Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Town Square cost increases by $100K

Increase due to material upgrades, design additions

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Town Square construction is slated to begin April 26, according to a project timeline presented by project planners.

And fundraising efforts for the square have surpassed the project's original estimate of $474,500. Marybeth Flower, fundraising coordinator for the square, said about $521,500 has been raised to date, including the city's $160,000 contribution, but the project's cost has increased to $575,000.

She said the $100,000 increase is due to material upgrades. Plus, the city's Planning and Zoning Commission has requested some design additions. Flower said an example of a material upgrade is the wall of the performance stage. It was originally slated to be plain concrete but has changed to a hard, durable wood.

"It's going to cost more, but it's going to be spectacular," Flower said of all the upgrades.

Another upgrade includes larger trees.

Kurt Eggers, owner of Eggers Associates, a landscape architecture firm that along with Galena Engineering was hired to draw plans for the square, said several additions requested by the P&Z will stack up to form a good deal of the extra costs. The additions include an informational kiosk and removing part of the overhang of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau building to the south, allowing the stage to be moved so it's not sitting over a sewage line.

Eggers said one of the largest additional expenses would be extending the pavers covering the square all the way across the adjacent alley, at a cost of about $30,000, another change suggested by the P&Z.

Despite the design additions, Eggers said the timeline remains the same. The square will be completed by June 30, or sooner, for a July 2 grand opening. Eggers said construction drawings are done and available to contractors, whose bids are due by April 15. Four days later, the Town Square design team will recommend one of the contractors to the City Council for approval.

The city isn't giving only $160,000 to the square, but land as well. The square will be on city- and Urban Renewal Agency-owned lots between the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau headquarters and Giaccobi Square, along East Avenue. Most of it is now a 17-space parking lot. That pavement would be torn up and replaced by pavers and other elements, with the majority of the square being open space. The square's design will provide 11 parking spaces.

Design includes a raised platform for performances, a fountain, a fire pit, solar-powered lighting, trees, tables, benches, pots with flowers and areas for four temporary vendors.

Two public workshops will be held on Wednesday, April 14, for the community to offer its input on making allowances for vendors. Workshops will be noon to 2 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Each workshop will start with a presentation by city staff.

Trevon Milliard:

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