next 15 months. The total cost of all phases could amount to more than $1.8 million over the course of several years.