Dobson awards park contract

By Keith Strange

July 24, 2014

DOBSON — After more than a year in the planning stages, the town of Dobson has set an August 4 groundbreaking ceremony for Dobson Square Park.

The groundbreaking, which will get under way at 10 a.m., will herald the kickoff of construction, coming on the heels of the town accepting a $1,324,500 contract with Mount Airy-based Simcon Company.

The contract was approved unanimously on a motion by Commissioner John Lawson with a second by Commissioner Todd Dockery.

The contract total included $100,000 in contingency funds, according to Town Manager Josh Smith, and is contingent on verified documentation from Simcon.

It is effective as of August 1, Smith said.

“This is a very standard contract that localities use quite frequently,” he said.

The 2.5-acre park is planned for the intersection of South Crutchfield and West Atkins streets. It will house two picnic shelters, one of which will double as the site of the town’s farmer’s market, an ampitheater, an interactive fountain, splash pad, playground and walking trails.

Dobson has secured a grant worth $498,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which is expected to cover about half the construction costs for the park.

During Thursday’s meeting, the town’s board of commissioners tabled a hearing to close Comer Street, which presently runs through the planned park, because state code requires a four-week notice and the town has only published the hearing for three weeks.

The board set a special meeting next Wednesday at 6 p.m., for the hearing.

“After the hearing, we’re pretty much done with our part of the park project and can sit back and wait for construction,” Smith told the board with a smile.

Other action Thursday night included a move that will allow the the town to apply for approval from the state Local Government Commission to finance up to $500,000 for the park.

Smith told the board that with today’s low interest rates, it would be prudent for the town to secure the funding and use around $200,000 to pay off loans for improvements to the town’s library and the purchase of a fire truck.

The funding, if secured, will be in the form of a 13-year loan.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.