While still $1.1 million over the planned $4.1 million budget, the Buda City Council approved design documents for improvements to Buda City Park by a 7-0 vote Dec. 5.
Claire Hempel, a representative with Design Workshop, updated the Buda City Council on design changes meant to cut costs in the project, which now has an estimate of $5.2 million.
However, the current estimate is a far cry from the initial $8.1 million price tag the project carried.
“We’re over budget, but we want to keep the heart of the design the same,” Hempel said.
Hempel said additional design changes could ultimately reduce the project $750,000 over budget.
Some examples of design cuts included eliminating many of the planned concrete pathways in the park and replacing the concrete in other pathways with a crushed granite or gravel mixture, Hempel said.
Other cuts involved using crushed granite or gravel for parking space, instead of complete asphalt parking and eliminating the proposed pavilion parking altogether.
City staff, along with Hempel and her team, recommended moving forward with construction documents now so as to get bids on the project before the New Year.
Hempel said funding could be found through corporate sponsorships, where a large sponsor would donate money toward the construction of the project in exchange for its name or logo displayed on it.
“This is a way a lot of parks get things built,” Hempel said.
Council members were pleased with the design, but were a little shaken by a $560,000 price tag for the restroom facility.
The proposed facility would consist of 6 unisex stalls, a shared lavatory and a pump house for the water feature.
Assistant City Manager Chance Sparks said that in order for the project to get off the ground, they could authorize the construction documents now and could add in certain features in the future, such as more concrete pathways or asphalt parking.
Council members Lee Urbanovsky and Paul Daugereau were in favor of obtaining a corporate sponsorship for the cost of a proposed amphitheater.
City Manager Kenneth Williams said the amphitheater would be done in-house.
Design Workshop will issue construction documents for the project, which would take 14 weeks. Hempel said the bidding would take another six weeks, with construction taking anywhere from 10 to 12 months.
Groundbreaking on the city park improvements could happen as early as April or May 2018 with project completion slated for as early as March 2019.