Construction Cost and Commission Meeting

Dear Defender,

The City of Irvine has published a construction cost estimate for building Adventure Playground according to the design set forth in the Master Plan. The construction cost estimate will be presented in a staff report this Wednesday (today! for most of you reading this) March 5th at the Community Services Commission Meeting at City Hall taking place in the evening at 5:30. The commission agenda can be found here, and the staff report here.

A warning: finish chewing or swallowing any liquid at this moment. Drum-roll please…

AP as designed will cost a total $4.9 million over the life of the entire project.

That figure is to build AP to the fullest extent of the Master Plan: with a pond, hillside water feature, sunken pirate ship, tree house, rock wall, amphitheater, zip-line, sensory garden, admin building, night lighting etc. The price includes the monies already spent for design, as well as future engineering costs and construction costs. The construction side of that is $3.3 million, with an additional $665,000 for construction management and construction contingency. Total construction cost: $3,965,000.

City of Irvine Public Works department has offered a Value Engineering Alternative where they shave of $1.3 of the construction price tag by eliminating the pond and water feature, shrinking the play structures, eliminating the admin building, and doing other tweaks like installing gray concrete walkways instead of sand colored ones, taking out boulders, and planting smaller trees. Ultimately, it is a cheapened down version of the park. Construction contingency and management goes down to $535,000, but the alternative requires another $125,000 to go back and redesign. So total construction cost $2,660,000. That’s $1,305,000 total cost savings for the value alternative.

What does it all mean? Basically the Community Services Planning Commission will make 1 of 3 recommendations to City Council: 1.Recommend the project as is (possibly with the option to build it in stages), 2.Recommend the value alternative, 3.Scrap the whole project.

Where do the Defenders of Adventure Playground stand? I want to first note that we have been serving as representatives of this group for nearly 4 years. In all those years we have been confident that we understand the voice of the community based on our experiences as former AP staff, former kids playing there, presence in all community workshops, and presence in social media. This is the first time where we cannot comfortably speak on behalf of the community regarding this matter. It’s a lot of money by most people’s standards. Yes, when you compare it to the mammoth budget of the Great Park it seems cheap, but it’s a big chunk of money and there are definitely going to be mixed opinions on whether it’s worth the price tag. Furthermore, we feel that there will also be mixed opinions on what elements to keep for the value alternative. Should we keep the water features and eliminate play structures, or vice versa. As leaders of this organization here is our official stance: We recommend the park continue as designed by the Master Plan. We’ve worked long and hard on getting this design to harmonize with the AP spirit, and if it’s possible to go through with it all intact then damned if we don’t go for it. If the park is simply too expensive as is, then we recommend that Community Services host another workshop to collect community input on what elements should stay and what should go. We feel that’s the most fair way to modify the design. What stays and what goes should be the community’s decision.

So now what? We urge you to come to the Community Services Commission Meeting this Wednesday March 5th (likely today if you’re still reading this) and support AP in the way you feel is best. If you can make it, come out and show your support.

Sincerely,

Defenders of Adventure Playground

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