2013-07-03 / Front Page

Council mulls aesthetics of pavilion area

Town hopes local social clubs can help finance contemporary upgrades
By Margo Sullivan

A vision for the Col. John C. Rembijas Memorial Pavilion at Fort Getty calls for creating complementary “outdoor rooms,” with features such as a chimney with a two-sided hearth. Landscape architect Arek Galle gave the presentation Monday to the Town Council.

The landscape plan also defines and secures the entire area with a masonry wall, reorganizes parking, plants juniper trees, and adds other structures such as restrooms.

Galle is a senior associate at Gates Leighton & Associates of Lincoln.

The plan, which showed how attention to landscape architecture features would benefit the town and improve the site, also involved relocating some utilities underground. One example would be to move a utility pole to eliminate overhead wires visually dividing the green space. It would also create access paths. Galle said it would enhance a sense of arrival, and also help catch water flowing down the hill into the site.

The cost estimate is in the preliminary stages, but to help the town get a handle on the price tag, Galle broke down the job into “must-do” and “would-like-to-do” categories. He also identified the tasks that the town’s Public Works Department could tackle, and which ones would have to go out to bid.

Finally, he suggested donors or sponsors might want to pay for spe- cific features, such as the outdoor rooms or boardwalk-style pavers.

Council President Kristine Trocki called the plan “beautiful” and said she would like to do everything Galle suggested, if money could be raised to pay for the cost. Several private organizations, such as the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce and Lion’s Club, have already offered financial support, she said.

According to Councilor Mary Meagher, the town decided to consult a professional landscape architect because although the original pavilion project had included some landscaping features, the past council’s focus had been primarily on replacing the building that had collapsed.

“The structure they built is a wonderful structure,” she said.

However, Meagher believes the surroundings need more attention. At the time of its construction, there was no money in the project’s budget for landscaping. The past council asked the staff to come up with ideas and submit them to the Planning Commission for review. Ultimately, this council decided the better approach would be to enlist the services of a landscape architecture firm and not miss the opportunity to “create the landscape that’s appropriate for a building this nice and supporting features that will support the building to its best use.”

Several problems at the site, such as poor drainage and unsightly overhead wires, will be expensive to correct. Meagher said Galle has already helped define the scope of the project by identifying some necessary work that the town had overlooked. For example, town officials now know drainage problems in the road running along the site must be addressed as one of the first tasks.

Galle said he talked with Town Engineer Mike Gray and thinks the road problems can be handled inhouse. Basically, he said, the idea is to chase the water down the road and away from the pavilion. The work calls for pulling up the road and “pushing it down flat.” The road also has potholes and ruts that need fixing, and he suggested the shoulders should be “rediscovered” to allow for additional parking.

Councilor Eugene Mihaly asked Galle to break the project in half, rather than in phases, to make it manageable from a “funding perspective, so we have an idea of what we’re addressing.”

Said Mihaly, “Most of us in this room would like to see this happen.”

Galle said relocating utilities and installing electrical work underground would account for most of the “heavy lifting.”

“Maybe there’s a donor or sponsor,” he said. “There are a couple of ways it can be packaged.”

In other business, salaries for clerks, dispatchers, police, public works employees and the harbormaster are poised to go up 2.5 percent, starting this month. The Town Council on Monday reached a tentative agreement with the three collective bargaining units: the National Association of Government Employees Local 68, National Association of Government Employees Local 69, and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 305.

According to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, the councilors have agreed to a one-year contract with police, calling for a 2.5 percent salary increase effective immediately. The union represents the 13 sworn police officers, except for the police chief. The impact on the budget comes to $41,202, of which $15,353 is due to step increases for three new officers. The short-term contract is due to uncertainty about pension reform, he said.

The new three-year pact with the clerks and dispatchers union calls for 2.5 percent raises, effective immediately and again in July 2014, and a 2.75 increase in 2015. The employees also will receive a $100 longevity increase in 2014 and $50 in 2015.

In the fiscal year 2015 only, the deal increases from six to eight the number of unused sick days the clerks and dispatchers can sell back to the town. Those days can be reinvested and available for retirement. The money is intended to help pay for retirees’ medical costs since the town does not provide any health care for these retired workers, Keiser said.

Also, the council approved a three-year deal with the Public Works Department and the harbormaster, calling for a 2.5 percent salary increase each year. The contract also increases the sick day allowance from five to seven days in the fiscal year 2015 and adjusts upward the salaries for four employees in the wastewater department.

Return to top