Construction delayed on Dobson park

By Keith Strange

September 3, 2014

DOBSON — Material delays have hampered the start of dirt-moving, but officials say that doesn’t mean things haven’t been happening on the planned Dobson Square Park.

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 amphitheater, an interactive fountain, splash pad, playground and walking trails.

The town of Dobson held a groundbreaking event for the much-anticipated park on Aug. 4, and Town Manager Josh Smith said at that time that plans were to have shovels in the ground shortly thereafter.

“We did the groundbreaking, and thought we’d be able to roll on construction that week, but as is the case in many construction projects, there are circumstances beyond our control or the contractor’s control,” he said.

Much of the delay can be blamed on waiting on materials.

“All the paperwork has been finalized with the exception of securing approval from the county’s Department of Environmental Health for the splash pad,” he said. “And short of that, the only thing we’re waiting on are the materials for some of the major elements like the two picnic shelters and the amphitheater.”

Smith said the town is simply waiting on the materials to arrive, and noted they are a bit more specialized than a stick-built structure.

“They’re specialty materials,” he said. “The architect wants to use wood with a laminated coating that protects it and allows it to last a lot longer, but the downside is you can’t just slap it up like a stick-built structure.

“There is a little bit of a back-order and the manufacturer has said we’re going to be looking at about another month before it comes in,” he said. “Right now it’s a wait and see type of thing.”

Smith said it only makes sense to wait for the materials to arrive before starting work.

“It makes sense for the contractor,” he said. “It’s just not economical for them to come in and get their equipment in here and grade and then have to come back in a month, touch up anything that needs touching up and then start construction.”

The park is being constructed by Mount Airy-based Simcon Company, who secured the contract for the $1,324,500 park.

Smith said the delay will push the project back slightly, but noted the park should be ready by next spring.

“It’s nothing significant,” he said. “The contractor has been doing a great job of trying to get the project started, but there are things that are simply out of their control.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that the project isn’t moving forward.

“Other things have been happening in the background,” Smith said. “The town’s recreation committee has recommended things like the color of the shingles on the roofs, what kind of playground equipment will be installed and other things.

“It’s going to look great,” he added. “We’re very pleased with the selections. the playground equipment will be highly functional and there will be some different things than are offered at other parks.”

Two separate playgrounds are planned for the park, Smith said, one for toddlers and the other for children aged five to 12.

“We’ve selected a two-tiered structure that, for instance, will incorporate a slide-looking feature that’s designed for kids to climb up to the second level,” he said. “We’re also going to add a May pole, which will be a stand-alone structure that has a large circular wheel on top of it that will allow kids to climb and swing. It’s pretty neat.”

In addition, the park will incorporate fitness stations for both children and adults, Smith added.

As for the delay, Smith said he isn’t worried.

“We’re confident the park will be ready and available for spring, 2015 activities,” he said.

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