The Examiner

Architect to Present Scaled-Back Memorial Plaza Civic Space Plan

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The landscape architect designing the Memorial Plaza civic space project in Pleasantville will present the latest proposal to village officials next month after budgetary constraints resulted in major changes to the original layout.

When initial plans for the civic space exceeded the $2 million estimates by more than $700,000 earlier this year, Jamie Maslyn Larson, of Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, was asked by village officials to redesign the plan and reduce the scope of the work in the half-acre space at the west end of Memorial Plaza.

The project eliminates the right slip lane from Memorial Plaza onto Manville Road to create the space. The original proposal also included dividing the area into four sections for different uses, including a flexible lawn, a casual porch, a shady seating area and a multiuse plaza.

Larson’s redesign resulted in a roughly 5,000-square-foot reduction to the project, Village Administrator Eric Morrissey said.

The train entrance, which was originally designed to have a wheelchair accessible ramp, will now include stairs and a freestanding ramp. Morrissey said the ramp needed to be removed because the area would have required expensive regrading.

Larson also made the south porch area smaller and trimmed additional expenses by reducing the design contingency from 15 to 12 percent. Other changes include keeping most of the existing war memorials in place with a new base and relocating only the World War I monuments and altering the lighting and materials used. An outdoor fire pit has been eliminated and the village will also oversee management of construction.

“The sense I have is the core concepts remain and we’ve knocked out some details that were costing money,” Mayor Peter Scherer said. “They really have gone to the mat to solve the budget problem without taking too much flesh out of the project.”

While the village has been prepared to contribute up to $750,000 to supplement the expenses, a $1.5 million state grant will cover the bulk of the work. Larson now estimates the project will cost $1.96 million.

Morrissey said that he anticipates construction on the civic space will begin in 2021 and be completed the same year. He said the project can’t start until the Manville Road streetscape project is finished.

“If we try to overlap both projects, we run into a timing issue which potentially could have us stopping construction over the winter, which significantly impacts our pricing,” Morrissey said.

Scherer said demolition of the slip lane would determine the interval between projects. Morrissey added that a right turn lane from Memorial Plaza onto Manville Road must be constructed with a new traffic light.

“Part of this is so frustrating, especially the timing,” Trustee Joseph Stargiotti said. “We’ve been talking about this for a couple of years and here we are a couple of years later projecting a couple of years before the start date. I’m expressing my extreme frustration with how long it takes to get anything done in municipal government.”

Morrissey said the village has to to abide by the state Department of Transportation’s schedule with the Manville Road streetscape project. He added that the redesign still needs approval. The village will have to start the bidding process in 2019.

“It seems far off, but it’s not,” Morrissey said.

Larson will present her redesign to village officials at the Jan. 14 Village Board meeting. A public hearing will be held the same night on the reconfigured project.




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