By Zach Hagadone
Crews with local dock builder C.E. Kramer started work Feb. 20 at the War Memorial Field waterfront, staging equipment and preparing to get underway on Phase 2 of the long-running project to expand and improve the dock, boat launch and surrounding facilities at the park.
The work will include replacing and extending the 960 square feet of existing log float docks with 1,664 square feet of steel frame and floating docks, later installing a 200-foot-long log boom wave attenuator.
Parks Planning and Development Manager Maeve Nevins-Lavtar told the Reader that construction should take “two to three weeks max,” but spread over the course of the winter and spring, with everything buttoned up by mid-May, assuming all goes to plan.
“I believe about two weeks on the docks — that’s what they’re starting construction on this week — and about a week more for the new wave attenuator,” she said. “That portion will be completed later this spring when lake levels rise, as a barge/crane will be required for the installation.”
City Hall is not anticipating any impacts to park users during construction on the project, which represents a significant milestone in a years-long series of improvements at Memorial Field.
Funded in large part by a 1% local option tax approved by voters in 2015, Phases 1 and 2 of work at the field included a new grandstand and infrastructure upgrades completed in 2017, followed by resurfacing of the field with artificial turf and upgrades to perimeter hard surfacing, parking, drainage and stormwater, lighting and landscaping, all completed in 2021 — after the city adopted its Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2020.
Phase 1 of the dock facility work included boat launch improvements such as an accessible pathway, restroom, boat wash station, launch ramp, and kayak launch and dock, also completed in 2021, paid for with $512,336 from the fiscal 2021-’22 budget.
Phase 2 — including the dock expansions, wave attenuator and a paved storage area intended to improve maintenance access to fencing at the field— had originally been allocated $450,000 in the 2022-’23 budget, but bids came in lower than expected.
The current construction total for Phase 2 comes to approximately $325,018, including pre-construction engineering and permitting, and funds were provided by a matching grant of $275,463 from the Waterways Improvement Fund awarded in 2021 but extended to 2023, as well as $49,555 in matching dollars from the Parks and Rec. Capital Improvement Fund.
City officials had anticipated finishing Phase 2 of the dock project in 2022, but Nevins-Lavtar said work had been delayed due to supply chain disruptions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the fall of 2022, and throughout the winter of 2023, City Hall has been working on developing the design and raising dollars for even more park improvements, including a dog park and more waterfront access.
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