In any case, “getting off the ground” took a new, literal meaning this week when the first massive, structural steel beams were carefully put in place, and the $36 million project began climbing toward the treetops.
“Everyone is very excited,” Assistant City Manager Karen Chew said Wednesday of the project going vertical.
According to Chew, the recent rains “held us up a little, but they think they’re going to be able to catch up.” The project is scheduled for completion in late 2011.
The first steel beams to go up, those closest to Second Street along Maple, are for the new Council Chambers. After that come the beams for city hall, farther east on Maple, then the community center, along Oak Street. The structural steel work should take a total of about six weeks to finish, Chew said.
Chew said the last thing built would be the parking structure, bids for which were opened this week. Chew said the bids needed more evaluation, but it appears they will be “in the ballpark” of $11 million, as planned. Including the parking structure, re-vamping of City Park and other civic center components, the project’s entire cost will be $47 million.
Chew said no significant problems had cropped up, with the exception of one of the live oak trees that was relocated late last year. Two of the 28-ton, 20-year old trees were moved across the park to make room for the civic center, and one of them isn’t looking well.
“There’s still some signs of life,” Chew said. “They’re not ready to take it out and start over yet.”