Progress reported on Cherry Street and Ecological Park upgrades

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Engineer Joshua Baxley, of Dewberry Engineering, Inc., last week reported progress on two of the city's major projects, having to do with the upgrades of North Cherry Street and the Water Street ecological park.
On Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, Baxley reported to the Monticello City Council that bid opening on the Cherry Street improvements project would take place later this month, adding that the prospect looked good. Four contractors, he said, had so far requested bid packages, which was a better response than the city had gotten in the past on similar projects.
The North Cherry Street upgrade entails the addition of trees, benches, irrigation lines, lighting and other amenities to the east side of the street from Dogwood to Pearl streets.
Baxley said Duke Energy would be installing the conduits for the lighting and he was trying also to talk the company into donating the light poles.
The preliminary figures for the upgrade show it will cost $128,120.78, including the mobilization, sidewalk improvements, trees and water irrigation lines.
The upgrade of Cherry Street, along with the planned resurfacing of Pearl Street, is part of a larger city effort to enhance the downtown district and bring economic vitality to the area.
Relative to the ecological park, Baxley informed the council that the long-awaited pavilion was expected to arrive imminently. It was in July of last year that the council awarded the contract for the installation of the pavilion to North Florida Asphalt for a bid of $58,000. But apparently, problems have developed that have caused the delay of the pavilion's construction.
As for the bathroom, the council last week approved a substitute restroom to take the place of the pre-fabricated unit that was originally specified. Baxley said the substitute was priced at $31,000, versus the $64,000 for the original unit. The substitute is a modified design with Hardi-board siding, automatic lighting and a covered porch.
With these latest developments, it's expected that the pavilion and restroom should be erected at the park in the near future, if nearly two years after the city received a $180,000 state grant to do the work, with the city required to contribute $45,000, for a total cost of $225,000.
This will be the latest upgrade to the 28-acre park, located on South Water Street near Seminole Street. The park is open to the public.