By Dedra Cordle
The construction of an enclosed community shelter house will soon begin in the village of Urbancrest.
At a special meeting on Aug. 30, village council approved a contract with Palmetto Construction Services LLC to build the pavilion while also approving an increase to cover the cost of the construction project.
According to Brian Coghlan, the vice-president of the engineering and surveying firm Bird and Bull, the cost of the project has risen from $800,000 to $1.15 million due to the inclusion of additional bathroom services and utility hookups.
The construction plan calls for a multi-stall and handicap accessible bathroom for both men and women within the pavilion as well as a stand-alone bathroom facility, similar to the one near the playground at Fryer Park in Grove City, within walking distance of the pavilion.
The latter portion of those plans were approved previously by council as many residents and visitors to the Martin Luther King Park had expressed frustration by the lack of access to a nearby bathroom facility.
With the approval of additional funding, the park pavilion project is officially slated to begin, yet there is no firm date as to when they will be breaking ground.
“We don’t have an exact date, but it will be open before next summer,” said Coghlan.
The park pavilion, which will be located near the open field adjacent to the Municipal Hall, the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA and the Union Baptist Church, has been something the village has needed for a long time, said Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr.
According to Barnes, residents have been saying for years that they were tired of leaving the community in order to host large gatherings for birthdays, family reunions, holidays and other celebrations.
He said with the construction of a park pavilion, the community will be able to have a safe and close space within the village to host those gatherings.
“There was a great need and a desire for the pavilion to be built in the community,” Barnes said. “They’re really excited for, as am I.”
Though there is community excitement for the project, there are also concerns, namely when it comes to property safety during off-hours construction and a potential restriction to the playground during on-hours construction.
E. Richard McDaniel, pastor of the Union Baptist Church, went to the meeting to have those concerns he had about the project addressed.
Coghlan said construction equipment will be locked in a secure and fenced in area away from the church, and there will be no restrictions in access to the playground. He did, however, say that portions of the walking/jogging path will be adjusted to make room for the stand-alone bathroom facility.
Barnes said that though there may be some growing pains as the construction begins, it will be worth the hassle in the end.
“This is a pavilion that will be available to the community year round,” he said.