Pleasantville officials weighed their options last week to reduce the scope of the Memorial Plaza civic space project after learning the plan is now over budget at an estimated $2.7 million.
Following a six-month schematic design process, landscape architect Jamie Maslyn Larson, of Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, returned with a completed master plan cost projection to reconstruct the more than half-acre space at the west end of Memorial Plaza.
The village had planned to contribute $750,000 to supplement a $1.5 million state grant to cover Memorial Plaza and the Manville Road streetscape. Officials requested Larson provide an outline with alternatives for the civic space work costing $1 million, $1.5 million and $2 million.
“My take on it (is) $2.7 million is too much and going back to $2 million feels like we have to do it,” said Mayor Peter Scherer. “These numbers are stratospherically high.”
The current Memorial Plaza design calls for lawns, plazas, plantings, lighting and the construction of an ADA accessible ramp from the train station waiting area to the plaza and parking lot. The ramp requires reconstruction of a portion of the lot.
In an August e-mail to Village Administrator Eric Morrissey, Larson noted the most expensive items are exterior improvements, including a design divided into four sections for different uses. The design contains a multiuse plaza, a casual porch, a flexible lawn and a Bosque.
Paving, trees, plantings, curbs, seating and the relocation of the war memorials would also prove costly. She added that electrical expenses, including a special light pole, and construction costs contribute to the elevated price tag.
Morrissey said during last Monday’s Village Board work session that the $2 million design would keep the project largely intact but would alter the materials used and the aesthetics. He said Larson suggested reducing the granite paving and scope of the south porch, changing the light poles to a standard model and eliminating the gas fire pit.
“I think it’s important that if we’re going to spend all this money that it actually looks nice, that the aesthetics has to be nice,” Trustee Joseph Stargiotti said. “I don’t feel I necessarily need granite, it can look pretty in concrete. I was never in love with the gas fire pit anyway.”
Morrissey said the $1.5 million alternative would impact the project. Under that scenario, Larson suggested to leave the war memorials, flag poles and bike shelter in the current locations and eliminate the scope of the south porch and the ADA ramp for that option.
While area for the overall project would be reduced from 29,000 to 20,000 square feet, Morrissey affirmed the redesign would need a newly constructed ADA ramp.
The $1 million project would change the project goals and conceptional approach so significantly that the civic space would require substantial rethinking.
“The $2 million option feels like we made some sacrifices,” Scherer said. “But it doesn’t feel like we’ve cut into the flesh of the project.”