By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Some dreams unfold slowly. Norman’s conception for the expansion of its trails and parks is a grand vision including the Legacy Park located inside the University North Park on 24th Avenue Northwest, the extension of Legacy Trail and Ruby Grant Park on the west side of town.
Those plans have unfolded more slowly than some city dreamers might have hoped, but at long last, despite delays created by recession economics, Legacy Park, at least is in the works.
Included in the base bid are a wishbone entry drive, enhanced treatment of Legacy Park Drive, entry portals, an amphitheater with stage, cover and grass surface seating area that will hold between 700 and 1,000 people. Also included are a one acre pond with programmable fountains, a promenade walk around the pond, an arbor on the west side, restrooms, walkways on the west and extensive landscaping and pedestrian lighting.
The amphitheater will be used for community events, some of which will be held at night when the lighting will be needed.
Alternate enhancements have been under discussion for the past month. The city received five bids with the low base bid from CGC, LLC at $5,525,900 and alternate items at $1.495 million for a total of $7,020,900. The engineer’s estimate for the base bid was just more than $6 million with an additional $1.9 million in alternate items coming to a total $7.9 million.
Currently, the city is likely to approve only $5,897,900 total. Over $1 million in alternate items under consideration will be deferred or not included in the contract.
Members of city council have indicated they would like to hold off on $258,000 of proposed alternative items to add landscaping, sidewalks, benches, trash receptacles and lighting to the public right of way surrounding the detention pond to the north of the park. Those improvements could be forthcoming in the future, but will be deferred for the time being.
Another alternative enhancement — additional water features proposed with a price tag of $865,000 — will not be implemented. Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said that’s a pretty hefty price tag considering there are already fountains in the pond. Other members of council agreed. Instead, they will seek enhancement of the pond fountains.
Architect Scott Howard, who is leading the design team from Howard and Fairbairn, will check with Delta Fountains to find out the price tag on upgrading the pond fountains.
The pond water features already include perimeter jets and a main set of jets in the center that spray up into the air. Another bank of jets makes a curved, almost semi-circle, in the center of the pond.
“These can be timed and programed in different ways,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jud Foster. “They have lighting with them.”
Those fountains already create a lot of water movement and council members felt the additional expense of another $800,000 is not warranted. Instead, they want to know the price tag of having the fountains in the pond synch with music.
“Those things exist,” Foster said.
The price tag will be the determining factor. The city will also look at the price tag of adding more fountains in the pond and more lights.
Construction is underway on Legacy Drive which will connect the park to 24th Avenue. Restaurants are planned near the park. Construction on the park has not started yet.
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