Unveiled during the administration of Mayor Joseph Solomon, the city is moving ahead with plans for a new children’s playground and splash pad in Oakland Beach not far from Greenwich Bay and in …
Unveiled during the administration of Mayor Joseph Solomon, the city is moving ahead with plans for a new children’s playground and splash pad in Oakland Beach not far from Greenwich Bay and in front of Iggy’s.
Last week the Warwick Beacon carried a legal advertisement outlining the project and seeking comment on or before Dec. 12. An element to the project is to make stormwater improvements across from Iggys at the Top of the Bay site that will capture the runoff from the playground and from Oakland Beach Avenue “aiding in improving the water quality of Greenwich Bay.”
William Facente, director of Community Planning, described the legal advertisement as procedural to the next step of designing the project and seeking construction bids. The stated purposes of advertising the project are to inform people within the floodplain and afford them the opportunity to comment; to enhance public notice of what’s planned and out of “fairness” let people know the Federal Government will participate in actions involving the floodplains.
BL Companies, which has a Warwick office, has been selected to do the work under a $60,000 contract. Construction administration is projected to cost an additional $100,000 and the overall project is estimated at $1.2 million. That’s more that what the city has set aside. It has a $400,000 RI DEM grant that it needs to meet with a $80,000 city match and a RI Infrastructure Bank stormwater grant of $225,000 that requires a $65,000 grant.
“We don’t know (what it will cost) until we go out to bid,” said Facente.
Nonetheless, given the city’s experience with the Apponaug and Clegg Field playground projects, both of which were recently approved by the City Council, Facente won’t be surprised if bids exceed estimates. He said contractors are faced with escalating material and labor costs and on top of that lots of work.
Work at the Apponaug playground was estimated at $450,000, but the lowest bid came in at $630,000. The city went with the higher bid of $789,000 based on the work of the contractor and prior experience. Of the total, $320,000 will come from a RI DEM grant with the balance from Community Development Block Grant funds.
The Clegg Field playground faced a similar scenario with the $613,000 contract awarded far exceeding initial estimates.
“All infrastructure projects are extremely costly,” Facente said. In order to meet costs for Oakland Beach, assuming they too will exceed estimates, Facente said will require dipping into American Rescue Plan Act funding.
Facente described the splash pad feature of the playground as a means of “cooling off.” He doesn’t see it being used as showers for those swimming in the bay. He said it will be more of a “mist” and will not require a lifeguard. A feature to the playground will be rubber matting in place of beach sand. Facente is hopeful of going out for bids this spring.
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