Big improvements — which will include water attractions to help beat the summer heat — are coming to Ben Cooper Park, if they are approved by Georgetown City Council.
At its monthly meeting Thursday, council will consider a staff request to spend up to $110,000 refurbishing the park located on Prince Street in the city’s West End.
The plan calls for entering into an agreement with General Recreation, Inc. for an aquatic playground which will include various water-spraying attractions.
According to a memo presented to council, these types of water activities are a better option than wading pools because they cost less to install, are less expensive to maintain and are safer because there is no standing water.
They are “ideal community recreational attractions,” the memo states.
Mayor Jack Scoville said the improvements to the park are being considered after a committee of council members — Brendon Barber, Peggy Wayne and Rudolph Bradley — met with West End residents about ways to improve the neighborhood.
If approved Thursday, the first of three phases for the improvements will likely be complete by July with the overall project expected to be finished before the end of summer.
Scoville said council first started thinking about the water attraction concept a few years ago while attending a meeting in Greenville and saw a similar setup in a park in that city.
“When I ran for mayor I said I would focus on improving recreation and facilities in the West End. We have moved our pole yard from Ben Cooper park to Maryville. We have installed new sidewalks,” Scoville said, adding a new wastewater project is also in the works.
Passage of the plan is not guaranteed because the project was not placed for bids.
In the past, some council members have said they will be reluctant to support things that do not go through a bidding process.
Councilwoman Jeanette Ard said before she casts a vote she plans to question why bids were not taken.
“I do not like that one bit. Everything ought to be bid out. You get much more for your money,” she said. “I get an uneasy feeling with single source selection.”
Cindi Howard, the city’s administrative assistant, said while the city did not seek bids the project is being conducted through a “state contract.” This means the South Carolina Municipal Association has solicited pricing for playground equipment and found General Recreation to offer the best price.
“Our procurement code allows for that,” Howard said.
East Bay Park will also be a topic of discussion at Thursday’s meeting as council will decide whether to move ahead with plans to landscape the areas around the boat landing.
The city itself has taken bids for this project which will beautify the waterfront side of the park. This is part of an overall repair project for the East Bay Park Boat Landing.
In other business Thursday, council will:
• Welcome any new employees, including Administrator Chris Carter who will be attending his first meeting. Read much more about Carter and his plans for the city in Friday’s Georgetown Times.
• Consider an ordinance that will allow city staff to apply for a $630,750 loan from the South Carolina Water Quality Revolving Fund Authority to finance the cost of Historic District sewer rehabilitation.
• Decide whether to apply for a State Authority loan in the amount of $1,319,925 to construct a new elevated drinking water storage tank. As reported Jan. 30, the water tank next to City Hall may need to be removed because tests show there is a void in the ground underneath most of the structure.
Thursday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown City Hall.
By Scott Harper
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