Knightdale picks projects to include in phase two of forthcoming park

aspecht@newsobserver.comJuly 8, 2013 

  • Town Council passes FY 13-14 budget

    Town Council passed a $14.78 million budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 at its June 19 meeting without making any tweaks or comments.

    The budget includes Knightdale voter-approved 2-cent property tax increase and a 9-percent increase in water and sewer rates. The 2-cent property tax increase was approved by Knightdale voters in November through a bond referendum to help pay for phase two of Knightdale Station, a 70-acre park on First Avenue scheduled to open this summer. The water and sewer rate increase stems from a payback agreement Knightdale signed with Raleigh in 2012.

    The budget also raises fees on services provided by Town Hall. The cost of petitioning to amend an ordinance will increase from $350 to $500. Fees for a town engineer or planner to review development plans will also rise between $20 and $25. The cost of Parks and Recreation programs will see slight increases. Youth sports fees will increase $2 in order to pay for a new technology that will allow all athletics fees to be paid online by credit card. The price of most summer passes for the pool will increase $5.

    The budget does not include a raise for elected officials or employees.

— Presented with a shopping list of amenities for phase two of Knightdale Station, Town Council recently voted to spend the $3 million approved by Knightdale taxpayers in a bond referendum last fall.

The referendum, supported by 78 percent of Knightdale voters, allowed Knightdale to raise property taxes 2 cents per $100 of assessed value to pay for and accelerate the construction of the second phase of Knightdale Station, a 70-acre park on First Avenue.

Phase one – which includes a playground, walking trails, a dog park, and athletic fields, along with the park infrastructure – is paid for and is expected to open later this summer. Phase two will include the foundation of an amphitheater, a multi-use plaza, and an aesthetic water tank. Those features, along with design fees, underground utility installation, and the acquisition of land for tennis courts, cost $2.5 million.

Monteith Construction, the company which won the bid for the phase two project, on June 19 presented Town Council with five additional items Knightdale could buy with its $3.5 million budget. (Knightdale allotted $500,000 to the project from its capital reserve fund.) Town Council chose to build a stone facade around it’s main shelter, plant sod and install irrigation on the amphitheater lawn. Altogether, those mini-projects cost $145,000, bringing the entire phase two receipt to about $3.36 million.

Following a recommendation by Town Manager Seth Lawless, Town Council punted on spending $295,000 for a third shelter along First Avenue and $71,000 to add a steel trellis to each shelter. Buying those features would bring the phase two project total to $3.72 million – about $220,000 over budget.

“Doing this gives us a little wiggle room ... (because) we still have some unknown costs in this project,” Lawless said.

For instance, installing underground utilities may cost more than expected, he said. Knightdale has yet to receive bids for the utilities and the water tank.

“As much as (the third shelter) would frame First Avenue … I think we’ll have room for plenty of vendors without it,” Lawless assured Town Council on its decision.

Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen noted the town can add the third shelter in a later year, when the town has more capital funds available.

As for skipping over the steel trellis in favor of a cheaper wood trellis, Killen said: “I think the buildings will look great without it.”

Specht: 919-829-4826

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