Costs cause delay in design work on Arlington park

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- Concerned about the project's $2.1 million price tag, the Arlington City Council decided Tuesday to delay spending any more money to design a new lake activity room and office at Richard Simpson Park.

The council had been asked to vote to give an additional $189,150 to Elements of Architecture of Fort Worth, the firm to which the city had awarded a $59,910 contract last year to design a new building at the west Arlington park.

But with questions remaining about why the project costs doubled from the original $1 million estimate, the council voted Tuesday to remove the contract amendment from the agenda until they can review the plans.

"Because the costs escalated, and we know the costs are still going up, there are still questions," said District 4 Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon, who represents the area where the park, at 6300 W. Arkansas Lane. is located.

Voters approved issuing $1 million in bonds in 2008 to replace the existing lake activity room and office, which was built in 1960 on the shore of Lake Arlington. The current building has outlived its usefulness, and a more modern facility could attract new rental business, including weddings and meetings, to the lake, city officials said at the time.

But Tuesday, Parks and Recreation Director Pete Jamieson told council members that an additional $1.1 million will be needed to address unanticipated infrastructure issues, such as drainage improvements, parking lot modifications and replacement of outdoor restrooms at Richard Simpson Park.

The existing lake activity room and office building are also in the flood plain, so the city plans to build the new facility on higher ground more toward the center of the park.

The city has proposed using natural gas revenue to pay for the additional cost.

Laura Capik, chairwoman of the Arlington Parks and Recreation Board, told council members that her board spent eight months gathering community input and vetting the plans.

"This was one of those high priorities of the city requested by the citizens of Arlington," Capik said. "We felt that this was a feasible and cost-worthy project and it brought a new dimension to this park. The building we have now is totally incapable for what the public wants to use the park for."

This includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

Twitter: @susanschrock

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