Bids sought for Fireman’s Park improvement project
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The village board voted Monday, July 15, to authorize staff to seek bids for making improvements at Fireman’s Park estimated to cost more than $200,000.
The proposed improvements include a kayak/canoe launch and path. The plans for the project call for an eight-foot-wide boardwalk from Side Street into Fireman’s Park.
From there, a 10-foot-wide asphalt path would continue to West Deerfield Avenue.
Based on the project cost, Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the village has secured about $96,000 in total grants, while remainder needed beyond the grants would come from Tax Incremental Financing District No. 2 funding.
“At this point, we are ready with all the engineering to go out and bid for the project,” Kaker said. “This project can be found, at least pretty closely, to the definitions in your comprehensive plan, your outdoor trail plan, as well as a couple of other planning documents that you have.”
A memo Kaker provided to the board noted the village’s 2013-17 outdoor recreation and open space plan called for investigating the feasibility of constructing a fishing/canoeing access point along the Suamico River at Fireman’s Park.
The memo further stated Suamico’s 2015 comprehensive plan update recommended the village “develop parkways with trails as linear parks along waterways, especially along the Suamico River.”
Trustee Michelle Eckert, who cast the lone dissenting vote against bidding out the project, took exception with how the size of the project has expanded since it first was proposed.
“A few years ago I might have suggested a kayak launch,” Eckert said. “I was assured that it would stay simple, and it’s almost $250,000 now. I think it’s over the top, the kayak launch, but I guess I’m concerned about the boardwalk and the trail.”
When Eckert asked about how much maintenance would be involved at Fireman’s Park once the improvements would be made, Director of Public Works Andy Smits said he wouldn’t expect the path to have any winter snow maintenance done on it because it wouldn’t necessarily serve any function for use in the wintertime.
“I think this phase of the project ends at West Deerfield, so the trail needs to get people from West Deerfield to Vickery Village,” Smits said. “From West Deerfield they can get to County B now, which has a nice multi-use path on it, and from there they can get on the east side (of Interstate 41) to CITGO, Burger King, so it kinds of connects those spots anyway.”
Trustee Sky Van Rossum said he didn’t have a problem with the project having become larger than the original idea of placing a kayak launch at Fireman’s Park.
“I’m OK with it, because it’s ADA compliant, and it offers a service not a lot of folks have,” Van Rossum said. “Also, we have the trails. This originally did not have trails.”
Trustee Dan Roddan brought up the issue of only one handicapped parking spot being designated, which is required, and suggested having two at Fireman’s Park.
“I don’t know if we can squeeze another one in there somewhere,” Roddan said. “I think that would be useful… Being that it’s an ADA accessible launch, we may want a second handicapped parking spot available for people who are going to utilize that launch.”
Village President Laura Nelson said she favored holding off on designating a second handicapped parking space until knowing what the use of the facility is going to be.
Kaker said the board will have the opportunity to look at the project again when bids are received, prior authorizing the work to proceed with the lowest bidder.