VALPARAISO | The city hopes to transplant a spruce from Forest Park to the five-points roundabout at Calumet Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Vale Park Road next week with the goal of a tree-lighting and roundabout opening ceremony Nov. 24 -- just ahead of Thanksgiving.
That announcement comes as Valparaiso officials grant an extension to complete the project after encountering some minor construction issues.
Project Management Director Don McGinley said the center of the roundabout is about half done, and the contractor for the roundabout, hopes to begin installation of the curb by the middle of next week. To prevent having heavy equipment going over the new curb, the city and landscaper Rob Szrom want to move the tree before the curb work is done.
The tree, formerly located and decorated in the downtown for the holidays, is the right tree in the wrong place at the moment. It's about 20 feet tall and is blocking a portion of a trail.
Parks Horticulturist Steve Martinson suggested the move to the roundabout, and the city's Redevelopment Commission is financing it and the decorating.
McGinley said more soil has to be added to the center of the roundabout, but the tree will have a significant root ball when it is dug up so it should be good for planting and staking the tree to hold it over the winter. He said the conduit is in for the electrical power for the tree and other needs, but the wiring won't be done for another week or two.
He will present four change orders to the city's Board of Public Works and Safety today for approval, including one providing an 11-day extension to complete the project on Nov. 13. McGinley said the rain caused several days delay during the past week and utility conflicts have plagued the project from the start with the discovery of pipelines in different positions or that were previously unknown.
McGinley said traffic through the half-completed roundabout is creating problems with large trucks ignoring the detour signs meant to prevent damage to the newly poured road. The trucks also have broken off a fire hydrant and the base for a decorative light pole. McGinley said the hydrant was relocated.