Crews continue to make progress in Pacific Park on the new Grays Building. The project reached another construction landmark, pouring of the concrete for the foundation.
Starting at 7 a.m. Oct. 21, 2020, Bell concrete began arriving with product which a Potts Concrete Construction crew placed on the construction site. By 9 a.m., a good section of the foundation for the building had been poured and leveled. The main building foundation was expected to be complete by midday, according to City Manager Marc Maxwell.
The foundation for the patio on the back side of the building is expected to be poured on Friday. Steel from Sulta Manufacturing will then be placed.
All dirt work, construction of all sidewalks, on-street parking, all plumbing and electrical work will be performed by city staff.
City staff began preparing the pad in July 2020, building it up with dirt taken from along the spring on Davis Street. The soil for the site came from the drainage-way just south of Spring Street, behind the pawn shop. This should give increased storm water retention which will further reduce the threat of flooding on Oak Avenue. This initial part of the project was completed by early September.
The piers for the building had been poured to a depth of 18 feet by the first week in October. Below grade plumbing was installed by the city’s capital construction division. The city’s master electrician, John Smith, installed the below grade conduit for electrical circuits after the plumbing was roughed in.
Maxwell said the city is very fortunate to have talented, skilled individuals such as Smith and Public Works Director and Master Plumber Russ Nuss.
The building is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020. The new building will be twice the size of the current structure and will include a patio. The new Grays Building will be constructed with roll-up bay doors to allow the side of the building facing the park to be opened into the park to allow for big indoor-outdoor events.
The building is also being prepared for solar panels. They will not initially be installed, but the Grays Building will be equipped with conduits in place so that they can be added at a later time, according to the city manager.
The new Grays Building will also include a generator so that the appliances can be used by the community in the event of a big power outage as well.
The Grays Building and improvements at Pacific Park are being funded with a portion of the $3 million received in bond proceeds. $1.5 million has been designated to Pacific Park and the remainder toward construction of a new activity building for senior citizens. Sulphur Springs residents in November 2019 voted to allow the city to use up to $200,000 of EDC money for up to 20 years for a 4B purpose. The project has to be finished within 3 years of issuing the bonds.
City officials applied for a $750,000 Parks and Wildlife Department grant, part of the city’s plan to be able to fund the Pacific Park improvement project as planned. The city receive notification Thursday, Aug. 27, that the grant application had been approved. The TPWD grant is a matching grant, which means the city will also have to contribute their share toward the project – a portion of the bond funding.
A large covered sports pavilion will be located on the other end of the park. There will be new playgrounds, a lighted walking path, improvements to the splash pad, an outdoor basketball court and new restrooms — all items identified during a community design charrette which provide the basic layout for the improvements.
The city manager is in negotiations with Mark Spencer to begin working on an official plan for the rest of the park.