$2 million Homesteader rest area project up for bid

Posted 12/8/09

The renovation project spans nearly 11 acres, and plans call for a new rest area that is around 2,600 square feet. The current rest area, roughly half that size, was built in the mid-1970s and will be demolished.

The entire project has an …

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$2 million Homesteader rest area project up for bid


$1.3 million in stimulus funds to be used for projectHomesteader Park may undergo a major facelift soon.The city of Powell is proceeding with plans to build a new rest area, picnic structures and walking paths and to renovate the park's east-end road system, landscaping, irrigation and parking lots.“It's effectively a new park with a rest area included,” said Sean Christensen, Powell city engineer.

The renovation project spans nearly 11 acres, and plans call for a new rest area that is around 2,600 square feet. The current rest area, roughly half that size, was built in the mid-1970s and will be demolished.

The entire project has an estimated $2-million price tag. Most of that — $1.3 million — will be paid for in stimulus money. Another $200,000 will come from the Wyoming Department of Transportation through the federal Transportation Enhancement Activities–Local (TEAL). The city must provide $50,000 in matching funds for the TEAL money.

The city will open bids for the project on Dec. 22. From there, Christensen said, the Wyoming Transportation Commission must approve the city's recommended contractor. After that, the bid award will be on Powell City Council's Jan. 4 agenda. If it receives council approval, the contract must be signed before Feb. 16.

Powell city officials began planning the rest area project more than a year ago and had TEAL funding for a design, which was completed by JGA Architects, Engineers and Planners.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation provided the $200,000, but the city didn't have additional funding for the Homesteader project.

Christensen said the city planned to “shelve it if we didn't have $1.8 million.”

Then early this year, the U.S. Congress enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, providing billions in stimulus dollars.

WYDOT's northwest district received some $29.7 million from the stimulus package. That district includes Park, Big Horn, Washakie, Hot Springs, Fremont counties, as well as parts of Fremont and Teton.

Initially, it was unclear whether any of the stimulus money would go toward the Homesteader rest area project.

“We were on and off their list for a while,” Christensen said. “It was maybe, and then, maybe not.”

In August, department officials approved $1.3 million in funding for the Homesteader project. The city is looking at other grants to pay the additional $500,000.

During its Monday meeting, the Powell City Council was scheduled to review a grant contract with Wyoming Travel and Tourism for up to $37,500 to pay for signs at the new development.

The city's portion of the Homesteader project — up to $500,000, unless other grants are secured — will come from its reserve funding.

City Finance Director Annette Thorington called the stimulus funding a great opportunity to pay for the project. Without those funds, it would take the city years to generate enough money for the project, she said.

In order to receive the stimulus funding, the contract must be signed by Feb. 16. From there, the city has two years to complete the project.

Christensen said if everything goes according to plan, the project could start in March. He estimated it would take a little less than a year to complete.

“It would be nice to complete it in calendar year 2010,” he said.

If the contract receives local and state approval, Homesteader renovations could start around the same time the Powell Aquatic Center is finished at the Homesteader Park site. The pool's construction is on track for a March 2010 completion.

The city plans to renovate the bike path and landscaping that was altered by the aquatic center's construction. The new rest area project's proposed roadways, walking paths and sidewalks will tie into those around the aquatic center.

Once the aquatic center site's landscaping is finished, crews will not have to tear up that area for the new Homesteader project.

“It won't have any effect on the pool side,” Christensen said.

The aquatic center and Homesteader renovations join several other projects on the east-end of town in recent years.

The new Powell High School was finished in 2008, a new city waterline along Panther Boulevard (formerly Road 8) was finished this year, and the stretch of U.S. 14-A near Homesteader Park was expanded into five lanes.

“That end of town has gotten a facelift,” Christensen said.

New Homesteader Park design

Cars still will enter Homesteader Park from U.S. 14-A, but from there, things will look quite a bit different, according to new design plans. The plans call for a new roadway system, complete with new parking areas. Existing roads will be taken out and traffic will be wrapped around a new “wagon wheel” design of walking paths.

The walking paths will circle the rest area and branch out into separate walkways resembling a wagon wheel's spokes.

“We felt that image of the wheel and its spokes provided a good example of a common element present during the homesteading and pioneer days. That gave us a connection to the homesteaders and provided a strong concept to use for design,” said a statement from JGA Architects, Engineers and Planners, the firm hired for the project's design.

Designers also considered the neighboring Powell Aquatic Center when completing the design so it would complement the pool's aesthetics.

“They tried to match the exterior closely with what's going on with the pool,” said City Engineer Sean Christensen.

Powell City Councilman Floyd Young showed architectural renderings of the building's exterior to other councilmen during a meeting last month, noting, “It's going to be beautiful.”

The inside of the rest area also has elements of the wagon wheel design.

The building also features tall aluminum windows facing south and east.

In an effort to eliminate vandalism that plagues the current facility, the new building's windows will allow law enforcement officers to see inside the lobby during the evening hours.

Cars will depart the planned roadway system from a new Road 8/Panther Boulevard exit.