Buda City Park design approved over budget

Buda’s final City Park design documents were approved by city council Tuesday, despite construction estimates still being over budget.

With design documents complete, the project will be put out to bid for construction later this month. The city administrators and council members hope that bids will come in more in line with budget estimates.

Claire Hempel, a principal at Design Workshop, the planning and design company working on the park design, gave a presentation on the completed design and cost estimates.

Hempel explained that an original cost estimate of $7,635,595 for the project was revised down to $5,330,350, still more than $1 million over budget.

The park is part of the 2014 Bond Proposition 5 Park and Trail Improvements.

A portion of the city’s original bond money for the proposition was allocated toward acquiring the land for the John D. and Byrd Mims Garison Memorial Park. A good opportunity came up to buy the land, leaving a little more than $4 million for the city park project budget.

Almost $780,000 of optional pieces for the park, including additions to the planned amphitheater, lighting and a sidewalk around the amphitheater, could be added later.

City administrators said the city is looking at additional funding options, but are also waiting to get more accurate cost estimates from bids. Assistant City Manager Chance Sparks said the city is looking at sponsorships to try to cover the gap.

Mayor George Haehn asked City Attorney George Hyde if the city could potentially use the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) for overruns on the budget. Hyde said there is a possibility.

Hempel said the Design Workshop team has already stripped some non-essentials in the park such as downsizing the planting, using a smaller caliber of trees, and stripping down the amount of paving.

After bids are in, construction will take 10 to 12 months to complete.

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