Construction of new amenities at Brook Run Park including a band shell and two multiuse fields could begin as soon as April 1, but the city still doesn’t know how it plans to pay for the expected $7.5 million price tag.
“When are we going to discuss how we are going to pay for this?” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said at the Sept. 11 council meeting.
Her question followed a presentation from Project Manager Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services that showed the overall budget of the proposed additions and renovations at $7.5 million.
City Manager Eric Linton told Deutsch and others that he had been working with Finance Director Chris Pike to find the money for Brook Run Park. He said Pike would discuss options with the council Budget Committee on Sept. 13 when they meet to discuss a 2018 budget amendment and the proposed 2019 budget.
Linton did not provide a clue of where the money would come from. Pike was not at the council meeting. The council did not press for more details.
Mayor Denis Shortal, who worked with Pike to come up with the proposed 2019 budget, also said he didn’t know where the money was going to come from.
“I keep questioning the money. This is not cheap,” he said.
The $7.5 million number is the same figure presented to the council in July when the council approved moving forward on the Brook Run Park design plans. The figure is not expected to fluctuate in the next two months, according to Johnson.
He explained the city is undertaking the Brook Run Park project differently than the Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields by combining the design process with construction pricing to be able to deliver the “guaranteed maximum budget.”
With the baseball fields, the city paid a firm to design the fields and then separately put out a bid for construction. That process included last-minute changes to the design and unexpected construction costs, resulting in a final cost of some $7 million — close to $3 million more than the city expected to pay.
The fields were built between Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School after the city swapped the Dunwoody Park baseball fields with the DeKalb County School District to build a new Austin Elementary School. In return, the school district paid the city $3.6 million to help cover costs of the new fields.
Lose and Associates has been working with commercial builder Reeves Young since April to pinpoint the final price tag.
Lose and Associates was hired in February for $324,000 for the Brook Run Park design plans. Reeves Young was hired in April for $15,200 for pre-construction services. Both were selected after a public bid process.
Reeves Young plans to provide the city a guaranteed maximum budget for approval in December. Locking in a budget by the end of the year ensures no unexpected costs in early 2019, Johnson explained.
The planned improvements at Brook Run Park are building two multiuse fields with artificial turf; renovations to the Great Lawn area including a band shell and terraced seating and a pavilion and restrooms; a new parking and picnic area adjacent to the Great Lawn; a new park entrance at Barclay Drive; an open play field adjacent to the Great Lawn; and a disc golf course.