Managing recreation construction

Recreation Center on “beautiful piece of property” is definitely do-able, possible consultants tell council.



A group that had worked with former Clinton City Managers Josh Kay and Frank Stovall on recreation plans that never got off the ground is back after 10 years to try again to design and build a recreation center for the City of Clinton.

This time, the city has a large tract, on Hwy 56 near I-26, and an adjacent 84 acres that could be used for an additional entrance or exit to the park.

This group -- Wood & Partners Inc. - built the massive and highly successful Heritage Park and Amphitheater in Simpsonville. This park includes a train ride.

The City of Clinton is looking for project managers for one or both of its upcoming projects: a Recreation Complex for which land clearing already has been done, and a to-be-designed new Police Station and new main Fire Station, replacing the former city hall on North Broad Street.

Hospitality/accommodations tax funds will build and operate the recreation center; bonds with proceeds payable to a non-profit corporation will design and build police and fire stations.

The council talked about design firms interviewed so far during a closed session on Feb. 15, but took no formal action. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be March 1.

Mark Baker and Kyle Theodore made the WPi presentation to the Clinton City Council on Feb. 15. As an add-on to the design and build contract, WPi would produce an estimate of how much money the city could reasonable project to make from having tournaments and amphitheater shows at its the new Clinton Recreation Complex. They both agreed, “It’s a beautiful piece of property.”

The company has designed parks and recreation centers ranging from $250,000 to $20 million. Theodore indicated the time is right now for the firm to work with Clinton, since the company has wrapped up projects in Georgia and in Lowcountry South Carolina. MPi designed the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex.

No dollar amount was mentioned for the company’s consulting and design work.

The city has a civil engineer working on the recreation complex now, and MPi representatives said it would be no problem for their team to work with the engineer.

Baker said the city needs to re-examine its long-range plan related to the recreation center land. The current plan calls for amenities to be located outward from a cluster of 5 ballfields, with a common concessions/restroom area. Baker said the ballfields need “flex seating” - bleachers, of course, but also areas where people could sit in lawn chairs and watch the baseball/softball action. The land that Clinton owns is large enough to also accommodate soccer fields, as this is a fast-growing sport among young families. Fields can be adapted for multi-use during baseball/softball off-seasons, Baker said.

MPi has been in the design and build business for recreation for 33 years. Its projects span from Virginia to Louisiana. “We help communities pull together their needs,” Theodore said.

The company’s mission is “creating great places,” the Clinton City Council was told.

MPi’s work with the city, if the company is hired, would include completing what’s started now, updating the master plan, and designing the remaining recreation complex, the council was told.

The company provides 3D renderings for the upcoming work envisioned for its clients. That’s important, the council was told, in “selling the public” on what its tax dollars are building. For ballfields, construction focuses on turf, dugouts and sight lines, entry points (to charge admission), signs, shade from trees, flex seating, a plaza and walking paths; everything is designed to be fully handicapped accessible and ADA compliant. (ADA is the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.)

Every parking space costs $2,500, the company representatives told the council, so designing and using parking efficiently is very important to a project’s success. MPi representative said the Clinton Recreation Complex “definitely” could have a splash pad.

The company also could project for the city how many people would need to be hired to run a recreation complex, and what that annual costs likely will be, after construction.

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