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Avondale Estates moves closer to construction of town green project

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Avondale Estates moves closer to construction of town green project

Avondale Estates town green rendering from the city's website.

Avondale Estates, GA — Avondale Estates is one step closer to constructing the town green. The Urban Redevelopment Agency, which is made up of the City Commissioners, at its May 12 meeting approved a contract with the contractor Reeves Young for construction of the project.

The town green project includes the construction of a park and an interim commercial development. The park will be located along Highway 278/ North Avondale Road.

The original scope of the project included a mixed-use, condo-retail building, but the commercial development is not feasible at this time, City Manager Patrick Bryant said at the Feb. 10 meeting.

For now the city is planning a temporary solution that will essentially be an event pavilion where the city can allow food trucks and other things to activate the park.

The project is a joint venture between the City Commission, the Urban Redevelopment Agency and the Downtown Development Authority. The city boards are working with Fabric Developers to design and construct the park.

Fabric Developers recently recommended Reeves Young as the firm to construct the town green. The base bid came in at about $5.7 million which includes the park, stormwater, construction of the new street and the interim solution.

The $5.7 million is the guaranteed maximum price so the base contract and the alternates cannot exceed that price, Bryant explained at the May 12 meeting.

Some allowances are built into the contract that are estimates for the cost of things such as utility work.

“If the estimates to do that work exceeded the allowances within the guaranteed maximum price then we would have to pay a cost above and beyond,” Bryant said. “Now there are a couple of ways where we believe that won’t become an issue. One, there’s already $115,000 worth of contingency built in.”

That contingency is there to address any potential cost overrun. As the park is constructed there will be other opportunities to bring the cost of the project down to capture any cost overruns, Bryant said.

The commissioners celebrated this milestone in the project and look forward to beginning construction. The city has been working on this project for about five years, Mayor Jonathan Elmore said.

“I think this was the topic maybe at the very first meeting I was a part of in January of 2016 and to finally get to this point is very humbling and it makes me proud,” Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher said, adding that this was the proudest vote he’s taken.

The board members thanked everyone who has been involved in this project from city staff to former city commissioners to Second Century Avondale, Fabric Developers and others.

“It’s a great day and I’m proud to be part of the team that put this together,” Commissioner Lionel Laratte said.

During the City Commission’s work session, the board continued conversations about the Christmas decorations. The board started talking about the decorations at the April 28 work session, specifically about the holly tree at the corner of South Avondale Road and Clarendon Avenue that is used for the annual tree lighting.

There are a couple of issues with the holly tree. The electrical conduits for the lighting are attached to the holly tree and is strangling at least one of the branches, Assistant City Manager Paul Hanebuth said at the April 28 meeting.

The city would also need to consider a different solution for the pole that runs up the tree trunk to which the star is mounted. The tree also needs to be severely pruned as a branch extends over the street.

The consensus of the City Commission at the May 12 work session was to designate a different tree as the Christmas tree for the lighting ceremony in the lot that is next to the holly tree.

Commissioners had differing opinions, however, on the future of the holly tree. Some were in favor of cutting down the tree while others wanted to keep the tree.

A couple ideas were also bounced around to redesign the plaza area at the intersection of South Avondale Road and Clarendon Avenue. Another idea discussed was to plant a tree in the town green that would eventually be used for the tree lighting.

No formal action was taken on the Christmas tree and Bryant plans to look at how much it would cost to severely prune the holly tree and how long the pruning would last.

The City Commission will meet again on Wednesday, May 26, at 5:30 p.m via Zoom.

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