Berthoud Reservoir and Waggener Farm park construction update
By Dan Karpiel
The Town of Berthoud is currently working on a pair of recreation projects, one on the north shore of Berthoud Reservoir and the other on the north side of Waggener Farm Park, the future site the large recreation center development.
The Surveyor asked the Town to provide an update on the progress of the two projects and received responses from Town Administrator Chris Kirk, Deputy Town Administrator/Parks and Recreation Director Jeremy Olinger and Town Engineer Stephanie Brothers.
The project at Berthoud Reservoir is the smaller scale of the two but will provide enhanced recreation opportunities for residents. According to Brothers, “Progress has been a bit slower than expected due to a lot of wet weather and some utility delays. A few modifications have also come up on the design, but these additions will provide the best possible park experience for our user experience.”
Brothers said the project is on-track for completion “in mid-July, if not earlier.” Furthermore, town officials say the cost of the project, which was initially set to run between $1.2 and $1.3 million is currently on budget.
According to Brothers, the modifications that have been enacted include changes to the grading plan of the park for improved parking lot visibility and security, a drainage swale to create more useable greenspace, a fishing dock and a fence.
The Reservoir itself is 35 surface acres of water that is bisected into two pieces, the smaller one occupies the southeast portion of the lake contains Berthoud’s drinking water supply while the larger parcel to the north and west will serve recreation purposes.
On the north shore of the reservoir, crews are currently working to construct a gravel parking lot, a floating dock that will extend out onto the water, a picnic area, a playground area and restrooms. Several dozen additional trees as well as other vegetation native to the area will also be planted. The 1.5-mile trail that goes around the reservoir will also be improved and, as part of the master trails plan, will connect with the rest of the Berthoud trails system.
Brothers also explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a mild effect on the progress of construction considering the supply chain for both labor and materials has been slowed.
“Creative solutions are discussed daily with respect to the supply chain of materials and labor. They continue to be crucial to the completion of the project, but safety for all workers will always be the highest priority,” Brothers said.
The recreation center and associated amenities Waggener Farm Park is the far more ambitious, and costly, of the two current recreation projects. Given the estimated cost, upwards of $30 million, with much of it being deficit-financed, the issue was of much controversy when it was proposed and ultimately supported by the Berthoud Board of Trustees last fall.
Despite the economic downturn as a result of the pandemic, officials were asked if the expected drop in tax revenues has given the Town any reason to consider scaling things back or delaying construction, Kirk responded, “We have been discussing the possibility of cuts to projects and other large equipment purchases but at this point we are not planning any. The Town has built strong reserves, and budgets very conservatively, in order to withstand an economic downturn.”
Financing for the project has been dispersed and are currently, according to officials, held in one of the Town’s investment funds.
Olinger stated that there is currently some preliminary work on-going at Waggener involving transporting infill dirt from the Reservoir project to the northeast part of Waggener. As Olinger explained, “We had good soil that was in our project at the reservoir to be removed so we re-purposed the dirt and moved it to Waggener Farm Park project site. By doing this saved both projects budget money and being that they were close in distance as well as project ready saved time, effort, and expense for the Town.”
Olinger stated that most of bidding process for the rec center project has been completed and permits acquired for most of the project. The General Contractor, FCI, has submitted order proposals for the longer lead time items and equipment.
Timeframe for the construction on the project, as outlined by Olinger, will proceed in the coming months with utilities, water and sewer installation along with more earthwork and site development. Excavation and subsequent concrete foundations will be laid in the northwest corner in the next “three to six months,” following that will be overall site development of buildings, basketball courts, a playground, a parking lot and landscaping. Olinger said, “It is anticipated to be a 16-18 month build from today, so a potential Sept./Oct. 2021 grand opening.”
The Surveyor will continue to follow this story as developments warrant.
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