City ready to begin work on town park
Members of the Madison Downtown Development Authority (DDA) voted Tuesday to authorize the city manager to prepare a â€œRequest for Qualificationsâ€� (RFQ) for prospective project managers for the new city park.
In fact, the city has already delivered park engineering plans to the county, preparatory to moving earth.
â€œI have turned in [engineering] plans to the county building inspector for our land disturbance permit,â€� said Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan.
A donation of $100,000 from a single entity last weekâ€"who wished to remain unknown, said city officialsâ€"brought the to-date total of funds raised for the park to $1.3 million, which is what the city spent to acquire the square downtown block which will comprise the new park. Fundraising will continue until the total goal of $1.5 million is reached or exceeded.
â€œBut at this point, we feel we can move forward on construction,â€� said Callahan.
City Manager David Nunn will distribute RFQ over the next several weeks. The DDA plans to hire a project manager to run the park construction, rather than a general contractor. The DDA hopes to save money by paying a per-hour rate or flat fee to a project manager; city officials also pointed out that it will likely be easier to work with firms and individuals who have offered in-kind services to the project if a manager, rather than a contractor, is overseeing park construction.
There are at least seven separate parts of the park that could be bid out individually by the city as the park comes to fruition over the next 18 months or so. Three structures, including a gazebo, a cottage, and a pavilion, are part of the park; there is also a fountain, masonry, fencing, and landscaping to be handled.
â€œAll of these areas require specialized skills,â€� said Nunn. â€œAll of these elements are very importantâ€"theyâ€™re not hidden. Itâ€™s all very visible, and it all needs to be of a very high quality.â€�
City officials are expected to coordinate soon with county staff members, as the time for earth-moving approaches. The county has pledged to complete the initial grading for the site of the downtown Madison park; County Manager Michael Lamar said that commissioners will likely discuss the matter at an upcoming work session.
â€œ[City Manager] David Nunn and I are in contact on this,â€� said Lamar.