VALPARAISO | The city took another step Friday in its planning for the expansion of Central Park Plaza with the approval of a new contract with Design Organization to finalize the schematic for the proposed addition.
Parks Director John Seibert told Valparaiso's Board of Public Works and Safety the work will be completed by the end of March so the city will be ready to move on to the preparation of the construction drawings. He said the goal is to open bids in August and begin construction after the Popcorn Festival.
"Design Organization has helped craft the vision of the park that will be outstanding," Seibert said.
The contract will bring the total amount paid to DO to about $123,000. The cost of the expansion is estimated at about $8 million with about $3 million of that going for the pavilion, which will also serve as an ice rink in the winter.
A second building with a concession area, storage, public restrooms and housing for the ice rink equipment is planned along with an outdoor fireplace, sculptures and a water feature. Lafayette Street will remain open for regular traffic except during major events at the park.
The board also accepted the $3 million donation announced in November toward the park project from the Urschel family for what is to be the William E. Urschel pavilion in honor of the founder of Urschel Laboratories. The agreement with the family allows the city to use the money toward the capital costs of the pavilion or to use part of it for the maintenance of it.
"This is the single largest gift to the city, and the impact with be felt for generations," Mayor Jon Costas said. "This will make it feasible to build the project with half the money coming from private donations."
Seibert said announcements of other contributions toward the project will be made in the near future. The city's Redevelopment Commission has pledged $4 million. The addition is expected to be ready by the fall of 2015.