Thomaston Public Works Director Kyle McGee updated the Greatest Generation Memorial Park Committee about progress on the Hilltop Monument Project during the committee’s Jan. 6 meeting.
In his remarks updating the status of the project, McGee commented that although there had been hiccups during the process of obtaining quotes, the project was still more than viable and looked to come in at the proposed budget.
McGee opened by stating, “Where we left off in the last meeting, I was going to assemble quotes and the primary reason to see if the project is still feasible because the one primary bid was well over budget. We decided to construct it in house with the city being the general contractor. I’m putting quotes together to see if we’ve still got a viable project.”
The lone initial bid of nearly $325,000 to have an external company complete the entire project far exceeded the initial budget for the project, which is situated at $175,000, and did not include design fees for the project, which would have brought the overall cost to $377,000. Work at the hilltop was stopped after land around the water tower was cleared.
McGee commented that getting quotes for the project has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped. “I’m not getting a good response and people over the phone tell me they are excited. Once they get the plans, I don’t know if they get overwhelmed or not, but I’m not getting quotes back.”
McGee noticed another issue in the week leading up to the meeting with the GGMP Committee. “The scale on the plans is wrong. Everything, the quantities I was getting back and such, it’s double that. I’ve gotten in touch with Dale and we’re going to get some new plans. I’ve been telling everyone the scale is one inch equals 20 feet, [and they need to] double that. Now that I have the correct scale, I can do the correct quantities and now things are starting to pick up and make sense.”
Even though the quantities are being doubled, McGee commented that the prices for each individual project in the memorial are still feasible. The current prospective costs included a concrete curb which, according to McGee, should come in at $19,106, slate quarry which is estimated to be around $9,100, irrigation which McGee estimated should cost anywhere between $5,000-$10,000, and foliage for the project is slated to come in at $2,000. Initial plans for the project included an eight foot tall fence with three strands of barbed wire atop it, however the barbed wire has been dropped from the plans, which should save $4,000-$5,000.
McGee stated that his difficulties in finding the non-fruiting Peppermint Stick peach trees in original plans have continued, and that a change to a smaller peach tree may be necessary.
“We’ve already spent money on the survey, benches, equipment rental for clearing, and our designer fees. The interpretive panel that we’re expecting is 10 grand for that, minor grading is another 10 grand, as well as landscaping, bringing the project total to $175,000. I’m very, very comfortable and pleased with the numbers if we do it ourselves.”
McGee continued, “To bring a reminder where we were last year, we had a bid for $324,000 and if you include the design fees, that was $377,000, and today we look like we’re going to break ground for a total cost of $175,000. Things are looking good. There are contractors interested out there and we’re about to get started.”
As reported in the Upson Beacon in May 2022, local group Community Enterprises donated funds for the project and approximately $170,000 remained available after design costs, according to City Manager Russell Thompson.
McGee commented that irrigation is slowing the project now, and once that issue is resolved, the project should start progressing quickly.
Mayor Pro Tempore Doug Head recalled the initial plans of the Hilltop Monument being phase one of a larger plan, and McGee responded that phase two includes a terrace to be built further down the pine thicket at Greatest Generation Memorial Park toward R Street. He added that $50,000 of the 2023 public works budget had already been set aside to start phase two when the time comes.
In other business, Head asked about the feasibility of placing a plaque in memory of Gary Self at the pickleball courts in GGMP. Head stated that members of Thomaston’s pickleball community approached him and asked about dedicating the courts to Self, without whose influence the courts may not have been created. McGee stated that it “should be no problem” to do so.
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