While construction starts this month on the splash pad, it likely won’t be completed until the fall. A nearby fireplace will be just in time for the colder months, however. (Graphic provided)

Work set for Allegan’s splash pad

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Residents of Allegan will start to see the finishing touches on the downtown riverfront project in two weeks when construction begins for a splash pad, outdoor fireplace and other park amenities.

The project was put on hold after no bids were received back in May due to a busy construction season and the amount of specialty work needed for the project.

This time around, five bids were received and Apex Contractors of Dorr was unanimously awarded the bid of $426,856 for construction at the city council meeting on Monday, July 9. Vortex USA Inc. of Carrollton, Texas was also authorized to install a splash pad water distribution system for $152,700 for a total construction cost of $579,556.

The project is to be completed no later than Nov. 13.

“While it will be too late in the season to enjoy the summertime splash pad, the fireplace will be ready for fall and winter,” said  Tony McGhee of Abonmarche, the design firm for the riverfront. “The Apex bid was really close to budget, within $1,000 of estimate, and by going through the NPP National Purchasing Program we saved $15,000 from the open market price (with Vortex Aquatic Structures).”

Vortex USA is a national leader in splash pad design and installation. Among its bid plans are water blooms, a water tunnel, a sidewinder, LED lights and more.

City manager Joel Dye said while the overall cost is nearly $20,000 over budget, that doesn’t include the $130,000 gift from the Perrigo Charitable Foundation.

“Therefore, we’re well within budget,” Dye said. “I want to point out the public did not want an amusement-style park, they wanted a more subtle splash pad where kids could play and still have fun—but at night—a pad that changes colors with a more artistic kind of feel.”

Dye said the project is much more than a splash pad. It will address the brickwork by the boardwalk to get rid of tripping hazards. A seating wall will encircle the 1,200-square-foot pad to protect it from parking traffic. The wall will have an opening for ADA accessibility. The water will be push button controlled and shut off after 15 minutes. The city can keep it running during special events.

Shade sections will include seating under and encircling trees and the rain garden will remain.

 “Kugelard Construction would like to pay for a sunscreen dispenser,” Dye said.

The outdoor fireplace will be 20 feet long, 4 feet wide and have a seating ledge around it. It too will be activated by push buttons that shut off after 20 minutes. For safety, the gas fire will be behind glass.

Six regular parking spaces and five handicap spaces will remain, along with a turnaround and vendor and food truck areas.   

A preconstruction meeting will take place next week and construction is expected to start the following week.

With the riverfront plaza area in its final stage, the city council began looking forward to another riverfront development project—the mill district.

A contract with Abonmarche to develop a master plan and marketing materials for the mill district was unanimously approved not to exceed $15,000.

The plan is to include developing a cohesive vision for the area and magnitude cost estimates for various elements.

“We’re going to roll up our sleeves and look at bringing in bigger guns,” Dye said. “We could hit a grand slam if we do it right.

“Why not condos; an opportunity to connect to the mountain biking trail; what it would look like with a bridge crossing; and it could open us up for (Michigan Natural Trust Fund) grants in the fall.”

The plan will take eight weeks to complete and will be presented to the community in a public open house.


Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.


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