April 18, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 52

Construction begins for Aspen Grove Park

After years of planning, construction has finally begun on Aspen Grove Park in the city of Airway Heights.

J.C. Kennedy

Located just east of Craig Road north of Highway 2, the park is in the adjacent area of Aspen Grove Third Edition. The park will eventually have access via Ketchum Drive, off of Sixth Avenue. Until that road is constructed, however, the main access comes from Craig Road.

Approximately 8.5 acres in size, phase one largely includes a large amount of earthwork in order to shape the park into a useable location. Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director J.C. Kennedy said in an email that phase one also includes installation of the automated irrigation system, topsoiling, seeding and the installation of a paved pathway system.

Earlier this month, the Airway Heights City Council approved a bid for developing phase one of Aspen Grove Park to Schimmels Construction Development Group, Inc., for $319,578. Construction in phase one should last until July 1 this year, amounting to a 60-day build.

“We were going to bid it in the fall, but it was so late in the season that we didn’t bid it,” Kennedy said. “So we held off, and waited for early spring to bid out.”

Springtime tends to have a more open schedule for construction companies, thus allowing for more competitive bids to come in. Kennedy said the city hoped to go out to bid in the summer of 2012, but topography documents and other minor pieces weren’t completed.

A master plan for the park was completed in 2008, following an agreement with the residential area’s developer. The parcel was donated to the city, which then had to meet certain benchmarks including having a master plan within two years of the donation. Within five years, it needed to break ground.

In order to meet the deadline, phase one of the park was scaled back a bit.

Kennedy said both the Cleveland and Aspen Grove parks had master plans created at the same time, but Aspen Grove is a “significantly larger site for Airway Heights.”

Currently, the project is being funded through city dollars. Kennedy and his crew, however, are hard at work writing a number of grants to secure additional funds.

“We think we really have a strong application,” he said regarding one of the grants that will be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources

Phase two will include the placement of a parking lot, in order to allow better access to the site. But, that development will come in tandem with the residential area.

“It will be driven by when the housing around the park develops,” Kennedy said.

Among the other elements needed in the early stages of the park include planting trees and building playgrounds. Down the road, when the park is nearly finished, Kennedy said a water feature will be one of the final touches added to the location.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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