The Oxford City Council Monday approved a $2.84 million contract with Eugene Turner General Contractor of Anniston. The council also approved a resolution to refinance a bond for the unfinished sports complex and save $531,864 in the process.
Fred Denney, the city’s project manager, said the lake project would likely begin in the next 60 days and would last between eight and nine months, depending on the winter weather. Denney said parts of the lake and walking track would be closed to the public while work was under way.
“We’ll try to keep up to half of it open all the time,” Denney said.
The lake project, which has been in the planning phase for months, will mainly focus on replacing the old, rotting wooden retaining walls for the lake and the island. The walls will be replaced with a synthetic sheet pile system. The city has periodically had to repair the lake through the years.
In addition, the project includes constructing several pavilions around the lake. The pavilions are designed to resemble the lake’s old boat houses, which were removed in the 1970s. One pavilion will be large enough to fit 100 people. There will also be two fishing pavilions and two pavilions near the parking area for small parties. The plan also calls for the addition of a large water fountain and repairs to the walking track around the lake.
The more than $500,000 in savings comes from refinancing a 2006 $17 million bond for the city’s sports complex. The facility is currently under construction across from the Oxford Exchange.
“Most of the savings will be on reduced debt service,” said Clifford Lanier of the Frazer Lanier Company, which handles the city’s bonds.
The project is behind schedule because work was stopped for more than a year after ancient Indian remains were uncovered at the site. A long-negotiated mitigation plan with an Indian tribe that laid out what to do about the remains eventually allowed the project to move forward.
Also during the meeting, the council approved a $45,937 contract with Jerry Doss Construction Inc. to build a walking track around the Cheaha Community Center. The walking track will be a third of a mile long and will have benches. The council has postponed voting on the project twice because of absent council members who had questions about it.
The Taylor Corporation in Oxford first had the project,but Jerry Doss later offered a proposal that was nearly $3,000 cheaper.
“We first just got one proposal but then the council wasn’t comfortable with just one so we gave other companies more time to offer proposals,” Denney said.
Neither company had to go through the regular bidding process because the project did not pass the minimum $50,000 bidding law threshold, said Council President Chris Spurlin.
Council members June Reaves and Steven Waits both voted against the project, but for different reasons.
Reaves said it might be possible to construct the track for less money. She said the contractor for the recently completed Bynum Community Center told her the walking track there cost less than $25,000. However, Denney said the Cheaha walking track will include construction not needed at the Bynum Center.
“There will be five different lines of concrete pipe that will need to be laid,” Denney said.
Waits said he would rather the track money be spent on other projects.
“I’m not against the track … I just think it’s a priority issue,” Waits said. “But there are police cars without working cameras … that’s a priority to me.”
Spurlin agreed with Waits that the cameras should also be a priority and asked Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge to bring back cost estimates for the equipment at the next council meeting. After the meeting, Partridge said the cameras did need an upgrade.
“They are just old cameras and a few of them don’t work,” Partridge said. “It’s time to replace them.”
The council also approved a $16,000 contract with Birmingham engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood for engineering plans to remodel the intersection of Friendship Road and Leon Smith Parkway. The council has discussed for months ways to fix the intersection, which has a relatively high rate of vehicle crashes.
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star