WILLIAMSBURG — During Monday evening’s City Council Meeting, Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison announced a three phase project focused on renovating the city’s waterpark and amenities that will add ballfields, new features within the kiddy park and more.
The first phase of Harrison’s plan focuses on removing the existing baseball field at the park for two new ones to be added.
“[The] negative on that is that we’re not going to be able to do the synthetic turf,” said Harrison on the fields. “That came in way, way over budget. It was disappointing, but I think it’s still going to be great, and cutback on the expense a little bit.”
Phase one of Harrison’s project was kicked off when the council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would provide approval of a lease for the Kentucky Bond Corporation for financing the project.
Steven Pickarski, Municipal Finance Analyst with the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC), gave a presentation to the board before the ordinance’s reading.
“I believe, we were looking at up near $7 million in this presentation today, in regard to a $3 million total cost of construction,” said Pickarski.
Pickarski said the loan between the Kentucky Bond Corporation and the city of Williamsburg would be a 20-year loan. He also said that there was no real commitment until the issuance of bonds.
“If after seven years, the city’s always given the opportunity to prepay the minimum $5,000 increments up to full principle remaining,” explained Pickarski. “There’s no prepayment penalty, there’s no hidden fees associated with any type of early payoff.”
Pickarski said that KLC is looking to package the Williamsburg waterpark renovation project with others to help increase competitive bids and lower costs. Right now, KLC has four other cities with an offering of $8 million to market.
Harrison explained that the city had paid off the waterpark’s new parking lot and that the campground would be paid off shortly.
“I went to Tourism and asked them, they’ve agreed to go ahead and keep giving us the monies that they were putting in for those two things,” said Harrison. “And so, with that money, we should be having the money that we have, we think we can pay off the waterpark and do this project too.”
Because of that, Harrison said that the city had the funds to perform some renovations to the park and the waterpark’s kiddy pool called “tadpole island.”
“So we’re going to be able to do that and this separate,” explained Harrison. “If we could move on this project now, what you will see is, you will see some new ballfields and press box, the whole nine-yards. It’s going to be really nice. And then also you’ll see some renovations within the park that will look nice as well.”
Harrison says he’s hopeful that construction on the new ballfields will start this spring.
“I don’t think we’ll be finished, that’s the one part I’m kind of disappointed in, I don’t think we’re going to be finished until around end of July.”
Harrison says that if everything goes right, the ballfields could host games as early as August, but that the switch in plans from synthetic turf to natural grass could cause some delays in construction.
Harrison hopes to move on to phase two of his plans once the new ballfields are up and operational. Phase two of the project will look at renovating and extended the park’s campground. Phase three would be expanding the park at some point, according to Harrison.
"Well in a way, we are,” Harrison answered when Councilman Loren Connell asked about adding attractions. “That’s what I meant by the upgrading of the kiddy park. We’re actually painting, fixing, that particular site up, but we’re also expanding it. [We’re] getting rid of like the mushroom and the little dinosaur. We’re expanding with new slides and that. So in essence, we are expanding within the park.”
The upgrades of the waterpark’s kiddy park will be starting soon, Harrison said. Potential permitting issues could delay the start of the construction, but Harrison is hopeful the kiddy park project will be completed by this summer.
Harrison also said waiting until August before moving ahead would also allow for him to check on potential grants to help with the project.
“We’re not stopping that,” he said. “We’re not going to take it all on and say the heck with it. We’re going to be looking for other grants, gifts, and whatever else we can get on this.”
The council will meet at 5 p.m. March 2, for their regular monthly meeting. The second reading of the new ordinance is expected to be read then.