Anoka moves ahead on park improvements

Plans are moving ahead for parking lot improvements and other upgrades at Sunny Acres and Peninsula Point parks in Anoka.

The city will hire Rum River Contracting as the contractor on a parks and streets project that will include parking lot expansion at Peninsula Point Park, the addition of a parking lot at Sunny Acres and paving on Bryant and Colfax avenues.

At Peninsula Point Park, the city will be adding more parking lot space where the playground equipment is currently located.

“That playground equipment will be relocated to Elm Street Park and new playground equipment will be placed there, a little closer to the pavilion,” said Public Services Director Greg Lee.

The parking lot will be 57 stalls in size.

At Sunny Acres Park there will be a parking lot added at the intersection of 12th and Cleveland with 16 stalls.

A trailway connecting the parking lot to the park will also be constructed.

Rum River Contracting had the low bid on the project of $480,000.

“That was quite a bit over the budgeted amount of $280,000,” Lee said. “So we worked with Rum River Contracting to see what we could trim down on the project to get it closer to the budget.”

According to Lee, the paving project on Colfax Avenue was reduced in length, spanning from Sunny Lane to Oakwood Lane instead of 38th Lane, cutting it by half. Bryant Avenue paving will run from Norwood Lane to Seventh Lane.

By law, the maximum reduction that can be done and still require the contractor to honor its bid is 25 percent.

Landscape and irrigation work is being put off until spring, so it can be included in the 2013 budget.

“This will be purely a paving project for this fall,” said Lee.

A transfer of $80,000 from the electric fund to the park capital fund will be needed to balance the budget. The city will then plan for the remaining $56,000 in landscaping next year.

Councilmember Carl Anderson asked if Lee was seeing a trend with projects coming in over budget.

“With this particular project it really isn’t a trend,” Lee said. “The prices for this project are actually very good.”

There were a number of things that caused the bid to go up: the parking lot at Sunny Acres was larger than in the original plan, as well as the addition of a trailway at Sunny Acres, which was requested by the neighbors, he said.

“The trailway was added into the project after the budget was set,” said Lee.

At Peninsula Point Park the entrance drive was widened to add parking spaces.

With street projects, the city typically plans on doing a larger project than budgeted, in case bids come in exceptionally low, Lee said.

“There wasn’t money to go the additional footage on Colfax,” he said.

The new playground equipment is paid for separately from the park capital fund.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver said the parking lot at Sunny Acres Park will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood and called the paving work an important project.

“I know Cleveland Street is challenged on busy nights with people parking up and down the streets,” he said. “Some people won’t be excited that we didn’t add enough parking, but it’s a pretty good start.”

Councilmember Mark Freeburg said he was impressed with the city’s ability to make improvements within a tight budget.

“I know this year it seems like we’ve done a lot, and we have,” said Freeburg. “But we’ve never gone to the taxpayer and asked for another nickel. We’ve done it with what they have given us.”

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]