Playground update

Fort Oglethorpe Public Works and Recreation Director Jeff Long discusses the drainage project attached to the Gilbert-Stephenson Park playground renovation project during the Aug. 26 City Council meeting.

The city of Fort Oglethorpe has closed the Gilbert-Stephenson Park playground due to pending construction with the plan to reopen the venue early next year.

During the last City Council meeting of August, city officials awarded a construction bid for park’s drainage project that will coincide with the playground renovation.

On Aug. 26, Public Works and Recreation Director Jeff Long laid out the needs for the park, as well as proposed timeline for the work.

“We put out for bid proposals to replace the 30-inch storm drain that runs through from one side of the park to the other on the west side end of the playground,” Long said. “It’s metal corrugated pipe, and a lot of the bottom of it has rusted out due to age. We’re also going to put in some under-drainage for the new renovated playground that we’re getting ready to begin construction on.”

Long explained that three bids were opened on Aug. 8, and that Talley Construction gave the lowest, most responsive bid in the amount of $148,867.40, which will be paid for out of the city’s playground equipment fund.

Long added that the playground will be closed until possibly mid-January.

“They’ll probably start construction around mid-September, and they’ll be working with the playground company to make sure everything is there as far as what we submitted,” Long said. “As soon as they get done with that, probably sometime toward the middle or end of November, then the playground company will come in. We’re planning on probably January 2020 for when it’ll be complete.”

The existing playground was built in the mid-1990s, which prompted the city to award a $581,000 bid for new equipment in May of this year.

In addition to unanimously approving the bid for the playground drainage, the city also approved the expenditure of $30,000 for new holiday décor that’ll be seen along the town’s main streets during the Christmas season.

“We’re proposing to replace the decorations that are on the light poles on Highway 27, Lafayette Road, and Battlefield Parkway,” Long said. “Our lights are approximately 15 years old, and one of the things is that with the visibility of the street lights, you can hardly see them.”

Long explained that his department recommended going with a larger bulb to help with the visibility issues.

“We are proposing three different ornaments that we picked out, and they’ll have the garland on them, and then we had to up-size the lighting from C-7 to C-9 bulbs, so it will make it brighter and more visible,” Long said. “We had four bids that went out on each one of them. We’ll be purchasing 35 of each decoration, so a total of 105. The low bid was from Holiday Designs in Gainesville, Ga., and their bid price was $31,100.”

Once approved, Long said the vendor promised to give the city an additional discount of $1,100, which brings the purchase total to an even $30,000.

Long says each decoration is of significant size so that it can be easily seen along city streets.

“Most of them have anywhere from 35 to 50 bulbs on them and they’re about 4½ feet wide and 8 feet tall,” Long said.

“These are long overdue for this city,” Mayor Earl Gray added.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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